Thursday, 27 October 2011

Basketcase Barnet Council - The organisation nobody wants to touch with a bargepole

Do you want to know just how much of a basketcase Council Barnet have become? They invited tenders for companies to take over the Community Advice Service. This was over £1 million worth of business. Eight organisations asked for the information pack to submit a tender. So far so good. Can you guess how many actually tendered for the business, when they saw what Barnet Council were like? Let me quote you what the Council's own report into the debacle says :-
5.5 Despite receiving eight requests for tender packs, only one supplier submitted a tender. The tender does not meet all the council’s aspirations. However, it is recommended that the tender is accepted for the reasons set out in the background section.
So what are these reasons and who are the lucky organisation who bid? Again to quote from the Council's report :-
8.5 There is only one substantive tenderer, namely Barnet Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) with Barnet Law Service as subcontractor. The tentative conclusion is that this is because the market is already weak; suppliers who expressed an interest and who may otherwise have bid were put off by the relatively small size of the contract compared with others tendered nationally; and critically for some of those eight suppliers who did express an interest, the costs of implementing the TUPE transfer and particularly the redundancy costs as budgets fall over three years were, in the final analysis, considered to be prohibitive. It is also likely that, if the contract were to be re-tendered, the TUPE costs may be less of an issue, but only one funding has stabilised. Given that the annual budget falls each year through to 2013/14, this will not be for some time.
In other words, nobody apart from the good old Barnet Citizens Advice Bureau were prepared to come in and do the dirty work (ie take the staff off the Councils books and sack them). As ever with privatisation in Barnet, once the hatchet has been swung, companies which are interested in making a quick, hassle free buck are expected to start taking an interest. I propose an alternative scenario as to why no one, apart from an organisation already entrenched in Barnet would bid. Because Barnet Council and the One Barnet program is a completely Toxic brand and no sane private company would want it's name associated with such a Toxic proposition.

Here is the full paper, it makes shocking reading.

If it doesn't display, you can see it on the Barnet Council website here :-

Just in case you are wondering what the people who won this contract will be doing :-
8.1 The primary aim of the Community Advice Service is to support people in being independent by enabling them to deal with their civil legal, financial and other problems by providing high quality social welfare advice and informing them of their legal rights and responsibilities. This is to be done through providing a high quality advice, centred on welfare benefits and debt, but also other social welfare issues; and a second tier service to support other frontline workers in assisting their clients and act as the local expert adviser on welfare benefits and debt.
To summarise what it says in the report. This service, which is vital for the most disadvantaged members of the community in Barnet, has been given to an organisation which fails to fully meet Barnet Councils requirements. This is because no one else would touch Barnet Council with a bargepole. The service will get worse over the life of the contract because they want to get rid of staff and cut costs.

This blog has been saying Barnet Council has become a pariah Council for some time. This report proves it. The truth of Toxic One Barnet is that no one wants to do business with Barnet Council unless they can have zero risks, massive profits and they are already established in the Borough. You may not believe me, but you can't argue with Barnet Council's own report. Leader Richard Cornelius and CEO Nick Walkley should hang their heads in shame.

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