Thursday, 8 September 2011

One Barnet Outsourcing - An Alternative View Point

I see today that Barnet Council has selected the shortlisted companies to bid for the New Support and Customer Service Organisation who are as follows:

Avarto UK
Capita Business Services Ltd
CSC Computer Sciences UK
HCL Axon (consortium)

Now the Council says that staff will be protected when services are outsourced through TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment) so from my rather simplistic view the big change that will happen is within the management.

All the reports I have read recently all seem to point deficiencies in senior management. So my question to Barnet councillors is therefore why don't you simply employ one of these companies on a management contract. Keep the staff as council employees and outsource the senior management. This way you can offer a much shorter contract, three - five years instead of the proposed ten years and base the management fee directly on their performance both financial and quality. The benefit to the council is that there is no huge transfer of staff, if the outsource companies fail to deliver the benefits then you can get rid of them and replace them quickly because all the people who deliver the frontline services remain employees. The other big benefit of this strategy is that it gives councillors a lot more flexibility to change, amend and adapt budgets and services as circumstances change. From what I can see these outsourcing companies bring new management ideas and "intellectual capital" to use a buzz phrase. In which case why go through all the pain disruption and cost of transferring all the staff when its actually the management you are after. Perhaps it would help to save the fortune that is currently being spent on high priced consultants and lawyers dreaming up these exceptionally complex and largely untested solutions.

Councillors, outsourcing the senior management offers you the opportunity to bring about real change whilst reducing the risk should the outsourcer fail to deliver and retaining the organisation's "corporate memory" with all those skilled middle and lower level management and frontline staff who deliver services to the public day in and day out.


  1. What you are saying is "dip your toe in the water" of outside contracts.

    What they are doing instead is jumping into the deep end.

    And few of the members and officers will be around when, and if, it all does a Railtrack on them.

  2. Go to the top of the class John de bono Dix. A great piece of lateral thinking. 10/10

    Of course to my even simpler mind, get rid of all consultants and get the existing managers to manage or get rid of them.