Wednesday, 3 October 2012

West Coast Franchise cancellation spells the end of One Barnet program

Today we hear that the West Coast railway franchise sale has been cancelled, due to the failure to properly assess the risks of the winning bidders proposal. Given that First Group had already handed back the keys to the Great Western franchise as it wasn't making enough money, this should surprise no one.

This puts the spotlight on One Barnet, the biggest local authority outsourcing program ever. Critics have asked all along where the proper evaluation of risk is. Time and time again, we've not had a proper answer. The only answer we get is that the council are satisfied that contracts are watertight.

Well we now see that even central government gets it wrong. How did we find out? Because Richard Branson launched a legal challenge, so the government had to ensure the process of evaluation was robust.

It strikes me that, given the complete lack of transparency, we need a similar legal challenge in Barnet before it is too late. Or even better, the Leader of the Council could open the books up to Unison, local bloggers and other interested parties to prove that the process is robust.

Why won't they? I think the reason is they know exactly what we'll find and that will be that.

1 comment:

Morris Hickey said...

In my experience of the two bus routes serving the area where I live (362, 462) the worst operator by far was First Group. It is now some years since they lost those contracts. Another contract that First commenced earlier this year for route W14 is currently subject of massive public dissatisfaction.

However, the "connection", if any, with One Barnet appears on the face of it to be tenuous and linked only by the circumstance of obscurity.