Sunday, 7 December 2014

Barnet pay Capita £5.35 million in October

Barnet Supplier payments for October are out and the usual suspect feature large.

Capita were paid £5,353,300.61 on both the CSG contract and the Re contract. I still cannot understand how we can be paying so much money to Capita when this contract is supposed to be saving us money.

To add insult to injury, Specialist Computer Centres were paid £380,007.32 for software licenses and support. That is in addition to the £16.1 million we paid up front to Capita to install new computer systems.

Comensura who provide agency and interim staff were paid £982,152.64 in October, a huge amount given that so many staff have been made redundant and the latest plans are to make a further 2,500 staff redundant leaving only 332 staff to run the whole of Barnet.

North London Waste Authority were paid £1,887,386  which again seems a great deal considering the council spent £11 million last year to introduce the new Blue Bins.

Barnet Lighting Services, the street lighting PFI was paid £510,195.76 a shocking waste of money when you understand that the key driver was to improve street lighting yet 26,000 of the 28,150 street lights have been dimmed.

Conway Aecom who carry out road repairs were paid £977,453.13 in October. I don't know if it was them who resurfaced Crescent Road in East Barnet but whoever did it di a lousy job with recessed gratings and manhole covers meaning that when you drive down the road it is a bit like going down a cobbled lane. With a "thin client" where contractors monitor themselves poor service is perhaps an inevitability.

Eversheds, the lawyers were paid £167,029.83 so plenty of money for them but not for the libraries.

Almost 4 years ago in January 2011 I entered a pledge on the Barnet Council Pledgebank website which was as follows:

“I will pledge to give up 4 hours of my time every month to scrutinise and challenge all invoices over £10,000 to help the Council reduce unnecessary spending so long as five other people will make a similar time commitment to sit on the panel and that Barnet Council will genuinely participate in the process and listen to the advice and opinions given.”

The pledge still holds good - someone needs to scrutinize the payments if we are to drive down costs.

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