Barnet’s Labour councillors will hold public evidence sessions to hear directly from members of the public how well they think council customer and back office services run by Capita are performing. The move follows news that council working group meetings to review the £320 million Capita Customer and Support Group contract will be held in secret meetings behind closed doors, despite attempts by Labour councillors to ensure they are held in public.
Labour councillors tried to get agreement that these working group meetings would be held in public at the last Performance & Contract Management Committee and Full Council meeting, but the Conservative administration refused and voted against the proposal on both occasions on the pretext that they didn't feel they would be able to say what they really thought in a public setting.
The Labour group have sought clarification about whether all councillors on the Performance & Management Committee will have access to the information provided to the working groups, and how much of it will be exempt from publication.
The Labour group will hold the first evidence session later this month - details to follow.
Labour's Performance & Contract Management spokesperson, Cllr Geof Cooke said: "The public deserve to know what councillors think about the operation of a contract worth hundreds of millions of council tax payers' money, and they should also be involved in its review so councillors know what they think about how it is operating. Since the Conservative administration won't hold these meetings in public or involve residents - we will.
"We've tried twice to get these Capita review meetings in public, and the Tories have voted against our proposal twice. We're trying to establish how much of the information due to go to the working groups is actually confidential, but we will be sending representation from the Labour group to these working group meetings so we know exactly what is being discussed."
1. For details of the Council's review of the Capita CSG contract see:
2. For details of the Labour Group motion on the working groups to Full Council see:
3. For more coverage on this issue see:
For more information contact:
Cllr Geof Cooke: firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the Barnet Labour Group: 020 8359 2568