Barnet Council has won a High Court battle to proceed with its One Barnet change programme which it hopes will save close to £150 million over the next ten years.
Two elements of the programme, contracting services company Capita to run council back-office services, and a proposed joint venture between the council and a private sector partner to run development and regulatory services, have proved controversial, and were challenged in the High Court last month.
Lord Justice Underhill ruled in favour of the council and dismissed the application for judicial review.
Commenting on the judgement, Councillor Richard Cornelius, Leader of the Council said: “We won and our opponents lost. We can now get on with making budget savings of £12million a year in our back-office costs.”
“Lord Justice Underhill could not have been clearer in ruling the application for judicial review as out of time and in accepting that the council had met equalities criteria. I hope the applicant and her lawyers will carefully consider the wise words of the Judge before embarking upon an appeal and incurring even more costs that will have to be met from public funds. This judicial review has already cost the council in excess of £300,000.”
The applicant’s legal costs are also being met from the public purse as she is legally aided.
Cllr Cornelius continued: “While ruling the application for judicial review out of time, Lord Justice Underhill said that he would otherwise have dismissed the applicant’s claims that the Council had not satisfied its statutory equalities duties or its fiduciary duty as a responsible local authority.”