Press release :“EasyCouncil or John Lewis – Are You Being Served?” –

The Council Trade Unions has responded to the news – reported in The Guardian on Thursday 18 FebruaryLabour’s plan for first “John Lewis” Council.

In case these highly paid consultants need to be told (not that they should especially when they are earning in some cases up to £1,000 a day). Barnet Council and all the other Councils across the UK are not “Department Stores” said UNISON Branch Secretary John Burgess, “less of the spin and more details – we need adequate funding for public services.”

“We have always said that we are willing to work with the Council to improve services – our members who work on the front line workers know how to improve services and want to do so. The first step should be to sack all the expensive consultants who are costing us several hundred pounds a day each and talk to workers and residents about how to develop our services for the future.”

Tony Travers describes in the Guardian that this as “an ideological war fought by proxy” – will local government jobs and services be the “collateral damage” in this ideological war?

The Trade Union movement has seen too many examples of the “collateral damage” done to services and staff as a result of privatisation.

Even the Audit Commission have cast doubt on whether local authorities really manage to get value for money from the outsourcing that is now endemic across the public sector.

We want to encourage our members – in Barnet – to engage with plans to improve public service provision. But we will also be prepared to resist cutbacks in, or privatisation of, essential services.

Our message to the Council – is clear. Sack the expensive consultants and listen to your workforce and we can work together to defend and improve public services.


Contact: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on 07738389569 or email


1. Boom times for outsourcing firms as public sector cuts bite, 17 February, 2010 Guardian.


“Lambeth v Barnet: Local councils fighting a proxy war,” Tony Travers Editorial Wed 17 Feb 2010. 

3. The future for local authorities: is it John Lewis or easyCouncil? Allegra Stratton. The Guardian News Thu 18 Feb 2010.