Someone kindly reminded me of a report published back in September 2010 when Barnet Council asked their expensive consultants to look at what would be the best structure for the One Barnet (FutureShape as it was still called then) project. You can read the report here. This is what they said about Joint Ventures which, on Friday, became the chosen option for Barnet:
Private Sector Joint Venture:
Price: Whilst capable of delivering a low price this would be a costly option to implement ‐ the joint
venture procurement being more complex than a straightforward partnering arrangement. Joint
ventures are best suited to situations where there is significant potential and appetite to develop
third party business.
Flexibility & risk: Where third party business is a more secondary goal it may be possible to build
many of the benefits that a JV can provide, such as gain sharing and a reasonable degree of flexibility,
into a more conventional partnership contract. It is likely to provide a good degree of flexibility due
to the control the Council could retain.
Performance: Whilst performance can be high in joint ventures there is a risk that the focus on
commercial goals and development of new business can be at the cost of service delivery.
Citizens & stakeholders: JVs have the potential to enshrine old operating assumptions, which can
limit the scope for transformation and therefore more radical change is less likely.
Pace: Due to the complexity in developing the arrangement this option is likely to take a relatively long time to implement.
Here is the Scoring Matrix they included in the report:
Note that Joint Venture scores lower than Strategic partnership or Incremental Partnership and only just ahead of a management buyout or consulting led solution.
It is also interesting to note that the outsourcing programme is now running 14 months behind schedule and has gone more than £1 million over budget on the consultancy costs.
The One Barnet programme is dead and the sooner Councillors accept it and start running the day to day services of the council cost effectively and efficiently the better for every single resident.