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!”
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;