A group of local authorities are tendering for a £4 million contract to deploy "e-recruitment and talent management systems". The work however could be worth up to £40 million if spread across the wider public sector.

Public sector procurement body the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) is managing the tender on behalf of Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk and Warwickshire county councils, along with Leicester and Peterborough city councils.

ESPO says that if the software chosen (as part of a four year framework agreement) is used in the wider public sector in its area - including police, fire and rescue, and the health sector - the contract value could rise to £40 million.

ESPO says the framework will include products and associated services "relating to electronic recruitment solutions, web-based and hosted solutions, recruitment databases, applicant tracking/candidate management systems, talent acquisition and management software, job board software, development of portals and associated web development".

Those chosen to deploy systems will be expected to start in April 2012 and finish implementations in March 2014.

Suppliers interested in the work have to get tender applications in by 17 October, with ESPO issuing full invitations to tender on 14 November.

West Dunbartonshire Council recently rejected a local authority shared services proposal - which included human resources - in favour of its own localised service.

The council did not agree with claims that taxpayer cash and service quality would be well protected by a shared services scheme, called the Clyde Valley Partnership, which aimed to save £30 million in total per year. As the second council to withdraw from the partnership of eight, questions are now being raised over the future of the scheme.