This week is “CAPITA WEEK” in the London Borough of Barnet. Following the decision of the cabinet of Barnet Council to award CAPITA a £750 million outsourcing contract, which will destroy 300 jobs in the Borough, the local blogs are spending a week investigating the record of Capita at other local authorites.
|Barnet residents protesting at the offices of Capita to mark Capita week (photo courtesy Vicki Morris)|
We are highlighting issues with outsourcing projects run by Capita, Barnet Councils chosen supplier for the One Barnet project. We are asking councillors to ensure that they are fully aware of all of the likely issues, before they put pen to paper with this massive contract.
Today the issue we look at is value for the taxpayer.
The Contract in question is Capita’s flagship CRB system. Capita recently lost the contract. The Times reports that Kevin Lapwood, at the brokers Seymour Pierce, said: “There’s a suspicion that Capita has been earning too high a margin on certain central government contracts.” One has to ask whether Barnet is geared up to avoid the pitfalls which Central Government seemingly couldn’t avoid?
Computer weekly reported about the contract “The Criminal Records Bureau contract was also beset by problems. Capita proved itself unable to administer the completion of criminal records checks for teachers on time, which caused problems for schools in the autumn of 2002. The contract was once again revised and revenues renegotiated. Capita incurred penalty charges for that one.”
Last night, the Barnet Alliance for Public Services held a protest at the offices of Capita. Whilst the Barnet Conservatives seem not to care about the issues raised, the ordinary residents and bloggers of Barnet do. Capita are now in the media spotlight. Wheras previously these blunders and cock ups could be quietly swept under the carpet, Barnet is a completely different case. We have more journalists, TV executives and other media people living locally than anywhere else in the Country. Should a scandal break in Barnet, Capita run the risk of huge reputational damage. If they think that the protests will quietly die away, they are gravely mistaken. I'd suggest they'd better start getting used to protests at their offices.