Kick out Capita!

Join the lobby of the P&R committee
Monday 17 June, 6pm
Hendon Town Hall 
Following the scandals of the £2million fraud, a report was commissioned by the council (the Grant Thornton report). This report found that there were  “significant financial control weaknesses…“poor accounting controls”. There are also other scandals such as of the overspend on the Capita contract by £145.9 million and the excessive and expensive use of agency staff. All this leads to continuously deteriorating services and the waste of public money.

John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor said: “The Grant Thornton (GT) review of the two Capita contracts in Barnet provides yet more evidence of the folly of privatisation of public services. When I read “significant financial control weaknesses…“poor accounting controls” in the GT review it summed up what I have been saying about the current Tory government.

External Auditors in May also reported that Capita “don’t have a particularly strong control environment”, the auditor reported, and then stated that Capita were “not minded” to provide assurance over systems running processes on Barnet Council’s behalf.

As a result of all these indictments, Barnet’s P&R committee agreed to review the Capita contract including the option of bringing back services in-house. Despite the failure of the contract with Capita, The report for the P&R committee meeting on 17 June accepts the current relationship with Capita  and accepts that there is no alternative but to carry on with a failing contract. It is Barnet residents, and council staff, that will continue to suffer as a result of the Tories’ illusion that privatisation works.  In Barnet, the evidence of the Capita contract shows that it does not.

For a full analysis of the report to the committee and of the Capita contracts so far, read Mr Reasonable’s latest blog here.

Kick out Capita!
Join the lobby of the P&R committee
Monday 17 June, 6pm, Hendon Town Hall 

Capita cock-up leaves 170 Barnet council employees out of pocket

Barnet Council’s embattled Capita contract suffered a further blow at a meeting of the Council’s Audit Committee last night (1 May), when it was revealed that 170 employees were incorrectly auto-enrolled onto the pension scheme and were paid less than they should have this week.

The accident occurred due to a technical glitch with the Capita HR system, which has long been a subject of concern to the council.

Labour’s Audit lead Cllr Alison Moore said:

“This is yet another shambles by Capita. Labour members successfully pressed for an apology to be sent to the affected staff, that no staff would be out-of-pocket and that Capita would bear any additional costs, but we have no faith in Capita systems whatsoever, and – as the meeting revealed – there appear to be severe weaknesses in their ability to test those systems before they install and operate them.”

The meeting contained an embarrassing double whammy for Capita, after the external Auditor informed the committee that Capita did not provide control reports, which is standard practice for outsourced services.

Labour Councillor Kathy Levine said:

“This is appalling. Given we had a major fraud last year, it is vital the council has a proper control environment. Not doing this means external auditors rely on the over stretched and under resourced internal audit team. Management control reports for various departments are actually a contractual obligation, which is a further outrage and begs the question about what else we are paying Capita to do that they aren’t.”

Welcome home from Barnet Alliance for Public Services

Monday, 1st April 2019 was officially the first day back in-house for formerly outsourced Capita Finance and Human Resources staff.

VIDEO HERE

This means the first stage of Barnet councillors’ review of the Capita contracts has been completed.
Barnet council is locked in two draconian contracts with Capita, which were a bad deal for residents and workers from the start. The borough saw a huge waste of public money and a steady deterioration of services’ provision across the board, evident in Barnet’s dirty streets, shocking state of disrepair of its roads and pavements and inaccessibility of the council’s Customer Services to name just a few problems.


After years of campaigning, some Barnet residents, members of Barnet Alliance for Public Services and the #KickOutCapita campaign, welcomed back the workers on their first day back into the council.
By this the residents also sent a very clear message to Barnet Council: We want to see the return of ALL the former council services currently provided by Capita back in-house without delay.

We will not give up campaigning until all of the services return in-house!
#OurBarnet @BarnetAlliance

Barnet Tories admit Capita services “don’t work so well”

The Conservative Chair of Barnet Council’s Financial Performance and Contracts Committee, Cllr Peter Zinkin, told the committee last night (11 March) that in relation to the Capita CSG contract “The bit that worked well was cutting costs, the bit that didn’t work so well were the services.”
Cllr Zinkin also said of Capita that it had “days or weeks” to resolve longstanding problems with the Capita-run pensions administration service for council employees.
 
According to officers at the meeting, the pensions regulator is getting “fed up” and demands “action, not words” after it was revealed two years ago that the quality of data on the system is inadequate and does not conform to regulation standards.
 
However, In response to a demand by Labour Councillor and committee member, Arjun Mittra, that the Council should consider bringing the service back in-house, Cllr Zinkin said that that was not likely, and that he would prefer the service to continue to be privatised, but to a different contractor.
 
Labour councillors got agreement at a recent Policy & Resources Committee that bringing the pensions administration service back in house would be considered in the review of the next tranche of Capita services.
 
Labour’s spokesperson on the committee, Cllr Kathy Levine said:
 
“The continual failure of the Capita pensions administration service is a national embarrassment. Barnet was the first local authority to be fined by the regulator for failure to submit their 2016 scheme on time, and there has been a further breach since then. The contracts are 6 years in and only now are the Barnet Tories trying to deal with this crisis – but not by doing the obvious thing – bringing it back in-house!”
 
Labour Group Leader, Cllr Barry Rawlings added:
 
“The cat is out of the bag with Cllr Zinkin’s comments – they know how bad Capita’s services are, yet they won’t admit to being wrong about their privatisation obsession. The pensions administration service is a mess, IT services are not good enough and there is wide dissatisfaction with their performance. Cllr Zinkin is right that Capita services “don’t work so well”, but he is wrong about the other thing – we have yet to be shown convincing evidence that substantial savings have been made.”

 

Barnet UNISON Capita briefings 2018-2019

#Capita:  Pensions “How bad does it have to get?” Briefing Number 5

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Pensions-back-in-house-1.pdf

 

#Capita: Southampton Council & the risk of delays Briefing Number 4.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Briefing-Number-4-Southampton-and.pdf

 

#Capita: Blackburn with Darwen Council: Why they ended the contract Capita Briefing Number 3.

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Briefing-Number-3-Blackburn-and-Darwen.pdf

 

#Capita: Sheffield Council “Why they decided to bring all services back in-house from Capita” Briefing Number 2

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Briefing-Number-2-Sheffield-Part-Two-1.pdf

 

#Capita: Sheffield September 2018 Briefing Number 1

http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/wp/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Briefing-Number-1-Sheffield-Part-One.pdf

Solidarity call out for Barnet Blogger Mr Reasonable 20 February

On Wednesday 20 February 2019 at 7pm Hendon Town Hall Mr Reasonable aka John Dix, locks horns with easyCouncil over their precarious finances.

His attempts to get Barnet Tory Councillors to see sense is legendary. Despite more and more evidence of financial mismanagement by Tory easyCouncil they refuse to learn lessons by Kicking Capita out of Barnet.

You can read his questions to the Tories below

Mr Reasonable: Questions for the Policy & Resources Committee on 20 February

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2019/02/questions-for-policy-resources.html

You can read just how badly Capita are failing here

Mr Reasonable: Capita are not performing well in Barnet – But look who is saying that.

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2019/02/capita-are-not-performing-well-in.html

Join Mr Reasonable Wednesday 20 February 2019 at 7pm Hendon Town Hall.

Capita fail to action fraud report recommendation

Capita have failed to action a key recommendation from the Grant Thornton report into a £2m fraud committed by a former Capita employee, according to a report discussed at Barnet Council’s Audit Committee (31 January).
Recommendation 15 seeks to ensure the Council’s payment system (BACS) is reviewed for the adequacy of controls over new suppliers where there is no purchase order, to make sure the Council is paying the correct bank accounts. This is a “High immediate” priority, as misuse of the BACS process and a lack of checking basic details such as bank accounts was a key reason the fraud was allowed to happen.
Grant Thornton, Barnet Council, and Capita all agreed to the action, but one Capita employee at a remote location disagreed and decided not to implement it. The news was met with disbelief from both Labour and Conservative Councillors.
Labour Audit spokesperson, Cllr Alison Moore said:
“There must be an investigation into how this was allowed to happen. We are 6 months on from the publication of the report, and our last update said this action had been submitted and verified for testing. It is completely unacceptable.”
Fellow Audit Committee member, Cllr Kathy Levine added:
“This is further evidence of how inept Capita are, and how they do not have proper processes in place: one local officer can override the instructions of the Council’s Director of Finance, the Council’s internal audit function, Grant Thornton, and even the Capita partnership managers. A Conservative Councillor called this the tail wagging the dog and they are very right.”
Ends.
Notes:
1. A copy of the update on the Grant Thornton recommendations can be found here (Agenda Item 7):

BAPS advice on completing Barnet Council’s Capita consultation (Strategic Contract Review)

Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) have produced this guide to help maximise residents participation in the Council consultation on Capita. To this end, we have provided some suggestions as to how you might want to complete the survey.

The online consultation can be found here. If you wish, you can review the questionnaire in a PDF format here before you fill it.

The consultation will close on the 15th of February. Please make sure you fill it. If you know of anyone who would prefer to fill a paper questionnaire please let us know.

BAPS is very much aware that not all Barnet residents are online and have subsequently asked that hard-copy versions are provided for residents to be able to complete. Furthermore, we have asked the Council to provide an Easy Read version. All of the hard–copy versions should be made available at all public buildings, including libraries, Barnet House and North London Business Park.

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