Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Capita makes the newspapers (this time it isn't about Barnet)

The preferred bidders for the One Barnet program, Capita, find themselves in the news today. It seems they've dodged a £4 million fine. Full details here

The BBC headline says "Capita fined for Fraud".

How much were the savings again?

Let me share with you an email from Councillor Robert Rams, sent to a resident

"Thank you for your email about One Barnet.

I fully support the one barnet program.

This program has seen the council look at all the services we provide to see if we are running them to the best of our ability, as cost effective as possible and if there are better ways of running them. I am sure you can agree that this is a good thing in the current finical crisis we face.  

For example we are now sharing our legal services with another council, we have wonderful community and charity led community coaches who are making some great differences in our communities, we have brought our waste services back in house and yes we will outsource some services. 

These outsources will provide huge investment to our services, money we don't have, whilst improving the services and keeping council tax down.

I stood on a manifesto promise to freeze council tax as I believe that residents should spend their money how the like.

You raise a number of concerns about these services being outsourced. I can assure you that that there will be no change in accountability and my ability to hold the services to account. I have never had any problems with the services we have already outsourced. 

We are looking at a number of ways of outsourcing - you mention a JV or strategic partner - there are pro and cons to each of these and they will be assessed on a case by case basis.

You rightly point out that there could sadly be some job losses - and this is never a good thing. But if we did not go down this route and would therefore need to make larger cuts in our services, the job losses would be much larger.

I hope that this addresses your concerns but this will be a good thing for Barnet and I fully support these changes.

Cllr Rams"

I have highlighted the key sentence in RED ITALICS, here Cllr Rams states that he's never had any problems with services that have already been outsourced.

Clearly poor old Robert lives in a parallel world with a parallel Barnet Council. A Barnet Council where Catalyst didn't take legal action against the Council and extract £10 million pounds because they weren't making enough profits on care homes for the elderly (money which could have been used to keep manys ervices for Barnet residents running). The same company was also found to have legionella in the water supplies, endangering elderly and vulnerable residents.

Or maybe Councillor Rams fantasy world doesn't have Metpro in it. Barnet Council outsourced security services to this company. The company was insolvent, did not have SIA accreditation, did not have proper CRB checks and was found to be charging up to 30% more than the industry standard for services.

Or maybe Councillor Rams fantasy world never had the SAP project that Mike Freer claimed woould cost £6 million in 2006 and has now cost four times that amount.

Councillor Rams is a member of the cabinet. It is sad that he has no idea about what has been happening. In fact there is only one outsourcing which I can think iof which has been successful in Barnet. Councillor Rams is directly responsible for this. In April, he closed Friern Barnet Library. In September, the Occupy movement reopened it. This outsourcing has been incredibly successful. Since Occupy repopened the library, footfall has quadrupled, Award winning novelist Will Self has come for a book reading and the stock of books has gone up from 4,500 to 8,000. The library has been run by volunteers at no cost to the council or the taxpayer. In fact as security has been cut, it has saved money.

Has Robert Rams been trumpeting this achievement? Nope, he is spending money to shut it down. Sadly big society and empowering local people doesn't extend to schemes which actually work. One may conclude that Councillor Rams is a fool.


Alice Smith said...

Wow awesome post. i like it.. thanks for share!!!

Tax Consutants

Morris Hickey said...

Rams is a silly little prick with ambition to be a big prick.