Thursday 1 November 2012

Barnet Council explains why it is not proceeding with supercontract

From Barnet Council Press Office:
Barnet Council’s Cabinet is to discuss proposals for the future delivery of waste collection, street cleaning and parks maintenance.

Under the proposals, to be presented to the council’s Cabinet on 7 November, the collection of recycling, currently outsourced to May Gurney, would be run directly by the council from November 2013. The service would be merged with the council’s in-house waste collection service reducing costs to the taxpayer. The council refers to this as the “in-house with stretch” option.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council said: ‘We believe that there is an opportunity to both drive down costs and improve efficiency by merging these services. This is the “in-house with stretch” option.
“In particular our planned NSCSO project will invest in improved technology and customer information and we will be able to improve these critical services to residents.

“I have always said that the One Barnet programme is about running the most efficient and locally effective service we can. We want the best for Barnet.

“We did explore in detail working with several neighbouring authorities who already outsource this service, but felt that in this instance the “in-house with stretch”, working very closely with our NSCSO provider to improve the services, is the best option. It is actually the investment in innovation and technology that the NSCSO offers that makes the in-house option feasible.

“Rising landfill taxes mean that our real challenge in our waste and recycling service isn’t simply to reduce the council’s costs of collection, it is to work with residents to increase the amount that they recycle. We see a key role in our new customer services operation in doing that."

One Barnet is the council’s change programme aimed at creating a council able to face the financial and other challenges facing local government over the next decade.  The most high profile elements of the programme are two proposed outsourcing projects, New Support and Customer Services Organization (NSCSO) will outsource back office functions, and Development and Regulatory Services.

However over the last year the council has also merged its legal service with Harrow Council, set up a local authority trading company (LATC) to deliver elements of social care and housing advice, and committed to moving its music service into a charitable trust. The programme in predicted to make savings of £111million over a ten year period.

Cllr Cornelius said “We are entering much more diverse world of public services where every council will be looking for a range of options to best deliver services to residents. In many ways the straight ideological approach of public or privately owned will break down and give a much more complex relationship between different council commissioned services. For Barnet this may well mean outsourcing payroll while, for the near future at least, having waste collection in-house. Each authority will differ.”

Barnet Council has previously announced plans to revise its waste collection services from late 2013, moving to ‘co-mingled waste’ to encourage residents to recycle more.  The council’s membership of the North West London Waste Authority is unchanged by these proposals.

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