ONE of the most controversial Bournemouth council decisions of recent times was the outsourcing deal with private company Mouchel.

It was claimed that handing over several Town Hall departments to the company would save millions.

But the scheme had plenty of critics, and three successive senior officers parted company with Bournemouth council after querying the deal.

Mouchel – which runs the council’s human resources, accounting, facilities management, IT and revenues and benefits functions – was recently bought by the Kier Group for £265m.

Dale Wood was recently appointed as Mouchel’s partnerships director, making him the person accountable for its relationship with Bournemouth council.

He insists the deal has “over-delivered”, saving more than £10m in its first four years, with another £1.7m of savings already identified.

“Purely from an economic perspective the partnership has already delivered the savings,” he said.

“On top of that, we’ve also made additional savings over and above those we were contractually obliged to make.”

He said the partnership had created 169 jobs, contributing around £145m in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the local economy.

“We are very confident we will exceed our target, which was to create 350 jobs by December 2020. If we do create those 350 jobs, then we will have contributed about a further £100m in GVA,” he added.

Bournemouth council has been criticised for not conducting any scrutiny in public of the arrangements with Mouchel.

But Mr Wood insists the council has “rigorous” audit and governance arrangements in place.

“There’s always a difficult balance when private sector organisations deliver public sector provisions because of the issue of profit” he said.

“The partnership was very well thought out in as much as we share our accounts with the council so they see our revenue, they see our cost base and they see the profit that we make.”

Part of Mouchel’s remit in Bournemouth was to boost the green economy. Mr Wood said it was delivering on this agenda, installing PV panels on homes and installed more environmentally friendly street lights.

“The green agenda has probably changed over the last four years. I think previously it was more about carbon reduction whereas now it’s about carbon reduction and cost savings, driving local economic growth,” he said.

Mouchel collapsed briefly into administration in 2012, raising further questions about the wisdom of the council’s decision to work with it.

But Mr Wood said chief executive Grant Rumbles and his team “have done amazing things and the underlying business was clearly always very sustainable”.

He added: “Clearly Mouchel’s reputation is very important to Mouchel but can we say, hand on our heart, that we are delivering what we can in Bournemouth? Absolutely.

“Are we giving the local tax payer a good deal? Absolutely. Are we going to rest on our laurels? Absolutely not.”