On Wednesday 12 December, 2018 I sat in three Capita staff meetings here in Barnet.
It was a joint meeting with Barnet Council and Capita following the decision the previous night to start insourcing services at the Policy and Resources Committee (P & R).
The P&R Committee agreed to look at insourcing services back into Barnet Council in four phases.
Phase 1 – Finance and Strategic HR
These services are due to transfer back in-house on 1 April 2019
Phase 2 – Highways and Regeneration
These services will be considered for insourcing between January and September 2019.
Phase 3 – Barnet-based customised services – Estates, Social Care Direct, Safety, Health and Wellbeing (SHaW), Strategic Planning, Procurement, Insight, Cemetery and Crematorium
These services will be considered for insourcing between January and September 2019.
Phase 4 – Revenues and Benefits, Customer Services, Information Services, Planning (Development Management) and Regulatory Services, transactional HR services (including pensions administration).
These services will be considered for insourcing in 2020.
The Council are consulting Barnet residents about both Capita contracts starting sometime next week and ending in February 2019. More details will be found on the Council web site.
Please note: Barnet UNISON branch meetings begin in January 2019
Wednesday 9th January Barnet House CR4
Thursday 10th January NLBP 4 Central
Tuesday 15th January Barnet House CR2
Wednesday 16th January NLBP 4 Willow
Wednesday 23rd January NLBP 2 G2
Tuesday 29th January Barnet House CR3
Wednesday 30th January NLBP 4 Central
Thursday 7th February Barnet House 1.1
The following email was sent to all 63 Barnet Councillors 30 November 2018
Please find attached Barnet UNISON Briefing Number 3 which provides an insight into a number of decisions made by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council at the following Executive Board Committee meetings.
To aid transparency I am including the link to the relevant reports referred to in our Briefing.
- 15 January 2015 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/Data/Executive%20Board/201501151800/Agenda/Document%209.pdf
- 17 June 2015 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/Data/Executive%20Board/201506111800/Agenda/Document%208.pdf
- 11 October 2018 Executive Board decision https://democracy.blackburn.gov.uk/documents/s2862/EBD-Executive-Board-Decision-Capita%20Oct18.pdf
The Blackburn with Darwen story covers a 17 year relationship with Capita when local government was in a very different environment unlike today. Take a look at the which services start to come back and the reasons given for the final group of services to be brought back in-house.
0208 359 2088
To view flyer click on link below
Yesterday, 22 November 2018 Capita formally commenced a 52 day consultation for the Capita Corporate Programmes team.
The proposal is cut the size of the workforce from 29 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) to 8 FTE which is a 72% cut in the workforce.
Please note: In 2013 when the Corporate Programmes Team transferred to Capita the team was 13.39 FTE.
The staff to work in Barnet on LBB projects and programmes and work across the following teams/areas:
- Technology & Change
- Customer Transformation Programme
Barnet Council have told Capita they have no requirement for a team of this size for 2019.
Barnet UNISON have raised concern that this proposal has clearly arisen as a result of closed door negotiations with Capita. The negotiations are as a result of the Councils decision to review both Capita contracts at a special Policy and Resources Committee on 19 July 2018 which:
“RESOLVED – That the Committee:
- Agrees to review the council’s partnership with Capita, and authorises the Chief Executive to develop a Full Business Case.
- Agrees that the proposed strategic aims underpinning the Full Business Case should be to:
- a) Deliver high quality services;
- b) Secure best value for money for Barnet’s residents; and
- c) Strengthen the council’s strategic control of services.
- Notes the three options identified and considered in more detail in paragraphs 2.4 to 2.7 and Tables 1 to 4.
- Agrees that option 2 – realigning the CSG and DRS contracts to bring back in house those services listed in Table 5 – is the proposed preferred option to be tested in the Full Business Case.
- Agrees that option 3 is fully tested and considered in the Full Business Case.
- Agrees that the Full Business Case should review the joint venture arrangement for the delivery of Development and Regulatory Services.
- Agrees that the Full Business Case should be considered by Policy & Resources Committee, for referral to Council for final decision.”
Barnet UNISON has registered concern that this may be the first of a series of redundancy meetings for Capita employees working in other services provided by Capita as a result of negotiations with Barnet Council. We are also concerned that this could be viewed as an attempt to circumvent any TUPE transfers of staff back to the Council.
Barnet UNISON was bitterly disappointed to read that Barnet Council is now back tracking on a decision agreed at a Special Policy and Resources Committee on 19 July 2018.
The decision was to review the council’s partnership with Capita, and authorise the Chief Executive to develop a Full Business Case for all of the following Options:
- Keep both Capita contracts as they are now.
- Bring some Capita services back in-house from both contracts.
- Bring all the services back in-house from both contracts.
“all three options should be fully tested, consulted on and considered in a Full Business Case before a final decision was made”
Barnet Council has now announced that only these services will be brought back in-house:
“It is intended that the report will recommend that Finance and Accounting (excluding transactional services provided from the Darlington shared service centre) and Strategic HR be transferred back to the council by the end of this financial year (March 2019).”
The announcement goes on to add:
“The arrangements for remaining services are still to be considered and timescales will be confirmed in due course. However, it is also likely that the report will recommend that Highways and Regeneration be reviewed as one of the earlier phases.”
The news may come as a surprise to our members, especially in light to recent fraud and the damning Grant Thornton report which is going to be discussed at the Audit Committee on 22 November.
However, Barnet UNISON is not surprised by the decision: this is Barnet.
Last week we sent a report to all Councillors on the Policy and Resources Committee entitled:
“How bad does it have to get?”
You can read our report here:
The sheer number of Councils ending their contracts with Capita in 2018 is very worrying.
These big contracts are just as complex as the one in Barnet and often involve the same services that Barnet outsourced to Capita.
If Southampton, Sheffield, Blackburn and Birmingham can end contracts with Capita and still make savings then why can’t Barnet?
Barnet UNISON is not giving up on our aim to see all services brought back in-house.
This is why we are directly asking all of our members working for Capita this question:
“If you have any information, questions or concerns that you think we should know about, strictly in confidence, please make urgent contact with the Barnet UNISON office on 0208 359 2088 or email firstname.lastname@example.org”
In the meantime take a look at this infographic below for 2018 only.
Hammersmith & Fulham Council is set to return its housing repairs service to council control, bringing to an end the contract with Mitie.
This follows on from winding up Hammersmith and Fulham ALMO, H&F Homes, in 2010.
“We’ve listened to what tenants and leaseholders have told us about the repairs service,” says Cllr Lisa Homan, Cabinet Member for Housing. “That’s why we will now take back direct control of the repair and maintenance for our 17,000 homes.
“We’re determined to provide a safe and secure place to live for our tenants and leaseholders. This decision is the start of a new way to deliver for our residents.”
The council will now set up a new council-run repairs service, a direct labour organisation, which will work alongside a range of new contractors to deliver repairs.
Barnet UNISON have written to Barnet Group Chief Executive asking if Barnet Homes will be doing the same. The private contractor Mears currently provide Council Housing repair service.
Date: Tuesday 6 November 2018
Venue: Committee Room Corridor, House of Commons Westminster, London SW1A 0AA.
Organised by Barnet Alliance for Public Services and Barnet UNISON
Chair: Aditya Chakrabortty Guardian columnist and senior economics commentator
Purpose of Inquiry
To hear evidence from residents, trade unions, politicians on what Capita has done in Barnet and elsewhere and end with a set of recommendations.
A Capita employee managed to steal over £2 million from Barnet Council because neither Capita nor Barnet Council had control of financial matters.
Barnet Council felt obliged to commission Grant Thornton to identify how such a large scale fraud was possible. This project could cost up to half a million pounds of tax payers’ money.
The review found no proper budgetary controls, no checking of basic banking details, inexperienced managers responsible for large amounts of Council money, no written financial procedures and check-lists.
Barnet Council agreed to pay Capita £252.54 million, but has already paid Capita £352.41 million with FIVE more years to go!
Barnet Council is in financial crisis with a budget overspend of £10.3 million this financial year and a funding gap of £66.8 million over the next three years.
Front-line services such as street cleansing, waste and recycling, libraries and social care are all facing more and more cuts that are already affecting Barnet residents.
Capita is having difficulty with its own finances
Their Share Price has dropped from £13 a share to under £1.50 a share in the last two years.
On 11th December 2018, Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee will decide on whether to end both contracts. We are campaigning that they VOTE to end both contracts and begin the urgent process of taking back control of those services.
- Please join #KickOutCapita campaign from 6 pm outside Hendon Town Hall,11th December, The Burroughs, Hendon NW4 4BG.
- Please sign and share our #KickOutCapita petition here https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/kick-out-capita-from-barnet-council-now