Answer: They are both benefiting from IT training schemes, designed and honed by our very own Cabinet Office mandarins, which have then been packaged up with private sector know-how, courtesy of outsourcing giant, Capita.
The Cabinet Office and Capita entered into a JV and called it Axelos. Whitehall owns 49 per cent of the JV, while Capita takes the controlling stake of 51 per cent. Axelos owns the intellectual capital for bespoke project management schemes and other training programmes developed by our bright young civil servants and commercialises it. The result, these programmes are now sold in 150 countries and the UK’s tills are ringing.
In Disney’s case the IT system plays a crucial part in ensuring a ‘perfect experience’ for the 118 million people who visit its 42 resorts, 11 theme parks and two water parks each year – putting this in to perspective the 2010 World Cup in South Africa had a mere 350,000 visitors! For NASA I imagine ensuring the ‘perfect experience’ is somewhat more urgent....
Axelos has been an overwhelming success, with the newcomer turning a profit of £12.2m in its first year of trading. £10.4m of this being pumped back into our public sector along with three deferred cash payments of £9.4m during the first three years. All good news when more austerity is the order of the day. The longer term projections also look good for Axelos, with revenues set to triple by year ten.
With such good returns in the offing there is no doubt other Whitehall departments will look to cash in too, and why not?
Perhaps the Department for Work and Pensions could knock out a programme to help the Greeks with tax collection or DEFRA help the Italians with their ongoing waste disposal problems – just a thought.
My only concern is that Whitehall does not sell its intellectual capital short in subsequent JV deals or that it jumps into bed with the wrong private sector partner. We don’t want to be kicking ourselves ten years down the line.
If replicating the Axelos deal works and the good times can be sustained it can only be good news for the UK and those on the receiving end of our intellectual capital.
Jenny Marshall is a director at Camargue.