Monday, 22 June 2020

Open Letter to the Leader of Barnet Council regarding the failure of the Cambridge Education Outsourcing contract

Last night I learned of the failure of the outsourcing contract between Barnet Council and Cambridge Education, which leaves school children in Barnet exposed as a key provider of Educational Services has left the council in the lurch at a time of crisis. 

This is how Barnet announced the outsourcing two years ago.

We are lead to believe that at a secret session of the Policy and Resources committee on Thursday night, where the public were excluded from the session, the committee were informed of the problems. There was meant to be a public statement on Friday but this has not materialised.

As a result we are seeking urgent clarification of the situation. We sent this urgent email to the men in charge last night, we will keep the people of Barnet informed of any response.

Dear Councillors

Today I learned that Cambridge Education have unilaterally pulled out of their deal with Barnet Council to provide educational services. 

I am sure that at this time, you will agree that the number one priority for Barnet Schools must be stability and a focus on bringing schools back on line in a safe and ordered fashion. Please can you answer the following questions.

1. As an in house solution would be the most low risk approach at this time, will this be your preferred solution?

2. As the private sector has let Barnet Council down at a time when the council most needed the support of its suppliers, will you be reviewing your strategy for outsourcing?

3. Please can you confirm that the council does not intend to get distracted by a lengthy procurement process, when the focus should be on the safety of children and school staff.

4. Please can you confirm that you recognise that Barnet Council will not be in a good position to negotiate a deal from a position of strength for the replacement of the Cambridge Education contract, as this will have to be concluded quickly to be in place for September.

5. Please can you confirm that a due diligence review will be conducted of the process that awarded Cambridge Education the contract, as this has clearly exposed Barnet Council, school children in Barnet and staff to risk, as focus is now on issues other than getting schools up and running safely.

It is essential that we put ideological differences aside at this time and work for a solution that puts our children first. Outsourcing this service has clearly failed and the absolute top priority should be to keep the show on the road.

Roger Tichborne

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