Set out below is an open letter to The Chief Executive and Leader of Barnet Council. This matter has been brought to the attention of the Barnet Bloggers but such is the concern that issues like this may get 'buried' because of the current outsourcing process, that we have taken the step of publishing this letter on our blogs.
Dear Mr Cornelius and Mr Walkley,
We would like to draw to your attention the following information, and ask you to respond to some questions on a matter that we consider to be of serious public concern.
We have reason to believe that a Private Company registered as FINANCE MATTERS FOR SCHOOLS LIMITED http://companycheck.co.uk/company/07814930
may have been formed with the intention of securing contracts with schools that currently purchase financial services from the Council.
We understand that all three Directors may be current employees of the Council.
First can you confirm that all three of these Directors are indeed Council employees?
If not then the rest of our questions are not applicable.
If this is indeed the case, we would like to ask the following questions:
- Are these individuals currently employed by the authority?
- If one or more of these Directors are Council employees, can you confirm that it is not a breach of any regulations for employees to set up a private company whilst still being paid by the Council that will deal directly with services directly associated with their current employment?
- Furthermore please confirm that they may continue to have access to confidential data, and that this would not secure unfair advantage over any other possible bidders for these services?
- Do you know how many Barnet schools have given notice that they are terminating their contracts with Barnet Council Financial Services?
- When did they give notice of termination?
- What reason did they give for termination?
- How many schools have signed contracts with FINANCE MATTERS FOR SCHOOLS LIMITED?
- Were any senior managers including the section 151 officer aware of this company
- Have there been public and private discussions amongst senior managers on the creation of this new company within the Council?
We understand that Financial Services to schools are included in the NSCSO One Barnet bundle of services.
It would seem extraordinary, therefore, to us as residents, that council staff could allegedly be openly touting for business during the Competitive Dialogue process, and we would ask you to confirm that an urgent investigation should take place, and that you can assure us that all four bidders will be informed that such an investigation is in progress.