Trade unions representing workers in Barnet council have commissioned a large amount of analysis to help them respond to the council’s plans to outsource delivery of council services. A comprehensive list of documents is available here.
In November 2010, they commissioned the ‘One Barnet critique’, which analyses the One Barnet Framework report to Barnet council cabinet (29 November 2010) and the accompanying presentation. This important document is available here. It includes an assessment of the risks involved in the One Barnet plan. Some of these are:
• …the Council is abandoning options appraisals and business cases and moving straight to procurement. The Transport and Parking services reports set a precedent, because no options appraisal is planned and a business case will be prepared after the formal procurement process has commenced.
• Barnet council made similar short cuts in the privatisation of residential care homes to Catalyst/Fremantle, which has subsequently led to a multi-million additional payment to the contractor and large wage cuts for staff. The Council should learn the lessons from this and other contracts before embarking on the same process.
• The Framework will mean that the Council will be locked into several large long-term contracts that may be designed to be flexible but at a price….
• The One Barnet Framework contains broad statements that imply everyone is a winner from the transformation programme, which is most unlikely. There are always losers from outsourcing and privatisation.