A COUNCIL is saving £1m a year – and securing 235 local jobs - after signing a deal with a software company.

Hartlepool Borough Council’s deal with Northgate Public Services will see the company move its 235 staff from Wynyard to a redundant council building, create 35 IT apprenticeships and provide all the council’s IT services.

Under the deal Northgate will become one of the town’s biggest employers and will have the capacity to increase its workforce to 300.

It is estimated that the seven-year agreement will be worth £3m to the local economy, and has a three-year extension option.

Northgate is establishing its regional headquarters in Hanson Square in the town, in a former council building which has been renamed Northgate House.

In December the council said it had to find savings of between £17.1m and £21.6m over the next three years – and the Northgate contract is expected to offer savings of over £7m over its seven-year span.

Council leader Christopher Akers-Belcher said: “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.

“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 with Northgate.”

Executive Director of Northgate Public Services Joe Bradley said: “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.”

In all Northgate is investing £2m to modernise ICT at the council.