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Barnet considers taking back Capita contract to boost service performance

Barnet Council is considering taking back in-house a series of contracts currently outsourced to private giant Capita after identifying services where performance improvement is required.

It has today published a report which proposes undertaking a full review of its partnership with the company in order to potentially realign their relationship— in light of some services not delivering good enough quality and value for money.

The report proposes a range of services to be returned to the council, including finance, strategic HR, management of land and property, highways, regeneration, strategic planning, and cemeteries and crematoriums. Another 17 services would stay with Capita under current plans, including revenue & benefits, planning applications, IT and customer services.

According to Barnet, the review reflects its “ongoing commitment to ensuring service delivery arrangements are as effective and efficient as possible.”

Jonathan Prew, managing director of local public services at Capita, explained that the proposed review is an opportunity to “respond to changing circumstances and needs that have evolved over the last five years to ensure that a future partnership is focused on providing services that will deliver best value for residents and all stakeholders.”

Barnet currently has two major contracts with Capita, one to deliver back-office services and another for development and regulatory services. While this partnership has resulted in “significant financial savings” since it started in 2013, there are other services where performance improvement is needed, Barnet said.

Cllr Richard Cornelius, leader of the local authority, said: “Our priority is to deliver good quality, value for money services to our residents. Many things are working well and it’s right that we build on them. Where this is not the case, changes are needed.

“The committee will discuss the proposed review to realign services delivered under the Capita contracts. If the committee approves the recommendations, the review will develop more detailed proposals, but it’s important to stress any changes will only be recommended on the basis that they provide a good deal for the Barnet taxpayer.”

Capita was in the news earlier this year when the company reported a massive downturn in profits, although senior government ministers denied that the bleak outlook was comparable to the recent collapse of Carillion.

The public sector services powerhouse is thought to employ around 50,000 people in the UK and has a significant presence in both central and local government services.

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