May 022013
 

On 1st May the local Times (Hendon and Finchley, Barnet and Potters Bar, Edgeware and Mill Hill) newspaper published a Headline on the Barnet case taken by Maria Nash against the Capita contract for the privatisation of Barnet local authority services.  It said:

“One Barnet campaigner Maria Nash handed more taxpayer funding to continue High Court fight”

 This was a scandalous and pejorative statement written by the chief reporter Chris Hewitt. Even the local Times may be Tory Blue , but such headlines are surely an insult to balanced reporting everywhere. Nowhere did this piece state what the problems with the outsourcing would be, nowhere did it state the facts of the issue, or the problems outsourcing of council services had brought previously. Instead preferring to deal with sensationalist vitriol on an exercise of democracy, in an era where democracy is harder and harder to find. The piece went on to say:

‘A campaigner fighting Barnet Council’s multi-million pound outsourcing scheme has been granted more taxpayer funding to continue her legal battle…Following a three-day hearing in March, which cost the taxpayer more than £500,000…’

The piece can be seen in full at the link below

http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/10392566.One_Barnet_campaigner_handed_more_taxpayer_funding/?ref=twtrec

 What this is really about

Well this could be about tax payers money in bailing out yet another private company, should the worst happen and Capita do take over services. It will leave the people of Barnet in a worse position than now with social care provision, cut backs and based on Capita’s previous form : increasing debts. DPAC applauds Maria Nash and Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS).  As we have previously  said:

“DPAC fully supports the campaign to oppose the privatisation of public services in Barnet.

What is happening in Barnet is important to everyone because Barnet is only just the beginning and if this is allowed to happen in one area it could happen anywhere.

Disabled people have fought long and hard for public sector duties to promote our rights, and privatisation will cynically evade responsibilities towards equality and inclusion.

Where private companies are squeezing profit out of already under funded services the result can only be sub standard services. For disabled people who rely on services that means people’s lives on the line.

Disabled people have seen the care that private companies have for us from our experiences with the Work Capability Assessment where they compete for contracts to profit out of pushing disabled people into poverty.

In Banstead last week a disabled older woman unable to leave her bed died after her outsourced care agency was shut down and she was left completely without the support her life depended on.

Selling Barnet public services to Capita will mean more tragic stories and less accountability. It must be opposed.

We ask you to complain to the writer of the piece and to the newspaper itself.

Chief reporter
Chris Hewett
07824 530136
chewett@london.newsquest.co.uk @TimesChewit1987

Group editor
Martin Buhagiar
mbuhagiar@london.newsquest.co.uk @TimesIndyEditor

Letters to the Editor

Email:

timesletters@london.newsquest.co.uk

Letters should be as short as possible and will be considered for publication only if accompanied by your name and address (anonymity can be requested). Letters may appear in print and online, where Newsquest’s internet policy applies.

May be we could send Chris and co some real facts on Barnet too- see the brilliant video below

 https://dpac.uk.net/2013/02/urgent-stop-captia-10-years-plus-contract-for-council-services-in-barnet/

Read BAPs press release

https://dpac.uk.net/2013/04/one-barnet-judicial-review-the-fight-against-undemocratic-outsourcing-goes-on/

Or read what Phillip Rackham says

https://dpac.uk.net/2013/03/barnet-springif-you-dont-fight-back-you-dont-get-anywhere-interview-with-philip-rackham/

Finally please support BAPs at

http://barnetalliance.org/

 

 

 

Apr 302013
 

Barnet Alliance for Public Services

PRESS RELEASE – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 29 April 2013

‘One Barnet’ Judicial Review – the fight against undemocratic outsourcing goes on!

Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) supported Barnet resident Maria Nash’s application for

Judicial Review of Barnet Council’s ‘One Barnet’ outsourcing programme and so, naturally, is disappointed at Mr Justice Nicholas Underhill’s judgment announced today. The Barnet Alliance will support Maria should she decide to appeal.

We understand that Barnet Council has agreed not to go ahead with the NSCSO contract for the short time it takes for the opportunity for appeal to be explored. We welcome this sensible delay.

During this hearing Barnet Council relied on the technical grounds that the JR application had not been made in time. Their defences against the substantive grounds for the application – particularly their failure to consult residents on what is an enormous change to council services and to the way they are governed – were extremely weak and we feel that the arguments aired during the hearing and reflected in the judgment given today vindicate the decision to apply for JR.

The judgment finds that “the Council never set out to consult about its outsourcing programme at all”. He says: “if the application for judicial review had been made in time I would have held that the Council had not complied with its obligations under section 3 (2) of the 1999 Act in respect of the decisions taken in 2010/11 to outsource the performance of its functions and services, covered by the proposed

NSCSO and DRS contracts.”

The legal route is just one way to oppose One Barnet: Barnet Alliance’s campaign has included marches, petitions, lobbies, questions at Council meetings, and more. Despite today’s setback, Barnet Alliance’s campaign against One Barnet will continue. BAPS coordinator Tirza Waisel said:

“The One Barnet programme continues to be a disaster for Barnet. The consultant spend is enormous, there are no discernible savings yet, Council staff morale is rock-bottom, and jobs are hemorrhaging out of the borough  this decision gives the green light for the Council to sign the NSCSO contract with Capita which will see up to 400 local jobs transferred to Capita centres across the UK. In the case of Your Choice Barnet, jobs have been degraded to the detriment of vulnerable service users. This is just the start. If the looked-for savings from One Barnet do not materialise, there will be even more cuts to the vital services that Barnet residents rely on. Barnet residents simply cannot afford the One Barnet programme.

“We are encouraged that the court has agreed with us that Barnet Council have failed to consult residents over measures that add up to the wholesale remodelling of local government. Today’s judgment, although a setback, fundamentally changes very little. We will support Maria Nash if she decides to appeal, but, in any case, our campaign against One Barnet outsourcing and for democratically accountable public services will continue because it has to  our fight is just and goes on!”

[ENDS]

Notes for editors

1.Barnet Council’s One Barnet programme includes the letting of two large contracts: Capita has

Barnet Alliance for Public Services

been chosen to run the New Support and Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO) contract with Barnet Council, worth at least £320 million over 10 years and advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union as worth between £600 and £750 million. A second contract covering Development and Regulatory Services (DRS) worth £275 million over 10 years is being bid for by Capita Symonds and EC Harris.

2.Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS), formed to defend and improve public services, supported Maria Nash’s legal challenge. Maria is not a member of BAPS.

Contact: Barnet Alliance tel: 07534 407703 – http://barnetalliance.org;

Barnetalliance4publicservices@gmail.com; @barnetalliance

Mar 122013
 

VIGIL to support the ONE BARNET legal challenge

Tuesday 19th March, 9.30am

Royal Courts of Justice, The Strand, London, WC2A 2ll.

Please join us outside the Royal Courts of Justice to show solidarity and support with disabled Barnet resident Maria Nash who is challenging Barnet Council’s decision to outsource a large group of public services without properly consulting Barnet residents.

Barnet Council is effectively selling off their public services to Capita, a private company in a single contract for a minimum of 10 years, putting the quality of services at risk as profit becomes the over-riding priority. Under the proposals customer services will for example be delivered from call centres in other parts of the UK that won’t have local knowledge or connections. There are many concerns about the impact on the local economy, about risks that the promised savings will not materialise leading to further cuts to services, about the ability of the council to accurately and properly monitor services once outsourced, and about the loss of democracy the entire procedure represents.

We are already seeing the failure of the One Barnet programme as staff working with disabled people through the ‘Your Choice Barnet’ trading company are having their terms and conditions slashed because the enterprise has not delivered the profits it was forecast to. This is what happens when profit is put before people yet Barnet Council is pressing ahead with its plans.

What is happening in Barnet is important to all of us because where Barnet leads in selling off our services other local authorities will follow.

For more information about what is happening in Barnet go to: http://barnetalliance.org/

For information about the vigil please contact: barnetalliance4publicservices@gmail.com                            07534-407703