Thursday 10 November 2016

CSG (Capita) 3 year Contract Review

Next Tuesday the Performance and Contract Management Committee meet to rubber stamp a ringing endorsement of the Capita contract. I say that on the basis that even before the committee has met, Barnet has published a press release here which includes the following statement from Cllr Finn:

I’d like to thank members of the cross-party review working group and members of the public who expressed their views. I’m pleased that, three years into the contract with Capita to supply the council’s back office and customer services, this review confirms that it has been a success.  

"With council budgets under significant pressure, the fact that these services are now costing the Barnet taxpayer £6 million less each year to deliver is substantial. But I’m also pleased that Capita is meeting the agreed performance targets in the contract and that user satisfaction is going up.  We have set challenging performance targets and there is more work to be done in certain areas, but so far this has been a good deal for the borough.”

What he doesn't mention is the £25.6 million already paid to Capita for additional services outside the contract nor the £39 million they are going to pay Capita for additional services between now and 2020. That is a total of just under £65 million of additional services payments to Capita which they do not have to tender for but is automatically handed to them.

I have submitted some questions to the committee which are set out below so we will have to see what responses I receive.
  1. In Appendix B it states that “Monitoring of contractual commitments forms part of the regular monitoring undertaken by the Commercial team, in conjunction with the Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) for each service. Progress is recorded in a tracker spreadsheet”. Have members of this committee received a copy of this tracker spreadsheet and can a copy be made public?
  2. In Appendix B it states that the employee survey carried out is company wide rather than on a contractual basis. Does this mean that there is no staff satisfaction survey specifically for Barnet staff and if so why has this been signed off as complete when it provides Barnet with no specific information about staff satisfaction in the Barnet contract?
  3. In Appendix B it acknowledges that the Leadership Panel is not delivered. Given that the role of the Leadership Panel was seen as a key component of the three year review why has this issue still not been addressed?
  4. Who prepared Appendix C, a Barnet Council employee or a CSG (Capita) employee?
  5. In Appendix C what reassurance have you received that the £25.6 million that you have paid Capita for additional services represents value for money and as stated on page 7 “paying less than we would in the open market” given that all these additional service are automatically given to Capita without any market testing?
  6. What oversight is in place to ensure that the £39 million you are going to pay to Capita for additional services over the next 4 years is value for money?
  7. Why are we paying an additional £9 million on IT when IT is part of the CSG contract and that Barnet paid Capita upfront for capital investment in IT?
  8. Given that we have had 4 different IT directors in 3 years how can we be reassured that this additional spend is essential and that it will not change again when another IT director is appointed?
  9. Why are comparisons quoted as a percentage of total spend when work is volume related not cost related?
  10. On Page 6 of Appendix C what is the relevance of the capital schemes comparison?
  11. On Page 6 of Appendix C there is a comparison with £7.1 million paid to Impower/Agilisys. Given that Councillors authorised a spend of “circa £2 million” for this contract do you think this a suitable basis for comparison?
  12. On transformation project Appendix C states that contractual rate cards are 11% below the rates that would be paid to equivalent companies. What tangible evidence supports that statement?
  13. In Appendix 4 the chart showing in year council tax collection rates appears to show rates are lower in 2015/16 than they were in 2012/13. Is this correct?