Barnet outsources back office to Capita – planning next?

Barnet Council’s Cabinet has confirmed Capita as preferred bidder to run the council’s back office services from 2013.

The £320 million contract will run for ten years and, say the council, will generate savings to the taxpayer of £125 million over that time. Capita will also make an £8million pound upfront investment in technology to improve council back office services when the company takes up the contract. It could eventually see the outsourcing of planning administration.

Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of Barnet Council said: “The combination of a saving to the taxpayer of a million pounds a month, alongside an upfront investment in improving the service makes this a very, very good deal for the Barnet taxpayer.”

Capita’s upfront investment will provide improved Information Technology and telephone support, and offer every resident a single ‘Amazon’ style account with the council that they can use to link a range of council services, from parking permits to allotment fees.

Capita were selected after an 18 month tender process which saw Capita and BT compete in a final competitive tender.

The contract will be worth circa £32 million per annum and account for 11 per cent of the council’s spending.  Approximately 500 posts will transfer to work for Capita.

The contract with Capita is part of a council wide change programme, One Barnet, which has seen several alterations in the way the council runs services, and has provoked a number of protests from Barnet residents.

As well as bringing recycling in-house, the council has set up a council owned trading company to provide some adult social care and housing advice services, the music service will become a registered charity, and early support for families with multiple needs is being delivered by a local charity. Legal services are now provided through a joint service with Harrow Council and the council will early next year decide on a potential outsourcing of regulatory services including the administration of the planning service.

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