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BT deal with North council to boost jobs; in association with RBS.

Byline: Andrew Mernin

TELECOMS giant BT is set to create 250 new jobs in the region as part of a pounds 50m bid to expand its back-office support service for local authorities.

In a ground-breaking deal with South Tyneside Council, 450 BT workers will move to the new BT local government services division.

BT will recruit 250 new staff to work alongside these and over the next 10 years a further 1,000 workers may be recruited depending on the success of the venture.

The plc will initially take on back-office work such as HR, IT, procurement and financial services, from South Tyneside Council and eventually plans to provide these services to councils across the country from a new site on the banks of the Tyne.

Chris Sayers, BT North East regional director, said the contract would play a major role in unlocking the future potential of the region through job creation and regeneration.

He said: "It's going to take innovation to a new level - new ways of working and modern systems will make a real difference for both the people of South Tyneside and the council's staff. However the real innovation comes from the commercial approach that has been developed, which is truly at the forefront of public and private sector collaboration and will be a cornerstone to regeneration in South Tyneside."

South Tyneside Council leader Iain Malcolm said: "Make no mistake, this is a massive coup for the borough. BT is a blue-chip company and a global brand. Its arrival here would dramatically elevate the profile of South Tyneside on a national and international stage. BT would guarantee 750 quality jobs over the length of the contract, ranging from administrative and call centre positions to technical and professional jobs."

BT currently has partnerships with seven other councils across the country including Essex, Liverpool and Rotherham and its local government division is currently worth around pounds 500m a year to the company.

The South Shields development will act as the division's headquarters and is expected to offer councils in areas of full employment, such as the South East, more cost-effective back-office services.

BT staff will work in council and leased offices until a new facility at the Harton Staithes site on South Shields Riverside is completed within three years. A spokesman said the development had the potential to eventually employ over 1,500 people.

The deal, it is claimed, will see around pounds 216m pumped into the local economy over the next decade, according to research by South Tyneside Council, based on each new BT role offering an average pounds 24,000 annual salary.

Make no mistake, this is a massive coup for the borough. BT is a global brand...

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IT'S GOOD TO TALK BUSINESS From left, Chris Sayers of BT and Iain Malcolm, of South Tyneside Council, check plans for Harton Staithes.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 11, 2008
Words:476
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