Barnet Council celebrates victory as appeal over One Barnet court battle is rejected
- Credit: Nigel Sutton
A disabled pensioner who lost a High Court battle with Barnet Council over controversial £320million outsourcing plans has had her appeal against the court’s decision thrown out.
Today judges sitting at the Court of Appeal ruled that New Barnet resident Maria Nash’s claim for a judicial review of the One Barnet outsourcing scheme had been launched too late.
The ruling is supportive of an earlier decision from judge Lord Justice Underhill in April who rejected Ms Nash’s judicial review claim in the High Court on the same grounds.
The judgement today from Lord Justice Davis and Lady Justice Gloster means Barnet Council is now free to press ahead with the One Barnet scheme, which has been beset my delays due to the legal proceedings brought by Ms Nash.
Barnet Council leader, Cllr Richard Cornelius, said: “I’m delighted with the judges’ decision.
“We can all now get on with making the huge savings in our back office costs which we need to do if we are to continue protecting our frontline services.
“Nobody has stepped forward to propose either cuts in services or increased taxes as an alternative to this programme.”
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The council has awarded two contracts, thought to be worth around £320million, to private company Capita to run its back-room services and many of its frontline services for the next 10 years.
Ms Nash, who received government aid to fund her legal bids, argued that Barnet Council had acted unlawfully by failing to consult residents about the plans to outsource a swathe of council services.
She also insisted the council had failed to meet equality obligations in relation to the plans, which attracted a petition with 8,000 signatures in January calling for a referendum on One Barnet.
Ms Nash is confined to a wheelchair due to severe arthritis and requires a full-time carer to help her with daily life. She also suffers from osteoporosis and diabetes.
The mother-of-one, whose husband died in 2001 after contracting a hospital bug and who lost her 13-year-old daughter to meningitis in 1992, has an autistic son she also helps to care for.