The latest row over the council’s ‘One Barnet’ sell-off of services to Capita erupted last week when it emerged that – contrary to the way the Conservatives spun the deal – the council is actually having to foot the bill for the £16million investment in its IT systems.
Following the One Barnet project over the last couple of months has been a real roller-coaster.
Back in April, Lord Justice Underhill ruled the One Barnet Judicial review ‘out of time’ saying it had been brought too late, but condemned the Barnet Tories’ running of the project stating “Barnet Council never set out to consult about its outsourcing programme at all”
Tomorrow at 7pm in the Town Hall, the Budget & Performance Overview & Scrutiny Committee meets to scrutinise the 'One Barnet' proposal to outsource the council's development and regulatory services (DRS) to a Joint Venture company with preferred bidder Capita.
Labour councillors have submitted a series of questions about the proposals detailed below. DRS includes vital frontline services like planning, licensing, environmental health, trading standards, housing strategy, regeneration, land charges, building control, highways and cemetery and crematorium.
Residents themselves have also submitted nearly a hundred questions to the committee, and we want to make sure that their concerns about the proposed change in service provision are robustly answered.
Come along to the meeting to hear about the future of your local services.
The DRS proposal includes crucial and sensitive front line services like planning, licensing, trading standards, environmental health, building control, housing strategy, regeneration, cemetery and crematorium and highways.
Below you can find the full judgement from Maria Nash's case against One Barnet
Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said:
“Although the legal challenge to the two One Barnet contracts has been ruled out on the technicality of being “out of time”, this is no great victory for the Council in terms of democratic accountability.
The High Court hearing of the Judicial Review brought by Barnet resident and disability rights campaigner, Maria Nash, against Barnet Council's decision to award the first 'One Barnet'contract for New Support and Customer Care Services (NSCSO) to Capita, and to challenge the intended decision to award a contract for Development and Regulatory Services concluded today.
The more opposition to One Barnet grows, the closer it comes, as the ruling Conservatives look to force it through, after their choice of Capita as their preferred bidder. It is not often that I agree with Brian Coleman, now suspended from the Conservative whip, but his apparent late conversion against One Barnet is right.
At last week's Budget & Performance Scrutiny meeting back-bench councillors and residents alike tried to scrutinise whatever detail was available about the proposed £320 million deal for Barnet's customer care and back office services (New Support & Customer Services Organisation NSCSO) with preferred bidder Capita.
Much of the financial detail about the costs and the so-called £120 million 'guaranteed' savings has been kept confidential because of commercial sensitivity, which makes it very difficult for local people to satisfy themselves that the deal represents best value for money.
There have been many public sector outsourced contracts that have not realised the ‘guaranteed’ benefits. Barnet Council cabinet members and senior officers have made much of the ‘guaranteed’ financial benefits that would flow from the New Support and Customer Service Organisation (NSCSO) contract with Capita. Part of the ‘guarantee’ comes from improvements in routine procurement activities. Barnet’s record in this area is abysmal so it would be hard for anyone, including an in-house bid, to fail to deliver considerable improvement.