Barnet Council to bring services back in-house from Capita

Hendon Town Hall, Barnet Council's HQ

Hendon Town Hall, Barnet Council's HQ - Credit: Archant

Barnet Council, once famed for its outsourcing approach to council-run services, is to look at bringing them back in-house from Capita.

According to a report that will go before the policy and resources committee on July 19, they will look to bring around eleven services currently provided by the outsourcing giant back in-house.

This includes strategic finance, strategic HR, estates, health and safety, insight, social care direct, regeneration commissioning, highways, economic skills and development, cemetery and crematorium, strategic planning.

The move has been sparked by Capita’s end of 2017 results, where the company set out a new strategic direction.

It is set to look at more “technology-based” services.

Fellow outsourcing giant Carillion went bust in January with huge losses.

The report says the deal for both back office functions and strategic functions has delivered “significant financial benefits” with Capita “instrumental in delivering efficiencies, service improvements and increased income.”

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The Conservative-run Barnet Council blamed a longer period of austerity, and a changing market for looking to pull out.

It also acknowledged problems with the performance of some contracts.

The borough’s style of administration was once styled as “easyCouncil” because of its reputation for outsourcing services to private companies.

They signed a £1billion deal with Capita in 2012.

The Leader of Barnet Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: “Our priority is to deliver good quality, value for money services to our residents.

“Many things are working well and it’s right that we build on them. Where this is not the case, changes are needed.”

The council’s opposition are also backing the move.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “We have opposed the mass outsourcing of local services since it was first proposed by the Conservatives in 2008. They have finally conceded that we were right.

“We raised these concerns before the two Capita contracts were signed, amongst many other concerns, but the Barnet Conservatives were content to be back-seat passengers while control of strategy was handed to an unaccountable private company which had different priorities and was subject to the whims of the stock market rather than the wishes of local residents.

“This change of direction and admission of defeat must have been known before the local elections.

“This raises the question as to how honest they were with voters in the run-up to the local elections.”