Barnet Alliance for Public Services
PRESS RELEASE - FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 16 July 2013
After one and a half days in the court of appeal Master of the Rolls Lord Dyson, Lord Justice Davies and Lady Justice Gloster retired to consider their judgment in the case of Nash v Barnet. After urging by Barnet counsel, the Master of the Rolls said they will try to deliver their judgment by the end of September, but did not guarantee it.
Mr Nigel Giffin QC, acting for Maria Nash, refuted the council’s defence that it had consulted residents about the One Barnet Programme of privatisation and that the legal challenge was brought out of time. He argued that the council could have consulted residents on their intention to outsource the majority of services at any time from 2008 on, but that it was reasonable for Maria Nash to wait for the final decision on 6 December 2012 before challenging their action, because only then would the council have breached its legal obligation to consult.
There were looks of astonishments in the public gallery when Ms Rose QC, the counsel for Barnet, in claiming that the council held an extensive consultation about the One Barnet Programme, cited Barnet Alliance’s newspapers as the source of information about the programme.
However, Mr Giffin reminded the court of the two principles of consultation – (1) telling people you are consulting, informing them of the issue, and asking for their view, and (2) taking their responses into account when taking decisions. He then referred to Lord Justice Underhill’s decision that Barnet had failed to consult.
Barnet Council had agreed not to sign contracts with Capita or Capita Symonds until the conclusion of the legal process.
Notes to the editor
1. Barnet Council’s One Barnet programme includes the letting of two large contracts: Capita has been chosen to run the New Support and Customer Services Organisation (NSCSO) contract with Barnet Council, worth at least £320 million over 10 years and advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union as worth between £600 and £750 million. A second contract covering Development and Regulatory Services (DRS) worth £275 million over 10 years is being awarded to Capita Symonds.
2. Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) supported Maria Nash’s legal challenge. Maria is not a member of BAPS. For interviews with Maria concerning the Judicial Review please contact Gerald Shamash, tel. 07973 659102.
3. Maria Nash applied for a Judicial Review of Barnet Council’s ‘One Barnet’ privatisation programme, which will see the bulk of council services transferred to Capita. Maria lost the first stage of her legal challenge on a technicality, but an appeal is due to be heard on 15-16 July. The judge at the first hearing, Lord Justice Underhill, reviewing the evidence, concluded: “the Council never set out to consult about its outsourcing programme at all.”
4. Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) is a coalition of residents, trade unionists and community campaigners in the London Borough of Barnet, formed to defend and improve public services.
Contact: Barnet Alliance tel: 07534 407703 / 07446 292994 – http://barnetalliance.org; [email protected]; @barnetalliance