“Terminate Capita Contracts and Redesign the Council”

Barnet UNISON Report to Barnet Council Policy and Resources Committee, Thursday 19 July 2018.

“Terminate Capita Contracts and Redesign the Council”

Redesign the Council

We urge the Council to radically redesign the way services and functions are carried out which should include:

1. Integrated services

Abolish commissioning and replace it with the integration of client and provider functions to work in combined teams. Improved frontline intelligence and skills will improve the planning and delivery of services. The return of CSG back office and Regeneration services in-house, together with the Housing Service and Your Choice Barnet as a result of the abolition of the arms-length The Barnet Group, provides an opportunity to create genuine coordinated and integrated services and functions. This will also provide the potential to fundamentally improve the integration of services and capability of the Council to meet residents needs and improve the local economy.

2. Rebuild the council’s in-house capability and capacity

The Council urgently needs to refocus on rebuilding in-house capability and capacity combined with a drastic reduction in use of consultants and agency staff, both of which are very costly and lead to a spiralling loss of capability. A commitment to public provision, training and career development will be vital in attracting staff. The entirely predictable consequences of the mass outsourcing strategy are reflected in the £24m cost of management consultants and One Barnet programme costs and the £20m spent in 2016-17 alone on interim and agency staff.

3. Service planning with staff and service user participation

A new transformation strategy should be centred on Public Service innovation and improvement Plans, prepared with community and staff involvement and reviewed every four years. The Plans will contribute to the design and digitisation of council services to meet the needs and aspirations of Barnet residents and the local economy.  They will ensure that services are effective and efficient and cost a tiny fraction of the budget spent on consultants and the One Barnet programme.

4. Early development and intervention

Rigorous, comprehensive and consistent monitoring and scrutiny of services will not only directly contribute to innovation and improvement, but will also increase the effectiveness and efficiency of service provision. It has an important role in identifying situations where services and users require early support which prevents

longer term negative consequences and costs.

5. Value inputs, processes, outputs and outcomes

All four are an integral part of the quality of public services and thus must be taken into account in policy and decision making. Furthermore they are an important part of determining the impact of Council policies on the local economy. 

6. Social, economic, equality and environmental impact assessment

Austerity policies have imposed severe financial constraints on local authorities which have reinforced the dominance of ‘cost savings’ and on procurement, competition and market forces. There is significant evidence that savings are rarely achieved when a full public audit is undertaken. Furthermore, ignoring or marginalising the social, economic, equality and environmental impacts of public policies increases inequalities, poverty and imposes larger longer-term costs. It is essential that public policy decisions in Barnet are subject to a full impact assessment that is publicly available at the start of public participation.

7. Improved democratic accountability, participation and transparency

The above proposals require more open accountable and participative democratic processes not just to evidence ‘community consultation’ but to demonstrate that views and proposals have been fully taken into account and any negative impacts mitigated.

8. Joint working with other public sector organisations

Joint working and, in some cases, pooling of budgets is vital where Council services are part of a wider and more comprehensive system such as regeneration and social care.

View full report here Terminate Capita Redesign Council