Thursday 14 February 2019

Capita are not performing well in Barnet - But look who is saying that.

On Monday, Barnet Council published the latest performance data. It is not easy to read or understand and encompasses a range of performance targets. However there were 10 performance targets that caught my eye. These are the User Satisfaction and Commissioner Satisfaction targets. Now these are 'Users' are in fact council users of the IT, HR, Finance, Procurement and Estate services all provided by Capita. The 'Commissioners' are the senior managers within the council who are responsible for commissioning and monitoring the services from Capita.
Last year Capita failed to meeting user and commissioner performance targets and were forced to pay Barnet £399,513.29 in what they call service credits, a sort of fine for poor performance. This was in addition to service credits of £67,935 for failing to meet resident KPI's.
So this year I was expecting to see a change as promises were made to improve performance. However it didn't come as any great surprise that when I looked at the figures they didn't live up to the promises.

As you can see from the table above nine of the ten satisfaction ratings were classified as red, as in failing, and one classified as amber. Compared to last year, seven out of the ten satisfaction ratings are actually worse than last year. This tells me that Capita's performance isn't getting better, it is getting worse. Most alarmingly is the fall in Commissioner Satisfaction on the finance function which has fallen by 31% since last year. Finance is a business critical function - if we don't get good quality, accurate and timely financial information it becomes almost impossible to make clear and informed decisions on how the council is run. I have raised the issue of poor quality financial data on numerous occasions and I think it is still a massive problem. No doubt the fact that the financial function allowed the £2 million fraud to go unnoticed with 62 false transactions which only came to light when the fraudsters bank thought something was amiss and called the council. We also had the financial black hole which didn't come to light until after the elections in May last year.

There will be a response to say that Barnet are planning to bring back in house the finance function and HR but some elements of the finance payments will be left with Capita. In addition Estates, IT/IS, and Procurement are going to remain with Capita in the short to medium term and may well stay with Capita for the remaining 4.5 years of the contract (plus a further five years of the contract extension).

So next time someone says how well Capita are performing tell them they are not and that the Council's own senior managers are saying that.

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