First things first, the Gritting service is provided directly by Barnet Council.
It has not been outsourced.
However there have been changes to the Gritting service since Re (Capita) were given a contract that included the Highways Services.
If you go to Barnet Council Winter maintenance web page you will see the contact details for Re, view here https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/parking-roads-and-pavements/Roads-and-Pavements/Winter-Maintenance.html
The implications of trying to run services with multiple partners, each of whom will have their own agendas, was probably not discussed thoroughly by those councillors who rubber stamped the outsourcing of key environmental services to Capita.
I know it wasn’t discussed because I attended every single council committee meeting for years, desperate to see some semblance of scrutiny. What I witnessed, was no scrutiny of claims in favour of outsourcing made by senior council officers, long since gone from the Council.
Back to the Gritting service.
The Gritting service prior to privatisation made their own decision as to when they went out to grit roads, now they have to be instructed by Re (Capita).
It is really important to note that fact.
What happened on Sunday 10 December 2017?
I am writing this post in defence of our members who carry out this service.
There has been a great deal of anger from Barnet residents about the lack of gritting that led to the chaos on the streets of Barnet.
I just want to make it clear if my members in the Gritting service had been asked to go out, they would have gone out.
The question that must be asked is why were they were not asked.
I have asked and I am still waiting…….
Many residents are blissfully unaware that Barnet Council sold Mill Hill depot (in the exact centre of the borough) without securing a suitable location for a new depot. This has resulted in services being scatted over a number fo sites. In the case of the Gritting service, it was moved to Harrow. This means they have to drive from Harrow and drive into Barnet to begin the routes, then drive back to Harrow to pick up more grit.
The workforce can’t believe councillors could make such a decision and neither can Barnet UNISON.