Yesterday a group of residents organised a funeral march, they made several stops across the borough and gave the following eulogy.
“We are gathered here today to bid farewell to Barnet Public Services.
It is sad, of course, to lose a single service, but to lose the majority of this family is truly tragic. Perhaps you did not know all of them, but all of us were acquainted with some of them. They were there to serve us and they provided jobs for some of us. The purpose of these services – like the motivation of those who provided them – was purely to do the job well. They were not perfect, any more than any of us are, but these services were answerable to US, the public. We could reach them directly and press our case when necessary. There were personal connections and there was continuity. They were part of our community.
They were ours, we valued them and we fought hard to save them. They would have lived but for the key to their survival – the date of the decision of their execution – being hidden from view and the executioners’ misleading statements about it when asked.
Now those services as we knew them are gone.
The public – is private,
the motivation and purpose are profit – not service,
and our community rightly grieves.
As we mourn our loss, we extend our sympathies to those who have the added hardship of being forced to move or who have lost their job. As we watch our public services being buried far from their home, we worry how call-centre workers with no connection to, knowledge of, or interest in us and our community will respond to our needs.
We worry especially about what will happen to us and to our loved ones as the first priority of even more vital services – becomes profit, for we have seen how this has harmed some and endangers more people in the privatised care regimes under Fremantle and Your Choice Barnet. Fighting for the right to be consulted about the care of those we hold dear, we are told by such organisations that they don’t have to listen to us, because they are private companies. So how will we ensure that our environment, our buildings, the goods sold in our shops, our highways, our estates and our personal data are safe in the hands of Capita, an enormous organization with a far-from-perfect record of delivering on its promises in the public service sector?
By their actions, the executioners – and you know who they are – have dealt a body blow to local democracy. And although we have lost the initial battle, there is much to fight for.
As we bid farewell to public services, let us rededicate ourselves to that fight and to restoring that democracy: To holding the council and Capita to account for every drop in standards, every failure to deliver services, and every penny not accounted for.
Do NOT rest in peace, Capita and Barnet Council:
WE ARE WATCHING YOU!”