Public Services > Local Government

Barnet set to agree Capita contract tomorrow

Charlotte Jee Published 05 December 2012

Cabinet meeting expected to give Capita go-ahead to run NSCSO project


A special meeting of Barnet Council's cabinet tomorrow evening is expected to approve Capita's bid to run a number of council services.

Capita will be responsible for delivering the London Borough of Barnet's new support and customer service organisation (NSCSO), and as such will have responsibility over a number of service areas, including the council's call centre, finance and payroll, IT infrastructure and support, customer services and corporate procurement.

The contract is expected to save £125.4m over its 10 year term, on annual income budgets for the relevant services of £11.9m per annum. Capita has committed to guarantee "standards and levels across all NSCSO services, whilst at the same time reducing the operating costs of these services by at least 45% in real terms over the period of the partnership", according to council documents.

Capita has also said that it will make an initial up-front investment of £8m in areas such as information technology (computer hardware and software) and customer services.

The contract, which will come into effect in April 2013, is worth a total of £320m over its full term, compared to the £600m-£750m value advertised in the relevant original OJEU notice published in June 2011 .

According to the full business case, 46 jobs will be lost in the first year of the contract, with approximately 180 employees due to be made redundant over the contract's lifetime.

197 jobs are expected to relocate beyond Barnet to one of Capita's UK offices. Potential locations include Southampton, Bromley, Swindon, Sheffield, Belfast and Chippenham, amongst others.

Welcoming the plans, Barnet Council leader Richard Cornelius said, "these proposals aren't just about saving the taxpayer money. They will also give residents a better service.

"Capita will make an up-front investment of several million pounds in order to improve and develop our customer services operation. At the same time we will have contractual commitments to improve the services compared to current council performance."

However, the deals have met with significant opposition, both from local residents and opposition councillors.

Following the announcement of Capita's preferred bidder status for the NSCSO contract, Labour opposition leader councillor Alison Moore said, "There is no guarantee that this contract will make any savings or deliver better services, and we know there are other places where this has gone disastrously wrong and where councils have had to bring those services back in house at great cost to the council tax payer.

"The business case has not been properly made and there has been very little scrutiny allowed of the business plan - if this contract does not deliver it could end up causing real misery for local people."

The council is also due to announce the preferred bidder for another contract, titled the 'Development and Regulatory Services project', will also run for 10 years and will see either Capita or EC Harris gain a £275m contract to run the council's transport and environmental health services.

According to the council, the preferred bidder will be announced in January and services will move to the new provider in May 2013.

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