Category Archives: Kick Out Capita!

End Capita in Barnet: Lobby the Council on Tuesday 11 December

Barnet council has just released the Grant Thornton review in response to an alleged fraud of £2million. One of its major findings is that: Our view of both contracts has identified a number of significant weaknesses which may have resulted in contractual breaches. We have identified and reported what we believe are fundamental weaknesses in budgetary control and financial accounting”.

John Burgess, Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary declares … 
“I am shocked but not surprised at the content of the GT review of both Capita contracts. Barnet UNISON predicted that service quality would suffer once the services were privatised …. The Council is currently preparing a review of both Capita contracts. It is my view that in light of the GT review, it is untenable that the Council could even consider allowing Capita to run any of their services again.”

John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor says … “The Grant Thornton (GT) review of the two Capita contracts in Barnet provides yet more evidence of the folly of privatisation of public services …  I fully support your campaign to #KickOutCapita from Barnet and bring services back in-house.”

Mr Reasonable writes … “Is this the end of Capita in Barnet? Grant Thornton’s report is a devastating critique of Capita’s dismal performance.”

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “This is incompetence of scandalous proportions, and looks like a breach of contract. Barnet Council must act to terminate these two contracts and take back control of Capita-run services.”

For more detailed information … 
Read Barnet Unison’s statement here and Mr Reasonable’s detailed examination of the Grant Thornton review here.

An open meeting of #KickOutCapita campaign and BAPS

With John Dix aka Mr Reasonable to explain and discuss the implications of the Grant Thornton report will be held on:

Tuesday 2 October 6.30 pm at the Greek Cypriot Centre, 2 Britannia Rd N12 9RU

Read the Grant Thornton auditors’ report and judge for yourself whether – after near bankrupting the council’s finances through their ideological choice of extreme outsourcing, with the results that are pointed out in this report – we shouldn’t expect some resignations or some heads to roll. We should think that at least Cllr Richard Cornelius and his deputy Cllr Daniel Thomas if not all the Conservative councillors who oversaw this shambles should resign if they have an ounce of integrity between them! Do Tory councillors have any integrity at all?

Barnet Labour call for termination of Capita contracts after fraud report suggests breach of contract

Following today’s publication of the audit report on the £2m Capita fraud case, Barnet Labour are calling for the termination of both Capita contracts with Barnet Council (CSG and Re Ltd).

They are also calling for the Leader of the Council, Cllr Richard Cornelius, and his Deputy Leader Cllr Dan Thomas to resign.

The damning report reveals major failings in financial controls within Capita that allowed the fraud to take place and have serious implications for the future of the Council.

The report outlines the failings of five financial safety nets, any one of which, had they been functioning effectively, would have prevented the fraud.

Failings identified as enabling the fraud include: the perpetrator being given inappropriate access to financial systems; insufficient control over the processing of transactions, which meant that 62 inappropriate payments were made without being challenged; a lack of robust challenge and scrutiny at an operational level; and insufficient oversight by the Council.

Shockingly, the fraud was revealed not by the Council or Capita, but by suspicions raised by the perpetrator’s bank.

These failures show insufficient oversight by the Council, despite repeated calls from the Labour Group for tighter contract management.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Barry Rawlings said: “This is incompetence of scandalous proportions, and looks like a breach of contract. Barnet Council must act to terminate these two contracts and take back control of Capita-run services.

“The Council are clearly not able to manage this kind of commercial relationship, and Capita have demonstrated they are not able to run key services to a basic standard.

“Cllrs Cornelius and Thomas must also take responsibility for what is ultimately a failure of their ideology driven policy. Their misplaced faith in Capita has ensured that the Council has insufficient financial oversight of outsourced services. And as they are responsible for the council’s finances and regeneration schemes, this fraud happened directly under their noses.

“Barnet Labour Councillors repeatedly warned of the risk of outsourcing so many services to the same organisation. Time after time this has been proved right.

“The fraud case is yet another incident in a never-ending saga of financial mismanagement. Barnet residents deserve better.”

Ends.
Notes: A copy of the Grant Thornton report can be found here: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/…/finance…/Financial-controls.html

Barnet Labour Group statement on the Resources Committee

Barnet Council has agreed that terminating the two Capita contracts will be fully tested and considered in a Full Business Case looking at bringing Capita-run services in-house. The decision was made at the Policy & Resources Committee on 19 July which discussed options to realign the Council’s relationship with Capita.

A report in the name of the Leader of the Council recommended ‘Option 2’ – preparing a Full Business Case to insource a limited number of Capita-run services such as Highways, Estates, HR and Finance.

Barnet’s Labour councillors proposed that ‘Option 3’  – which would bring the partnership with Capita to an end – should be included in the Full Business Case to ensure that councillors had all the evidence and flexibility to make a final decision. This was conceded by the Conservative councillors.

Full statement.

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.”

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