Tuesday, 6 November 2012

One Barnet Scrutiny - Too Little Too Late

In a late addition to the Council papers for tonight's meeting there is a paper setting out the additional scrutiny meetings that will review the DRS and NSCSO One Barnet contract decision. Sadly this has come two years too late and two additional scrutiny meetings for each is simple not enough on a contract valued at £1 billion over ten years. Hopefully the replacement of Brian Coleman as Chair of the Budget and Performance Overview & Scrutiny Committee will at least allow a modicum of debate. However, by this stage the decision will have already been taken by senior officers and external consultants and these meetings will simply be a rubber stamping exercise.

Based on the questions and answers for tonight's Council meeting it looks like Richard Cornelius is still going to try and press ahead with this highly risky and discredited process even though the evidence suggesting it is likely to be a failure is overwhelming. He says in response to one question (q37) that there are lots of other local authorities who have outsourced  services and that is perfectly correct. However, there is no other Local Authority that has successfully outsourced so many services together on the scale of One Barnet and that is why it is so risky.

Tomorrow I will publish an 8 point plan to deliver exactly the same savings as the two outsourcing contracts but without any of the associated risks - just prudent management. That will show that with a little more common sense and without the help of expensive consultants there most definitely is a plan B.

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