Half a dozen Barnet residents from the Barnet Alliance went along on Tuesday 29 November to the Capita sponsored conference on outsourcing. Andrew Travers, Barnet Council’s deputy chief exec, was due to speak about the One Barnet outsourcing programme. We went to challenge the version of truth given by Travers.

  • Would he, we wondered, mention the fact that the One Barnet Programme has never been put before residents for their approval?
  • Would he mention the fact that the council workforce is taking industrial action over the terms of any eventual transfer to the private sector?
  • Would he mention the fact that residents have been banned from speaking about One Barnet at the council-run residents’ forums?
  • Would he mention the fact that Capita, who were hosting the conference, are also bidding for £750 million worth of business from Barnet Council?

If he were not going to mention it, we thought we must. We gave out leaflets to people attending the conference. We were not allowed to go inside, or even to cross the forecourt. The security guards would not deliver our request to meet with Andrew Travers to discuss our concerns.

The conference was a travesty of democracy. Is it right that the chiefs of outsourcing companies should have such privileged and unimpeded access to those at the top of local authorities who make the decisions about whether to outsource or not? We don’t think so!

The local Times series has written a report of our protest. Read it here.