United Utilities has decided not to renew agreements with its IT suppliers, Accenture and Vertex.

The water company told investors it will bring IT back 'in-house', in order to gain “greater control” of its technology. It said the move would assist it to manage automation and workflow management initiatives.

It is understood that the work, which was already mainly conducted offshore, will go to the company's own captive offshore unit.

A spokesperson at the company insisted the contract non-renewals had been “mutually agreed and in no way reflect the quality of service” provided by the companies. The suppliers may be offered other work in the future, the spokesperson said.

Accenture’s contract, for billing business process outsourcing services, expires in November next year.

Vertex’s contract, covering company-wide service management, infrastructure systems and application support, expires in February. Vertex, which was once the in-house IT arm of United Utilities but was spun off three years ago, will have an IT support role for the offshore services now run by the utility.

As United Utilities reported that profits for the six months to 30 September had fallen eight percent to £312 million, it told investors that the insourcing was a crucial part of moves to rationalise IT, and improve automation and workflow management.

“Managers now have ownership of all steps in a process to help enhance performance. Individuals also have greater visibility and understanding of how their performance influences the efficiency of the entire process,” it added.

“To support this, the group has taken the decision to bring back in-house its IT services to give the business greater control of its IT assets and applications.”

An Accenture spokesperson said the contract cancellation was “due to changing business and operational requirements at United Utilities” and reiterated that it did not reflect the service provided. Vertex declined to comment.

Meanwhile, United Utilities has implemented an IBM and SAP-based workforce management system, which is aimed at cutting £7 million from costs by better managing engineers in the field.