Sunday, 24 May 2015

Barnet payments to Capita - £250 to charity if Richard Cornelius can show me the evidence of how Capita are actually making the savings promised

Sorry to raise the issue of payments to Capita yet again but I still cannot reconcile how we can pay so much to Capita for a service that is supposed to be generating savings.

For the financial year 2014/15 Barnet paid Capita via the CSG and Re contracts £51,787,011.34. This should be set against a background of the service costing £53 million before it was outsourced. (Source the business case used at the meeting when the two contracts were awarded to Capita. For further details see this blog

Based on information supplied to me in February (see below) the contracted payments should have been £53,654,000 which is slightly more than what it cost before the service was outsourced. Now I have no corroborating evidence that these payment were ever specified because all the commercially sensitive elements of the contract are redacted and indeed there are numerous clauses relating to incentives and penalties which would have made publishing a single payments schedule almost impossible. What is also important to bear in mind is that in the schedule below it states that £14,933 million was paid for an interim service we we know cost less than £1 million to deliver as the period was less than a month before the main contract started. So what happened to the remaining £14 million?  I would also draw your attention to the lack of additional payments from 2015/16 till the end of the contract. Is this because there will be no additional payments or because Capita haven't billed it yet?

I have asked repeatedly to see the evidence of precisely what we are paying for and a detailed explanation of why the payments are so high. Whilst a few promises of evidence were made when the previous COO was in place, none actually materialised.

If Barnet Council are serious about openness then why not host an open day where they go through the contract in detail so that we can understand exactly what we are paying for. I would have thought it would have made sense for Capita to get involved with this, to work through the contract with interested citizens and to demonstrate clearly how much money they are saving.

So I hereby throw down a challenge to the Chief Executive Mr Travers, to Richard Cornelius and to Capita - host an open day, bring bloggers and critics in and show them what you are doing, how the contract is working in reality what money is being paid to whom and how much is really being saved - evidence is essential.  Indeed a few Conservative councillors might want to come along as well seeing as they voted for this contract. I know some of them privately had serious concerns about the contract but were worried about making those views public.

And to put my money where my mouth is, I will donate £250 to a charity of Richard Cornelius' choice if he makes this contract open day happen.

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