Thursday 8 November 2012

What do Brent Labour think of Barnet Labour's case against out-sourcing?

This excellent video from Barnet Alliance sums up the case against Barnet's Council's 'One Barnet' policy that will see 70% of council services out-sourced.

Earlier this week the Labour opposition on Barnet Council, deploying a vote of no confidence at an Extraordinary Meeting of the Council, made a strong case against the policy.

They cited:
  • The loss of democratic accountabilty via councillors and the council when services were out-sourced
  • The poor record of private companies in this area which has included some becoming bankrupt
  • The uselessness of 'guarantees' provided during procurement when companies become bankrupt
  • Council tax payers' money being used to boost private company profits
  • The need for support for in-house bids from the present skilled and experienced workforce
  • The loss of those skills to the council  once private companies have taken over
  • Deteriorating performance by private companies once the initial honeymoon after the awarding of the contract is over
All these arguments can of course be made against Brent Council's escalating programme of privatiision. In fact the Barnet Tory Council leader Cllr Richard Corneliu, defending Labour charges of an ideological attack on publicly provided services, cited Brent as an example of A Labour Council that was out-sourcing. How could Barnet's strategy be ideological he asked, if Labour Brent was doing the same thing?  He capped this with a claim that Unison was out-sourcing its IT to a private provider.

In today's Brent and Kilburn Times a council spokesperson said that despite the collapse of the 4 borough public realm contract after the withdrawal of Barnet and Richmond, that Brent would go ahead anyway. In a twist to the story, despite the Casino claim in the video, Barnet had decided that the 4 borough contract was 'too great a risk' and decided to go in-house 'with stretch' for waste services that had previously been provided by May Gurney.

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