BRIDGWATER MP Ian Liddell-Grainger has slammed a private company set up in Somerset to save two councils and the police money after a report revealed its failings.

Southwest One, which is 75 per cent owned by IBM, is responsible for back office functions for the Somerset County and Taunton Deane Councils and Avon and Somerset Police.

But a review commissioned by council leader Ken Maddock says it “could do better” and some savings targets were not being met.

The report, completed last year but only released now by the council, admits there were problems with the new SAP software system put in to streamline purchasing.

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “It costs money to run and is basically not getting anything back. This is the most expensive disaster the county has made.”

The venture was set up in 2007 when the county council was Lib-Dem controlled and planned to make savings of around £200m over a 10 year period.

But the report states the current level of saving stands at £6m, with a target of in excess of £150m over the next seven years.

However, a further £60million of savings are "in line to be delivered", the report says.

The review recommended that Southwest One should be renegotiated to deliver “efficiencies,” which the council said it had been working on for several months.

The report said there were also positives, such as keeping costs down for the council and hitting some savings targets.

Cllr Maddock said: “This review has now served its purpose and will be published on the council's website so that residents can act as 'armchair auditors.”

To see the review, click on the link by this story.