Thursday, 23 August 2012

Barnet Council : Has anyone got a clue what is happening in the One Barnet program

Ok, the story so far. On Friday, the Council officer responsible for the One Barnet project, Ms Pam Wharfe announced that the project was not going to be fully outsourced, but instead a joint vehicle company (JV) would be set up by the council and the winning bidder to exploit commercial opportunities. This was announced via an email to selected staff. As this could affect up to £1,000,000,000 of Barnet Taxpayers money, the Barnet bloggers, alarmed by such an important policy seemingly being made on the hoof, sent an open email to the Leader of the Council, Richard Cornelius. Mr Cornelius emailed back to say
No decision has been made. No case for a jv has been made beyond the suggestion that there might be such a case. The decisions will be made by elected members in due course
This seemingly completely contradicted the officer in charge. In todays Barnet Press, Mr Cornelius deputy Councillor Daniel Thomas has stepped in to further muddy the waters. He says

So it seems that there is open war between the Leader and Deputy as to the status of the company. Whilst  the Barnet Eye welcomes the "need to be cautious", the Barnet Eye notes that even Mr Thomas recognises that this is a "new model for outsourcing". This means that Barnet Council is taking a massive gamble, trying a completely new method of outsourcing on the part of the council which collects all of our cash.

In Edinburgh on Monday, it was explained to me that the council there also looked at mass outsourcing. They then compared this with what would happen if they made the savings and kept control in house. The council found they would save millions of pounds with no risk at all. Barnet hasn't even bothered to try and see if this is an option.

The Barnet Eye would like to ask the question as to why such a sensible move hasn't been undertaken here. The problem is, we don't have a clue who to ask, because no one actually seems to know who is in charge.

1 comment:

baarnett said...

Since the claim is that JVs give the council "more control", it might be worrying that other contracts will not be JVs, with their implied "less control".