Capita in Private Eye April 2018
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Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop on bringing IT back in-house. Reposted by Barnet UNISON
The council is winding up a controversial contract with Capita.
Birmingham City Council CIO Peter Bishop was handed a big task when he joined the local authority body in June 2017.
Europe’s largest council was winding up a controversial contract with much-maligned outsourcing giant Capita, and Bishop was put in charge of bringing IT services back in-house.
“My focus has been dominated by the negotiations that are involved with that,” explains Bishop, who serves as the council’s Assistant Director for Information Technology and Digital Services as well as its CIO.
“It’s a £45 million per annum contract. You can’t walk away from that without carefully considering all your options, and we’re not walking away, we’re just setting a very clear stall that we are going to migrate and become the systems and services integrator that Capita are at the moment.
“It means that I’ve got to redesign everything that we do, because [the contract’s] the best part of 12-years-old and your internal capacity and capability needs to be completely rethought to cope with that alone, let alone deliver any of the other stuff.”
Capita is currently responsible for all the procurement, management and support for IT services.
Now the council will take control of all of that, with the aim of simplifying operations and saving money from a deal that’s been derided for its cost.
The changes will be implemented over the course of three years. Year one will focus on preparing and designing the new model, year two on delivering it, and year three on stabilising as the Capita contract finally comes to an end.
Bringing the work done by Capita back under the council’s control will make a major contribution to the £43 million in IT cost base savings that Bishop’s been asked to m
“We’re applying the principles of simplify, standardise and share across everything we do in the IT services,” says Bishop.
“Every set of services that we buy are going to be looked at in terms of can we test the market and different service delivery options, and can we take advantage of technology that comes with those new service models.”
The Capita transition programme is part of a strategy signed off in 2016 that aims to simplify the council’s IT setup and put technology and information at the centre of its operating model
Other components include using data to support council staff and drive better services for citizens, improving information risk management and increasing workforce agility, productivity and collaboration.
The strategy also aims to improve how staff use employee and financial information and implement new service models that harness the power of digital in health and social care.
“There’s a plethora of stuff that’s in there. Things like how we can tackle homelessness through better joining up of data across the council, which is a great use case for our information management strategy.”
Innovation at the council
The council will be rolling out a number of new digital services to its citizens, including a new digital platform for local residents and businesses called the Brum Account.
The Jadu Continuum Platform provides users with 24/7 access to council services such as waste management. They can track requests in real time on the new services as they’re gradually added to the platform.
“It potentially covers anything and everything the council does,” says Bishop. “We’re focusing on the high volume transactions around waste, revenues, housing, repairs, and they’re starting with the high volume stuff because that drives most of the customer contact.
“It really gets people to think about how they deliver customer journeys. It also helps me with one of my other significant programmes of change, which is re-engineering the IT service model.
“For a council of our size, that’s very extensive. We need to reduce the proliferation of assets and data and technology that supports the business, which we can’t afford. The Brum Account is a great example of how you can uncover areas of technology which aren’t really adding any value, like multiple systems that are doing the same thing.”
Bishop takes a best-of-breed of approach to his vendor strategy, so the council can find the right product, reduce any duplications, and move from the private cloud into a hybrid public-private cloud.
He’s also creating an enterprise architecture approach to the solutions the council needs so it can take a strategic advantage of its investments.
“The important bit for me is that innovation needs to drive more value at the back end. We’re doing a European Union funded project around keeping people independent for longer by providing them with wearable devices tracking how much exercise they’re doing and we’re just using a local provider for that.
“If we could integrate that into our adult social care model to effectively prescribe a wearable Fitbit-type device to keep you energised for longer, then that’s the kind of thing we will work on.”
Birmingham’s digital future
Bishop joined the Birmingham City Council in June 2017, after two years as director of commercial and change at Worcestershire County Council.
He’s now swapped a two-tier conservative shire that’s politically stable with a limited political remit for a unitary body that is responsible for all the local government needs of more than one million people.
The city has its challenges, but it’s developing into a major tech hub, with a large and affordable talent pool, local tech networks including Silicon Canal and Innovation Birmingham, good transport links, and 18 universities within an hour’s drive of the city.
It will also be the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which Bishop will use to build digital services and infrastructure that will have a long-term legacy.
“We want more than just a great games,” he says. “We want something that adds value back to the communities that are here. That’s why we’re thinking about how Openreach can put fibre to the premise, how we can deliver 5G in those key corridor areas that support games but don’t then become a permanent arrangement, and extending public Wi-Fi.”
His more immediate objectives include building a team that can deliver his digital strategy, implement some of the big procurement work to support the transition from Capita.
Bishop believes that he’s come to the UK’s second biggest city at just the right time, and that technology will help it have a bright future.
“Birmingham’s got great potential,” he says. “I think it might have lost its way for a bit, but it’s really getting it back together, and part of my role is to really drive that to help all my colleagues across the council and the citizens of Birmingham to get all the value they expect out of the money they give us.”
Have you had your Pension Health check?
Making sure your Pension is being looked after properly by #Capita is something our branch takes very seriously.
Your Pension is one of the most important financial decisions you are likely to make so it is important that when you need it, the Pension is accurate.
If you are a Barnet UNISON member and want your own specific Pension Health check all you need to do is contact the branch on 0208 359 2088 or email email@example.com
Over the last year Barnet UNISON have been very concerned about Fire Safety in Barnet Libraries.
This arose because the Council were slow in providing Fires Risk Assessments (FRAs) for Libraries and in complying with the actions resulting from these assessments.
During 2017 Library buildings were altered as part of the Library Program. This included internal structural changes and the installation of technology to permit unstaffed opening hours. These changes meant that the building’s Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) needed reviewing and replacing.
In addition a new Library, Finchley Church End was opened in September 2017 which also required a Fire Risk Assessment
UNISON began asked the Council for these Fire Risk Assessment prior to library staff returning to each site and before the Libraries opened to the public.
However the Council only produced these FRA weeks and months after library staff and the public were admitted to the Libraries.
1. North Finchley Library reopened to the public on the 12th June 2017
The FRA issued on the 24th August 2017
2. Golders Green Library reopened to the public on the 3rd July 2017 The FRA issued on 10th August 20.17
3. Osidge Library reopened to the public on the 26th June 2017
The FRA issued on the 16th August 2017
The FRAs when they were produced identified a number of actions for the Council to carry out. The majority of these were described as a
The deadline for complying with most of these actions was three months from the issue of the FRA.
A few of the issues are listed below:
Barnet UNISON have been inspecting Libraries to see if the FRA actions have been carried out. In most cases these have not been completed. UNISON have raised this at a number of escalating meetings to the highest level and in our inspection reports.
But no real evidence was presented to Barnet UNISON by the Council that most of the issues had been resolved. Barnet UNISON informed the Council on a number of the occasions that if this continued we would be compelled to contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to report our concerns.
Despite this the Council failed to meaningfully respond and with regret Barnet UNISON reported our concerns to the Health and Safety Executive.
The Council have since then provided UNISON with a plan of works to act upon the FRAs but while this is welcome. These action should have been completed months ago.
The Council inaction has in UNISON view being largely caused by various Council/Capita management teams’ failure to take responsibility to have the Fire Risk Assessment in place in good time and to respond in sufficient time to resolve the problems identified in these assessments.
Barnet UNISON do not believe these failures have been due to library staff on site, who have reported these problems according to Council procedures and to their Trade Union , and who have themselves been put at risk by the Council.
Barnet UNISON will continue in our campaign to make Barnet Libraries safe for our members, all Library staff and the public.
To this end we call on the Council to:
Please note: The following services are provided by #Capita:
Jeremy Corbyn on #BarnetCouncil, #Capita and losing control.
It is never dull here in Barnet. In the House of Commons yesterday (21 March 2018), Jeremy Corbyn during Prime Minister Question Time, took the opportunity to comment on Barnet Council and Capita and the recent loss of control of the Council as the result of the deselection of 4 Tory Councillors.
Its amazing how he finds the time to keep up to date with what is going on in Barnet Council.
UNISON’s membership consultation on the Local Government Association’s (LGA) pay offer for 2018-20 ended on 9 March. The UNISON NJC Committee met to today to consider the response.
UNISON members have very narrowly rejected the LGA’s offer, with 50.44% voting to reject and 48.66% voting to accept it. (0.89% of ballot papers were spoilt.)
However, 62.4% of branches and 8 out of 11 Regions have voted to accept the offer.
The Committee had recommended rejection of the offer to members as the basis of the membership consultation. However, since the offer has been very narrowly rejected overall, but accepted by the majority of branches and Regions, the Committee agreed the following next steps:
In light of the results of the consultation on the 2018-20 pay offer, this NJC Committee agrees:
Branches are not being asked to re-consult members on the pay offer but seek member feedback on the NJC Committee’s question as best they can in the timescale given.
A branch circular will be issued early next week giving further details of this consultation and background information explaining the NJC Committee’s reasons for this decision.
With best wishes
Local Government, Police and Justice Section
101 years ago today women in Russia began taking strike action and this sparked the revolution of 1917. In those times this day was called “International Working Women’s Day”.
UNISON is the one union in Britain dominated by a female membership. We should take inspiration from our predecessors.
Have you completed your ballot on pay? Today is the last day of the ballot so please have your say and make your voice count.
We recommend a rejection of the offer on the basis that the public mood is with us and we believe we can do better than accepting below inflation pay ‘offers’.
Last week Barnet UNISON members working in Street Cleansing we called to a meeting and informed of a massive cut to overtime.The news came out of the blue, our members some who have been working for Barnet for decades were both angry and bewildered by this decision.Staff were told there was no longer a budget to cover the service and told that they shouldn’t rely on overtime payments. This did not go down well with the workforce who are the lowest paid in the Council and desperately rely on the overtime payments over the weekend.
This news follows quickly on from the recent 19% cut in the number of staff charged to keep the streets of Barnet clean just before Christmas last year.
In order to explain the cut and its impact on Barnet, Street Cleansing service for Saturday and Sundays which goes from Oakleigh Road depot.
Please note the figures below are for just one side of the borough. The other half of the service goes out from Harrow Depot (we won’t go why we have a depot outside Barnet in this post).
8 hours Finchley Central
8 hours North Finchley
8 Hours East Finchley
4 Hours East & New Barnet
4 hours Friern Barnet/Colney Hatch
4 Hours Whetstone
4 Hours Greenhill/ Mays Lane
8 Hours High Barnet
4 Temple Fortune
8 Golders Green
4 Mill Hill
4 Hendon Central
4 West Hendon
4 Brent Street
8 Hours response team x 2 = 16 hours
This makes that 92 hours for the whole of the borough.
The new service which started last weekend is a one 7.5 ton vehicle with one driver and one loader (16 hours) to cover all the above areas in Barnet.
This is a reduction of 78 hours per day.
Barnet UNISON has unsuccessfully attempted to try to restore the service for Barnet residents. We have sought clarification as to whether normal service will resume from 1 April 2018, we are still waiting. Our members were reporting increases in fly tipping before the workforce was cut, but still the Council implemented the cut. This massive cut to street cleansing at the weekends is going to have a dramatic impact on our borough.
Meanwhile we hear the Council have enough money to pay “eye watering” payments to Capita and seem to have very little control over agency/consultancy spend.
Barnet Supplier Payments – yet another reason why we need to start planning for change
But what do we know.
“On 30th January 2018, Full Council passed a motion on public services and outsourcing, to be considered by the Policy and Resources Committee. Given the timeline of meeting dates, it was agreed that this item be considered at the February meeting of the Performance and Contract Management Committee.
This report provides Members with an outline of the council’s contingency planning arrangements, in the event of the failure of one of its providers of significant outsourced services. The council has a business continuity planning framework, which applies to all services, including outsourced services. In respect of provider failure, the relevant contracts set out the key provisions that would enable the council to ensure continuity of service provision, in particular through the exercise of step in rights.”
Barnet UNISON notes:
“1.7 The indicators include key accounting ratios that measure liquidity and indebtedness. In respect of Capita, the council reviewed its performance against the ratios on two occasions in the last year, as part of the process for considering pre-payment against the CSG and RE contracts. The ratios have been reviewed again, following the publication of its trading statement on 31st January 2018, and Capita have confirmed that they are far from reaching the relevant thresholds.”
Barnet UNISON is calling upon its members, residents to attend the Performance and Contract Management Committee, Tuesday 27th February, 2018 7.00 pm. Hendon Town Hall.
“I want to thank members of the Pension Board in particular the Chair for the statement above. Barnet UNISON had already raised a large good deal of the concerns detailed in the audit report mentioned at the Pension Board meeting with our employer. We share the grave concerns expressed so concisely by the Chair of the Pensions Board, however we do not share the optimism of the Council that a service improvement plan will be sufficient. Shortly after Capita took over the Pension Service, staff were made redundant as the service was moved to Darlington. The service is not comparable to the in-house service provided by our members. It our view that the Council should begin negotiations for the service to be brought back in-house. Joining a Pension Scheme is one of the most important financial decisions a worker can make, which is why I am inviting UNISON members who are in the Local Government Pension Scheme to join me at the Barnet Council Pension Fund Committee meeting on Monday 26 February 2018, at 7 pm Hendon Town Hall” (John Burgess, Branch Secretary, Barnet UNISON)
Full details of Pensions Fund Committee meeting here
Transcript of audio is below:
“It would be an understatement to say this is the most important item on the agenda this evening.
In this context I must remind us all that the London Borough of Barnet Pension Fund Board acts in support of the Pensions Committee.
It is the Pensions Committee of the London Borough of Barnet which is, I think, composed exclusively of Councillors which is as it were operationally in charge of our the entire pensions operation.
It is the job of the Pension Fund Board to advise the Pension Committee to encourage it and warn it, but of course the Pension Fund Board is a public body open to members of the public, our agenda is public and so it should be.
I would be derelict in my duty as chair of your board if I did not put on the record for our minutes the grave concerns of the Pensions Fund Board with the current situation concerning Messrs Capita.
Now I am pleased to say that I have observer status on the Pension Fund Committee.
The Pension Fund Committee will be meeting later this month.
The reason that I am an observer there at the next meeting is actually, technically, formally speaking, to present the annual report of the Pension Fund Board to the Pension Fund Committee.
But I don’t want anyone to be in any doubt particularly Messrs Capita that I should use that opportunity to relay to the Pension Fund Committee the concerns and anxieties of this board in relation to the Pension Fund Committee, and the boroughs relationship with Messrs Capita.
In that connection, I would like to first move formally from the Chair that the report we have just been discussing, although it is already a public document, none the less that it be communicated formally to the Pension Fund Committee.
Can I take that as approved?
I must then point out a certain chronological scenario and my understanding of the contract between the Borough of Barnet and mentioned Messrs Capita, is that it provides inter alia for a series of remedy notices as an official term to be issued and members of the Pension Fund Board, will know, that one remedy notice the first was issued, I think last year, last August after the Borough was fined by the Pensions Regulator.
So colleagues, I would not be at all surprised, I would not be at all surprised, if, by the next time the Pension Fund Board meets then, there is some intimation of a second remedy notice.
I’m not saying that it is imminent but I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.
My understanding is and I am advised that if a third remedy notice is issued this would mean, I am very much looking to my colleague on my immediate left, to correct me if I am wrong, that this would mean that the borough would be at an imminent state of taking back the contract, yes?
Thank you I am grateful for that clarification.
Our job is to advise the Pension Fund Committee, encourage and support and that’s the purpose of the statement I am making.
In that connection, summarising very broadly there are two overriding concerns that this board has, our main concerns communication with members and the quality of the data.
There are other concerns, but those two top ones, and when I present the annual report of this board to the Pension Fund Committee at the end of this month and when presumably now we have agreed I should also present formally the report we have been discussing.
I shall advise, encourage and warn the Pensions Fund Committee to be exceedingly vigilant on these issues, before the next meeting of the next of this Pension Fund Board, of course this will be an item it goes without saying at the next agenda
Ok, anyone else want to speak?
Thank you very much.