THERE was good news on the job front yesterday after councillors in Hartlepool announced a partnership with a major computer firm.

Hartlepool Borough Council invited bids from computer companies to provide information technology services for the authority during the next ten years.

Sx3 has been chosen as the preferred partner, and detailed negotiations are now under way, which could result in dozens of computer jobs being created in the town.

The company, which already employs 1,300 people nationally and internationally, plans to relocate its regional headquarters to Hartlepool, creating ten jobs initially, with the possibility of more to follow.

As part of the deal, the 30 computer staff presently employed by the council would transfer to Sx3.

Arthur Preece, leader of the council said: "This is a good deal for the town and the council. The partnership will ensure there is long-term investment in the council's information technology systems, while attracting a significant business venture to the town.

"It presents an opportunity to create quality jobs and clearly it gives Hartlepool a stake in what is a very developing field."

Peter Tucker, service development director with Sx3, said: "We look forward to building a long-term relationship with the council to improve services to the people of Hartlepool.

"We will invest in the council's information technology infrastructure and create skilled jobs.

"Our base in Hartlepool will provide the platform for us to win new business in the future, and add to the number of local jobs we will create."