Business > Efficiency

Capita recommended as preferred bidder for Barnet

David Bicknell Published 22 November 2012

Council selects company as preferred bidder to deliver new support and customer service organisation


Capita has been named as preferred bidder to deliver the London Borough of Barnet's new support and customer service organisation (NSCSO).

The contract, which is expected to be worth approximately £320m over 10 years, and is still subject to Cabinet approval, was won against competition from BT. Capita is expected to start running the NSCSO in April 2013, although details have yet to be confirmed.

In a statement, Barnet said the proposals are 'officer recommendations' to the council's Cabinet for a proposed single provider, Capita, to take over the running of the council's back office services. If approved by Barnet's Cabinet, Capita will run a range of services including the council's call centre, payroll, IT and HR. Barnet says the move will save it £120m on back office costs over the next ten years.

Barnet indicated that Capita will also make an up front investment of £8m in improving the delivery of these services. The investment will provide improved IT and telephone support, and will offer every Barnet resident a single 'Amazon' style account with the council that they can use to link a range of council services, from parking permits to allotment fees.

Barnet said Capita was selected after an 18-month tender and selection process which saw Capita and BT compete in a final competitive tender. Both companies met the specification and financial criteria laid down by the council, Barnet said.

Barnet said the contract, worth around £32m per year, will account for 11 per cent of the council's spending. 514 posts (of which 458 are currently filled, 407 with permanent staff and 51 on fixed-term contracts), around 15 per cent of the council's total staff, will transfer to work for Capita.

Barnet council leader Richard Cornelius said that he will be recommending that the council approves the proposals when it meets on 6 December.

"The bottom line is that this will give us £120 million to spend on public services in Barnet which we would not otherwise have. I very much believe that we are 18 months ahead of the game on this. The alternative to the contract we are proposing is to make much bigger cuts in frontline services and jobs over the next couple of years."

The council has had to make savings of £72.5m on council spending of around £300m over the period of the current spending review. This is to cover a reduced income from central government, inflationary pressures and a growing demand for services. The council's current medium term financial strategy predicts further reduction in central government funding under the next spending review in 2015-16.

Cornelius added that, "But 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.

"This is not simply an outsourcing programme - we are for instance bringing our recycling service in-house at a time when other councils continue to outsource. One Barnet has many different facets, from in-house, to working with charities to working with the private sector. Above all, with each service, we will do what is best for Barnet."

Barnet is due to announce a second contract, for the 'Development and Regulatory Services project', possibly in early January which will see either Capita or EC Harris gain a contract believed to be worth £275m to run the council's transport and environmental health services.




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