MORE than 200 jobs have been secured after Hartlepool Council teamed up with an IT provider in a move which will also save the authority £1m a year.
The seven-year contract between the council and Northgate Public Services will see 235 current staff move to Hartlepool, the majority from Wynyard Business Centre.
Northgate will be one of the town’s biggest employers as a result and could increase its workforce to 300 over the next few years to further boost the local economy.
A key part of the agreement, which has the option for a three-year extension, involves Northgate establishing its new Regional Business Centre in the town at the former Bryan Hanson House, off Lynn Street, to be known as Northgate House.
The agreement with Northgate comes after the launch of Hartlepool Vision – a blueprint unveiled by the council aimed at sparking regeneration across eight key areas of Hartlepool.
Labour councillor Christopher Akers-Belcher, leader of Hartlepool Council, said: “The agreement with Northgate Public Services represents fantastic value for the people of Hartlepool. Not only does it secure hundreds of jobs for Hartlepool and the scope to create many more, but it also delivers significant savings for the council at a time when we are facing unprecedented cuts in Government funding and immense pressures on council services.
“At the launch of Hartlepool Vision we emphasised that as a council we want to create more high-quality enterprises and businesses so that more of the town’s young people can secure jobs in Hartlepool and the creation of Northgate’s Business Centre in the town is a classic example of how this can be achieved.”
Over the term of the agreement it’s estimated Northgate’s presence in the town will result in £2.9m being ploughed into to the local economy through increased footfall and boosts to cafe and shops.
Based on Northgate’s “innovative and ground-breaking” approach, the partnership will see Northgate deliver a series of “pioneering initiatives” through its IT services, helping the council to save £7.63m over the seven years.
Northgate is investing £2m to modernise ICT, including a completely modernised desktop and server infrastructure.
A further spin-off as part of the deal has seen the setting up of the new Northgate Academy, in conjunction with Hartlepool College of Further Education.
Through the Academy, Northgate has guaranteed 35 modern apprenticeships over the term of the contact for those wanting to work in the IT sector.
Northgate, which has been the council’s IT service provider since 2001, is also planning to work with the council to identify a range of projects and activities it can support.
Joe Bradley, executive director of Northgate Public Services, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Hartlepool Council, not only to improve its IT services but to embark on a range of large scale initiatives to benefit the wider community.
“We are proud to be able to offer the council our company’s alternative approach to providing services to councils such as this and to help with their key aims of economic regeneration, job creation and business growth.”
Meanwhile, Northgate has also awarded the council a three-year contract to provide various services to the Regional Business Centre, such as cleaning, CCTV and grounds maintenance.
Council officials say the overall savings are expected to be achieved through operating more efficient services, which in turn will provide money that can be reinvested into the town.
The partnership is set to launch later this week with representatives from Hartlepool Council, Northgate Public Services and Hartlepool College of Further Education marking the official opening of Northgate’s new Business Centre at Northgate House.