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.
As well as reporting the stories on our blogs, we will be sending a daily email of the stories to all 63 Barnet Councillors, asking them whether they were aware of the issues raised by the experiences of other local authorities and what they have personally done to mitigate the risk.
Councillors are paid a five figure sum for the privelige of representing us. The least they should do is make sure they are aware of all of the issues and risks of decisions made on their watch. The reason we are emailing the councillors is twofold. One is to make sure they have access to the information necessary to make an informed decisions about the One Barnet program. The second is so that they can be held to account. If in two years time, there are problems, no councillor will be able to say “I wasn’t told about the risks, don’t blame me”. If they do say that, then we will know that they did not even bother to read their emails.
Every day this week we will investigate a specific area of Capita outsourcing and its implications. Today we start with performance. The first Council we will investigate is Birmingham.
Service Birmingham is a “joint venture” (JV) between Birmingham Council and Capita. It was set up in 2006 and extended in February 2011 until 2021, was intended to provide "world-class ICT services" as well as manage the council's revenue service and contact centre. It is also required to deploy various other large and small-scale IT-enabled solutions to the council.
It is failing to perform as expected, says a new review of the long-term operation by consultancy Best Practice Group.
According to a news report, the review concludes that Service Birmingham, as the JV is called, needs "serious improvement" if it is to meet its targets.
Have Barnet Council spoken to Birmingham Council to see what the problems are and why they have happened? Have lessons been learned?