Breaking news One Barnet rejects Joint Venture for DRS

Dear Colleagues

Yesterday I submitted questions on the Joint Venture proposals for DRS and I promised to report back on the answers today.  

I have attended hundreds of council meetings and seen many things in my time as Branch Secretary, but last night I was genuinely shocked. Last night the Leader was asked by the Chair of the committee for his views about the Joint Venture for DRS. He denied ever seeing a case for a JV. A number of us in the public gallery nearly fell off our seats. So he was asked several times by Labour councillors to clarify as to whether the Council were recommending a Joint Venture to the Bidders and each time the resounding answer was no.  

Eventually the Chair was asked by one of the Labour councillors as to why the staff had been informed the Council was recommending a Joint Venture. What happened next was the Chair denied he had seen such an email and turned to his colleagues and checked with them and they all agreed they had not seen this email.  You don’t have to believe my report because this is all very soon gone to be available for everyone to watch on You Tube. If members want to get an idea of what took place last night I would suggest you Google the “Monty Python Dead Parrot” because the Joint Venture is dead.  

UNISON is not allowed to speak at these meetings but I had the emails on my phone and I would like everyone to take a look at the quotes below.  

1. “As a result we have decided to form a Joint Venture organisation with the successful bidder, which provides an effective basis on which the Council can benefit from these opportunities and at the same time it gives the Council greater rights of transparency and control.  What this means is that the successful bidder and the Council will form a new organisation in which both have an interest.  This new organisation will then contract with the Council to provide the DRS services.  The Joint Venture approach does not change the approach to TUPE of staff or weaken any of the commitments given – staff would TUPE into the new organisation rather than to the commercial partner.  We shall provide further information on the Joint Venture in the next week however as ever you are welcome to ask any questions you may have regarding this or other elements of the DRS procurement” (17 August 2012) 

2. “However, Daniel Thomas, deputy leader and cabinet member for resources, said that a joint venture had always been an option for the officers and would give the council more control over the DRS.

He pointed out that Barnet would be the first council to outsource its regulatory services and officers needed to be cautious. “We are talking about creating a new model for outsourcing,” he said.

It doesn’t surprise me that the first vendor for this service would be a shared organisation. It gives the council more control.”

(Barnet Press 23 August 

 3. “DRS Joint Venture proposal – Staff Update

Following my DRS fortnightly email last week I have set out further details on the joint venture below:-

What is the decision making process around the joint venture?

The joint venture has been an option considered by the project Board over the last 2 years and has featured in the options appraisal and business case.  Although initially our preference was for a Strategic Partnership, the JV has developed as a progressively more attractive option following detailed discussions with bidders.  As a result the project Board recommended to Corporate Directors Group that this be formally advanced in discussions with bidders and indeed is currently our preferred option.  Following evaluation the final option, along with the preferred bidder, will be presented as a recommendation to Cabinet in the New Year. Cabinet will then take the final decision on whether to award the contract, the preferred bidder and the joint venture approach.

What does the joint venture approach mean in practice?

A new organisation would be formed by the Council and the successful bidder.  The Council would have a minority interest in this organisation and would appoint a small number of individuals to the senior management team of the new organisation.  This organisation would then contract with the Council to provide the DRS services.

Does this reduce any of my TUPE rights?

No.  In scope staff would TUPE into the joint venture organisation, and this would be on the same conditions as have been previously set out.  The obligations of the joint venture organisation would be backed up by the successful bidder’s parent company.

Who would my employer be?

The joint venture organisation.” (23 August 2012)

Including in the above is also a statement in the local press by the Deputy leader supporting the Joint venture, yet last night it was if this had never been said. On 23 August, I attended a meeting with the DRS senior management, I asked if the the reports were true and I was very clearly told the Council was recomending a Joint Venture model for service delivery.

I am sure that many of you will not believe what you are reading and I await with interest the DRS weekly message.

Straight after the meeting I approached the Leader to express my concern.

More to report tomorrow.

Final Reminder UNISON lunchtime meeting Tuesday 25 September12 noon  Conference Room 1 – lunch provided.

Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary.


One Barnet Barlimpix ‘The race to the bottom’

Not content with rushing staff out of the building the council submitted a report to the Council Remuneration Committee last night to begin a wholesale review of all posts/allowances etc. UNISON submitted a response which you can view here.

We are concerned because the reasons for the review simply don’t stack up. At no point has the Council ever said we need to talk because “we are simply not paying our staff enough!” and after witnessing a vitriolic outburst from a Barnet councillor earlier this week (click here) you can see why UNISON is concerned why we view this as a race to the bottom.

Make sure you come to the branch meeting on Tuesday 25 September 12 noon conference room 1 

UNISON send One Barnet briefing Number 2 Cornwall Outsourcing

Dear Councillors


Please find enclosed Briefing Number 2 (to view click here)


The briefing concerns a proposal in Cornwall Council for the creation of a Joint Venture for services similar those in the One Barnet NSCSO bundle.


Events have overtaken the production of this Briefing so for transparency I have included the latest news items which reveal that the Cabinet are going ahead.


Links to articles on Cornwall outsourcing


1. Part-privatisation of Cornish council services ‘will not be reversed’


2. This breathtaking arrogance will be paid for at next year’s elections


3. Cabinet ignores vote by council


4. Cabinet decision ‘not in the best interests of the people’


I hope you will take time to read our briefings, furthermore if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.


Best wishes

John Burgess

Branch Secretary.


0208 359 2088

Barnet UNISON “Watch it & Share it”

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Defend Our Pensions



Debate on One Barnet Tuesday 11 September

Tuesday 11 September at 7 pm there will be another attempt to have a meaningful discussion about the One Barnet mass outsourcing programme.

See Press release by Barnet Labour Party

News from Labour

London Borough of Barnet Labour Group

We’re on your side

For immediate release 

31 August 2012

Barnet Labour Opposition Debate: We need a Better Barnet, not ‘One Barnet’

Barnet’s Labour Group of Councillors has called a Full Council debate on developing a different approach to the Council’s unpopular ‘One Barnet’ service transformation programme.

Key themes of the Opposition Policy Item include :

·         Restoring public faith in the democratic process

          There has been no consultation of local people on ‘One Barnet’ despite the risks involved, and the fact that it is a fundamental change in the way local services are delivered.  Labour would have a proper community engagement plan in place.

          There is confusion over whether it is officers taking decisions or members – this needs to stop, and there needs to be proper member oversight and monitoring of the programme through a dedicated scrutiny committee.  Labour would re-instate the dedicated One Barnet Scrutiny Committee.

·         Keeping jobs local and supporting the local economy

          ‘One Barnet’ plans to allow local jobs to be re-located out of the Borough, and so far the Conservative administration has refused to require contractors to keep jobs and services in Barnet.  Labour believes this should be a requirement.

          Local Traders have felt left out of discussions around skills, enterprise zones and apprenticeships.  Labour would work in partnership with local traders and businesses when developing their local economic development plan.


·         Assessing and minimising service transformation risk properly

          Council procurement practices are still poor resulting in contract overspends and financial risk – e.g. the cost of the contract for the ‘One Barnet’ implementation partner, Agylisis, has already exceeded by £1.24 million the specified upper limit of the contract, and we are only in year two of the three year contract. Labour believes the external auditor should investigate LB Barnet’s procurement practices before any further large contracts are let – including the two ‘One Barnet’ contracts for Development & Regulatory Services, and Support/Customer Services that are due to be signed by the end of this year.

          No Equality Impact Assessments (EIAs) for residents have been done for either of the two ‘One Barnet’ contracts – both include services that have a huge impact on local residents, e.g. planning, licensing, environmental health, Revenues and Benefits and Customer Services.  Labour believes EIAs must be completed before the contracts are signed.

          Risk assessments for the ‘One Barnet’ outsourcings have not been published – the public have the right to know that proper risk assessments have been done where £1 billion of services are being outsourced to a private contractor.  Labour wants these published as a matter of urgency.


·         The ‘Commissioning Model’ of One Barnet should be abandoned

          The commissioning and monitoring of council services should not be outsourced to a private company.  Labour would stop this model.

          The council should stop wasting millions of pounds on expensive consultants, and use a little of it to undertake proper in-house services reviews, comparing the potential for in-house improvement against outsourced solutions to ensure value for money is achieved. Labour would do this.

          The council should not hand over its valuable income streams or savings to the private sector for their profit.  This has already been done with re-cycling and parking – 50% of the income from the sale of re-cyclables goes to Barnet’s re-cycling contractor, and 50% of the savings made under the parking contract go to NSL – the new parking contractor. Labour believes income from council services should be re-invested in local services, and would use the new General Power of Competence to increase trading opportunities to do this.

          ‘One Barnet’ is supposed to be a ‘one public sector approach’ – this has not emerged. Labour would investigate sharing more services with other public sector partners and local authorities, and would look at providing more services through mutuals, co-operatives and co-production

 Labour’s motion on creating a Better Barnet will be debated at the 11 September Full Council meeting.


Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said: “One Barnet has been a damaging process and is fraught with risk.  We need to restore public faith in the way the council does business – ours would be a very different approach, one that engages local people, traders and businesses.  We are here to serve them, not ourselves – I think the current Conservative administration has lost touch with that.”


Press Release: 28 August 2012: 100 days to One Barnet Billion Pound Gamble

Barnet UNISON Press Release: 28 August 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 100 days to One Barnet Billion Pound Gamble

In 100 days time on Thursday 6 December at 7 pm in Hendon Town Hall members of Barnet Council Cabinet Resources Committee will formally award a contract to either BT or Capita. The first contract known as New Support Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO) will be for back office services such a Finance, Revenues & Benefits, Estates, IT, HR & Payroll etc, it is estimated to be worth up to £750 million pounds with a opportunity to extend for a further five years.

In spite of mounting community opposition within the workforce and the community the Council remains convinced that privatisation works. Barnet Council continues to ignore even the wise words of Sir Merrick Richard Cockell Conservative Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Chairman of the Local Government Association who

“called into question the belief that local authorities should be looking to “outsource everything”. There were some services better performed by the private sector, but the quality of other services run by councils with the “tightest budgets” had been “underestimated”.

2012 has already seen Barnet Council workers being transferred out of the Council including:

        Adult social care

        Parking services

        Housing services

        Legal Services**

NSCSO project involves over 770 staff most of whom are at risk of their jobs being transferred out of London

UNISON has repeatedly offered to meet with the Leader of the Council to discuss an alternative to the high risk £billion pound gamble being promoted by consultants.

Branch Secretary John Burgess said “If the Private sector can do things differently so can the Council in which case all of the savings come back to the tax payers of Barnet instead of big business.”

** Legal Service staff are due to be transferred out of the council on 1st September 2012.


Contact details: John Burgess Barnet UNISON on 07738389569 or email:


Barnet Council is implementing a policy known as the One Barnet Programme and sometimes referred to as the ‘Commissioning Council’. This mass outsourcing policy is designed to the divest itself of responsibility to deliver services to its residents. A second One Barnet project known as Development & Regulatory Services (DRS) is due to go to Barnet Council Cabinet Resources Committee on 8 January 2013 where a contract worth up to £275 million pounds will be awarded to Capita Symonds or EC Harris.


100 PLUS reasons why One Barnet is high risk and bad for residents and services


The One Barnet Programme is just one in a series of mad cap ideas which seeks to hand over public services to the private sector. The One Barnet Programme has been through a number of iterations over the last four years firstly as Future Shape, then EasyCouncil and now One Barnet although that is changing to the Commissioning Council later this year.

Whatever the name another team of expensive consultants come up with it is sadly just the same tired old ideology Private Good, Public Bad’.

However critics of this approach are coming from unlikely circles, earlier this month Sir Merrick Richard Cockell Conservative Leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Chairman of the Local Government Association has come out against this anti public services mantra.

Merrick Cockell called into question the belief that local authorities should be looking to “outsource everything”.

There were some services better performed by the private sector, but the quality of other services run by councils with the “tightest budgets” had been “underestimated”.

In-house services could enable the public sector to adapt to changing environments, he said.

“If you’ve got IT in-house, actually you can be very responsive to change. If you’ve got IT outsourced … every time you want to change it, you have to renegotiate… and that takes time,” he told the newspaper.

Over the last four years our union has submitted over 30 detailed reports to the Council in an attempt to discuss an alternative less risk approach to delivering services to the residents of Barnet.

But time is running out in just over a 100 days’ time (6 December) a handful of Conservative councillors will sit in a committee room in Hendon Town Hall and agree a contract worth up to £750 million to either Capita or BT.

UNISON is still seeking a meeting with the Leader and members of his Cabinet to discuss an alternative to the high risk £billion pound One Barnet gamble.

Until we have this meeting today marks the begining of a hundred (there may be  more) reasons why One Barnet Programme needs to be abandoned and an alternative plan be approved.

1. One Barnet Collection Part One

2. Mouchel calls in administrators

3. Administration looms as Mouchel restructure fails

4. Joint Venture warning for One Barnet

5. A Barnet resident explains “Why I am so angry about One Barnet Billion Pound Gamble!”

6. After G4S is One Barnet Privatisation a realistic option…No

7. One Barnet Collection Part Two

8. One Barnet Ten Year Plan

9. One Barnet Monte Carlo roulette gamble

10. Learn about One Barnet

11. Word on the street One Barnet is taking local jobs

12. One Barnet – Doubts at the top

13. Mrs Angry ..External Audit ..what is  it good for? …absolutely……

14. Mrs Angry objects: a response from Mr Hughes, of Grant Thornton

15. One Barnet Joint Venture: a joint statement by the Barnet bloggers,

16. Branch Secretary raises spectre of Southwest One disaster with all 63 councillors

17. Cost Costs and consequences of a One Barnet Commissioning Council

18. Poor procurement and contract management

19. Barnet Council block UNISON questions for EC Harris and Capita Symonds

20. Commissioning Council and its good friend the ‘Thin Client’ otherwise known as the ‘Invisible client’

21. G4S is not an isolated incident #failedprivatisation

22. Bournemouth Council chiefs set to bring back 22 staff from outsourcing partner Mouchel #failedprivatisation

23. Bournemouth Councillors were warned by senior council officer #failedprivatisation

24. Somerset council takes back services & 160 staff back in house from Southwest OneCouncil #failedprivatisation

25. Four out of five government departments are trapped in outsourcing deals #failedprivatisation

26. BT overcharging Liverpool council by £10m a year, report claims #failedprivatisation

27. Suffolk council accused of ignoring £100m ‘overspend’ on BT deal #failedprivatisation

28. UNISON warn Barnet Councillors of high risk #One Barnet Call Centre privatisation plan

29. One Barnet the wrong approach to transformation

30. One Barnet – Failure to assess options

31. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 1

32. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 2

33. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 3

34. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 4

35. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 5

36. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 6

37. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 7

38. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 8

39. UNISON Future Shape briefing Number 9

40. One Barnet Critique 2010

41. Future Shape Questions

42. Good Practice Transformational Toolkit

43. Future of Hendon Cemetery and Crematorium Implications for Future Shape

44. Economic case for in house bids

45. Critique of DRS options appraisal

46. Critique of NSCSO options appraisal

47. Analysis of DRS Business case

48. Analysis of NSCSO Business case

49. UNISON draft protocol on Competitive Dialogue

50. UNISON Draft Procurement Protocol 2009

51. Future Shape of the Council The Flaws in Barnet’s Commissioning and Procurement Policy

52. Sefton Council to end £65m technical services contract with Capita Symonds

53. Cumbria County Council: We’ll sort our own ICT support, thanks

54. Cumbria council brings Amey staff back in-house

55. The value of returning local authority services in-house in an era of budget constraints

56. A day last year when President Obama expressed a wish to meet the Famous Five Bloggers

57. All about the money

58. President Obama addressing Barnet UNISON members about One Barnet last year

59. President Obama on lessons on outsourcing

60. Where residents can go to find out more about One Barnet

61. Insourcing: A guide to bringing local authority services back in-house

62. Government urged to ditch Capita after ILA failure

63.  National Express slumps into red after rail fiasco

64. Mrs Angry Leaving One Barnet

65.  Rochdale Council to bring property and highway services back in house

66. Somerset Council to bring Southwest One services back in house

67. One Barnet Outsourcing ….it’s never too late to say no!


69.  One Barnet Outsourcing – Do residents really understand what it is all about

70. Care homes are checked after deadly bacteria found in water

71. Privatisation of Social Care – What would you do?

72. Barnet Council – Metpro Scandal – Open letter to Leader and CEO

73. Edinburgh halts privatisation plan

74. Aberdeen wins battle against privatisation

75. IBM in dispute with Joint Venture South West One partners Barnet Council choose Joint Venture for One Barnet

76. Joint Venture failing big time Barnet Council choose Joint Venture for One Barnet

77. Somerset Council braces for lawsuit from Southwest One shared service venture Barnet Council choose Joint Venture for One Barnet

78. Mouchel bankruptcy shouldn’t be ‘business as usual’ for public bodies

79. Bournemouth asked to ‘insource’ following Mouchel restructure

80. Lawyer urges worried buyers to check Mouchel contracts

81. Mr Mustard Is the One Barnet Parking Contract robust?

82. Mr Reasonable Barnet Supplier Payments – is spending out of control?

 83. Milton Keynes severing ties with Mouchel #fail privatisation

84. Planning to Outsource Planning by Julia Hines

85. Greensquare Field – Planning to Outsource Planning part 2 by Julia Hines

86. More evidence of private sector failure on IT contracts in Scotland

87. Mrs Angry One Barnet: A Warning from History

88. Mrs Angry Pulling out at the last minute: Strategic partnerships, and how to avoid unwanted consequences

89. Mrs Angry’s School for Scandal: A lesson in outsourcing – Part Two

90. Mrs Angry Would like to meet? Love and outsourcing in the One Barnet House of Fun

91. BT to sue council over “unlawful” contract termination

92. BT will agree to drop a threat to sue the Liverpool council for £56m. another Joint Venture which failed to deliver

 93. Barnet UNISON – Briefing Number 1 Edinburgh an example of an alternative sent to all 63 Barnet councillors

94.Somerset Joint Venture the beginning of the end?

95. Mr Reasonable ‘Arrogance, Overspend, Complacency and the Audit Trail that Leads Nowhere

96. Mrs Angry ‘Mr Reasonable and Mr Hughes, and yes, everything in the garden is lovely. Still’

97. Barnet residents write open letter to all 63 One Barnet councillors

 98. Joint Venture Southwest One sues Somerset Council

99. Liddell-Grainger, MP ‘it was a fairyland offer that has cost the council taxpayers of my county millions of pounds’

100. BREAKING NEWS One Barnet Mastermind Special Edition local resident scores top marks

101. Union joins chorus asking for Cornwall Council privatisation plans to be paused “The proposals, which was rejected by a majority of councillors at the authority yesterday afternoon, would see up to 1,000 staff transferred to a new private company.”

102. Cabinet ignores vote by council

103. Confirmed – Southwest One to sue Somerset, but Surrey Police halt their outsource

104. Briefing Number 1 Briefing Number 1 Edinburgh an example of an alternative

105. Briefing Number 2 Cornwall Outsourcing

106. Briefing Number 3 Lessons from Southwest One Joint Venture

107. Briefing Number 4 Street Lighting PFI

108. Briefing Number 5 What are Joint Ventures?”

109. Briefing Number 6 ‘G4S Fiasco’

110. Briefing Number 7 One Barnet contract monitoring or thin client which is it to be?

111. Briefing Number 8 ‘How Joint Ventures Work’

112. Briefing Number 9 ‘Regulatory Services & Risk’

113. Barnet resident debunks Graph of Doom with Graph of Choices


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