Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Barnet may opt out of public realm 'supercontract'

On Wednesday 7 November 2012 Barnet Council Cabinet Resources Committee is considering a recommendation to support the One Barnet in-house Street Scene Project. The One Barnet Street Scene Project includes the following services:
·         Refuse, organic waste and recycling collections
·         Waste strategy
·         Street cleansing
·         Greenspaces
·         Highways operational team

Earlier this month the Brent Executive approved a joint 4 borough procurement for a contract of up to 16 years  which would have covered the first four of the above items. Barnet was one of these partner boroughs, another,  Richmond recently dropped out. If the recommendation is approved by Barnet Council only Brent and Hounslow would remain in the 'super public realm' contract.

A proposed  Brent and Hounslow joint appointment of a Public Health Director was withdrawn before the Brent Executive meeting after encountering opposition from within the Labour Group.

John Burgess Barnet UNISON Branch Secretary said: “This is fantastic news for residents and 700 council workers delivering these services. I want to take the opportunity to applaud the Council for at last recognising the potential of in-house services to be able to compete with the private sector. We are now calling for the Council to halt the current outsourcing plans for the other two contracts (1), worth in excess of a Billion Pounds public money. We are asking for the Council to work with staff, unions and the community to develop efficient, innovative services for Barnet residents and ensure savings go back into the pockets of the council tax payers.” 

(1)  The first One Barnet project known as New Support Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO) will be for back office services such a Finance, Revenues & Benefits, Estates, IT, HR & Payroll etc, it is estimated to be worth up to £750 million.
It involves approximately 700 council workers. There is a high probability that the winning bidder will not deliver these services from Barnet so there is a high risk of significant redundancies at the moment of transfer.
This contract will be awarded to either Capita or BT at the Barnet Council Cabinet Resources Committee on Thursday 6 December 2012.
The second One Barnet project is known as Development & Regulatory Services (DRS) which includes the following services:
Trading Standards & Licensing, Land Charges, Planning & Development, Building Control & Structures, Environmental Health, Highways Strategy, Highways Network Management, Highways Traffic & Development, Highways Transport & Regeneration, Strategic Planning & Regeneration, Cemeteries & Crematoria.
This contract, worth up to £275 million pounds, will be awarded to Capita Symonds or EC Harris at the Barnet Council Cabinet Resources Committee on 8 January 2013.

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