Labour councillors have discovered that Conservative-run Barnet Council has been paying Capita for an 'insurance' IT back-up recovery system for three years that Capita now say they don't deliver. In an exchange with Capita IT supremo, Brett Holtom, at Thursday night's Audit Committee, Labour councillors established that the so-called silver and bronze IT Disaster Recovery service, where data lost after one hour should be recovered within 48 hours with a maximum one hour's data loss, is not being delivered and Capita never intended to deliver it because it is not an industry standard.
Capita confirmed that they cannot guarantee to restore all but the last one hour's worth of data as required in the Capita CSG contract - the current capability was actually 24 hours of data loss. This is because they are currently doing back-ups once a day. A one-hour data loss recovery system would require hourly back-ups which would cost more than the Council are currently paying.
Council officers confirmed that as this was currently included in the contract the Council have effectively been paying for it for the last three years. When Labour councillors asked why it had been included in the contract if there was no intention to deliver it, Mr Holtom said he did not know.
Labour councillors made it clear that the Council should be asking for a refund from Capita. Officers confirmed they were in discussion with Capita over finances.
The latest IT revelations follow a damning Audit report in April which found there were no plans in place for recovering vital IT services in the event of a disaster. Capita apologised for the April findings saying "It was not our finest hour." In the progress update report on disaster recovery Internal Audit outline that 70 per cent of recommendations they made on ITDR have still not been completed.
Cllr Arjun Mittra said: "I am appalled that Conservative-run bungling Barnet has been paying for an IT disaster recovery system that Capita have never delivered, and never intended to deliver. The council taxpayers' money that has been wasted on this must be refunded, and the Council should consider whether they could fine Capita for breach of contract. This is yet more evidence that the Tories running the Council signed us up to a really duff contract, and after the April Audit report these new revelations do not inspire confidence that things will get any better. As we've already established, the Tories couldn't run a whelk stall, much less a local authority."
1. For more information see the section on IT Disaster Recovery of the progress report on Internal Audit exceptions reporting (Agenda Item 7): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=144&MId=8826&Ver=4
2. For details of the April IT Disaster Recovery failings:
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568