Category Archives: Capita

Option 3 – Tories taken to task over Capita!

Tory councillors, forced to review their outsourcing arrangements with failling privateers Capita due the scale of the disaster, walked away with their tales between their legs after a mauling at town hall Resources Committee. Barnet Alliance for Public Services activists and Labour councillors, who held a lively rally outside before the meeting. By the end, the Conservatives had been forced to carry out a fully analysis of the costs and possibilities of kicking out Capita all together.

In the meeting itself, the Tories were virtually lost for words, as they have reneged on almost everything they had said in the local elections in May. After pledging to maintain low council tax, they are now looking to make the largest tax rises allowed in law. When it was pointed out that they had frozen council taxes for years, and that council officers’ reports had shown that funding was in trouble months ago. they responded by pathetically appealing to the Labour group and residents not to “hark on about the past” and then trying to blame the economic policies of Gorden Brown in the same breath!

The preferred solution for this crisis-ridden administration was to do a partial reversion of services back t public control, which would have left Capita with those elements of services that are mostly profitable to them. By the end of the meeting, they were forced to conceed that no option for in-sourcing should be off the table in order to save our borough. This a massive step forward for our movement!

See a good report on the meeting in the Barnet Times here.

More Reasons to #kickoutcapita

From the Barnet Eye:

“Last night, the Barnet Eye, along with fellow bloggers Mr Reasonable and Mrs Angry attended the Audit committee meeting at Hendon Town Hall. The meeting was scheduled to discuss the annual audit of the Council business. It was a long meeting. The Audit committee is a rather dry committee and reviews of the Council accounts are serious matters. This was reflected by the number of questions submitted by members of the public (The full set of papers and an audio recording are available here).”

“The auditor spelled out that the problem was fairly and squarely down to Capita. The auditor also spelled out that there would be additional costs associated with the extra work caused by the latest issues with Capita. This is not the first time that Capita have caused audits to be late. Capita have been virtually running the council for five years. They were brought in to save money and to give better service. As Mr Reasonable discovered, they don’t save money and as the auditors have revealed, the service is worse. The council has no control of it’s own business.”

Meanwhile, further shocking news on Capita’s failings at schools:

“Capita has admitted a bug in an information management system used by 21,000 UK schools could have incorrectly linked contact details to the wrong pupils – an incident with huge implications for pupils’ data protection.”

“The error, which has been pinned on a December 2017 upgrade to the Schools Information Management System, could have resulted in schools sending out information about pupils to the wrong address.”

A Brief Report on the Annual General Meeting of BAPS

The Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) met on 4th of July, in what was effectively a relaunch for one of London’s longest running local anti-austerity organisations. The time could not be more right for the return of this grouping.

Keen as ever to emphasise the strong ties between community organisations and the trade union movement, there were two invited speakers from the unions. Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of RMT, drew strong comparisons between BAPS’ struggle over services with RMT’s battles in the transport sector. Not only is privatisation, to big businesses that asset strip and repeatedly fail, a common theme but so also is the axing of workers who are essential to vulnerable people. This is as true of station staff and train conductors as it is of librarians and local care workers – and our movement should fight to retain all these grades. Steve finished by contrasting the left and the labour movement’s genuine concern for protecting the innocent with the false narrative currently being peddled by the hard right who are making a false cause out of it, and he urged everyone to attend the anti-fascist demo on July 14th.

Steve Day then spoke from the Baker’s Union (BFAWU) about the ongoing ‘McStrike’, and it was great to get an update. Since a mere 47 workers launched their action, down the road from where we were meeting at McDonald’s HQ in Finchley, one of the biggest employers in the world has been forced to concede a 6.5% pay rise for almost 200 thousand workers in Britain. The campaign to organise and improve the conditions of McDonald’s workers continues, and Day concluded by saying there would be a lot more of our tax revenue to pay for public services if some much wasn’t currently having to be paid as in-work welfare to subsidise absurdly the absurdly low pay large companies pay to service staff.

After the two guests, we had the more familiar faces of local “Mr Reasonable” blogger, John Dix, and Barnet Labour council group leader, Barry Rawlings. John reiterated that since the election, the news regarding the state of council finances just doesn’t stop getting worse. Cuts the Tories had initially estimated as totally £9 million are now looking more like £20 million (when John asked why the Tories were so caught off-gaurd by this, despite officers in Barnet being aware in February, he was told that Tory leader Richard Cornelius “doesn’t read reports”). The never-ending farce of payments to Capita (to say nothing of actual fraud) add completely unacceptably to this. Even when savings to their expensive provisions are found, Capita claim back 40% savings as “gain-share” – literal money for nothing! John said that on July 19th, when the Tories have been forced into having a council meeting to review options regarding Capita, good sense would call for so-called Option 3: bring it all back to the public sector. Barry, and numerous other Labour councillors from the borough, reiterated that the Tories are rampantly breaching election pledges, while doggedly supporting a national government that is directly responsible for lack of council funding, and called for pressure on Tory councillors and MPs to be maintained.

The next steps in the campaign, then are to unite our forces for Option 3. There will be a cultural launch, featuring the start of the Barnet Wall, on Friday the 13th at West Hendon’s Midland Pub. The big push for campaigning will be to get people to protest at Hendon Town Hall on Wednesday the 19th at 6pm.

DEMAND OPTION 3!

Are we on the brink of victory or will it be a missed opportunity? – The future of Capita in Barnet by Mr Reasonable

On Friday, Barnet made an admission, a big admission; an admission that Capita is not delivering for Barnet. For me that comes as no surprise. I have been concerned about the scale and complexity of this contract since 2011 when the first clear contractual details emerged.

Sadly they are leaving a number of services with Capita that are either; under-performing; costing a fortune; or where Capita add little or no value.

Full blog here.

Barnet Alliance AGM Wednesday 4th July 6.30pm

This is a formal notification of BAPS AGM and relaunch, which will take place on Wednesday 4th July 6.30 pm at the Greek Cypriot Centre 2 Britannia Road N12 9RU.

 

Confirmed Speakers include:

Steve Hedley, Assistant General Secretary RMT
Shen, Mcstriker
Mr Reasonable: John Dix
Barry Rawlings, Leader of the Barnet Labour Group

Unconfirmed Speakers:

Richard Cornelius Leader of the Barnet Conservative administration

#BarnetOption3
#KickOutCapita

Please find attached BAPS constitution: Barnet Alliance for Public Services – Final Constitution

The Return of Barnet Alliance for Public Services: Time to Kick Out Capita!

Last night, one of London’s longest running anti-austerity campaigns reconvened with a packed meeting at Finchley’s Greek Cypriot Centre. At our last trades council meeting on Thursday, we had resolved to get organising the re-elected Tory council as soon as possible, and this was an excellent start.

The initial presentation came from the one and only Mr Reasonable, John Dix, who had a comprehensive report on just how bad the past five years of mismanagement by Capita, the woefully incompetent and self-serving outsourcing giant to which the Conservatives have entrusted almost our entire borough. The Tories claim that the deal saves money, which might even be true if over-billing, contract variation and “special projects” weren’t absolutely rife. Combine this with the Tories failing to make even the most limited council tax rises for many years (even when their associates in other councils were doing so!) and the fact that Capita fees, astonishingly, rise with RPI inflation and there is a multi-million pound shortfall coming in Barnet’s finances. Auditors have expressed severe doubts that the Tories can possibly fill the gap by 2020 or 2021. You can read John’s full report on his blog.

John was followed by fellow campaigning blogger, Roger Titchbourne of the Barnet Eye. Roger issued a call to arms for activists from across the movement and different parties to unite under a simple slogan: Kick Out Capita! This is going to be the new focus for BAPS, and we’ll be starting with a series of musical and cultural events around the borough.

Finally, we were joined by a very special guest and great friend, John McDonnell MP. The shadow chancellor joined us fresh from address the PCS public sector union’s conference, and spoke about how that union was taking its own action to save essential services. He reiterated that the Labour Party has committed to ending privatisation and bringing failing contracts like Capita back in-house where they belong. Research by the University of Greenwich has shown that far from costing money, this approach would pay for itself in a matter of years. Answering question from some of BAPS’ members, John also touched on some other areas:

  • Labour intends to crack-down on the massive tax evasion and money laundering that goes on in London, which is estimated to be of the order of £92 million annually and strongly tied to international crime.
  • Labour has realised that simply dragging voters to the polls when election day comes will not win the next election. There has to be a turn to community activism and the party is appointing community organisers to help make this happen.
  • There has to be a renewed assertion of a right to a commons in Britain – including of land itself – in order to make society more just, and Labour is working with figure like George Monbiot on policy.

The relaunch was an excellent step in the right direction. Now we have to get the message out there and take the fight to Capita. BAPS will now be meeting every Tuesday at 6.30pm in the Cypriot Centre. Why not come along and join the movement against corporate greed to make Barnet a better place to live?

Capita have cancelled Freedom Passes for adults with disabilities

Barnet Councils private contractors Capita have cancelled Freedom Passes for adults with mental health issues and other disabilities like autism without giving any notice. 
 
This has meant that many people have found out for the first time that their Pass has been cancelled while trying to use public transport. Others have had their Pass cancelled as a result of a reassessment, despite there being no change in their condition.
 
This is despicable and unacceptable.
 
And possibly illegal.
 
And
For further information on how Capita, on behalf of Barnet Council, are making the lives of disabled residents intolerable.
Barnet Labour have started a petition for immediate reinstatement of the disabled Freedom pass to these residents.
 
I urge you to please sign this petition and share throughout your networks.
We must stand against this treatment of disabled residents.