Saturday, 9 July 2011

Mass outsourcing: when do Barnet residents get their say?

This anonymous looking address, 71 Victoria Street, is the headquarters building of Capita. One of their subsidiaries, Capita Symonds, is a likely bidder for one of the big contracts to run Barnet council services.

Some Barnet residents visited it on Thursday for an hour to protest against the mass outsourcing known as the One Barnet Programme. I explained this protest to a local journalist:
On Friday a number of big companies will come to Barnet to discuss the contract for outsourcing. There are two big parties to this issue that are simply not being consulted: the staff and residents. Mass outsourcing was not in the Tories' manifesto for the local elections. No one has ever asked residents what they think.

Capita and other companies think they can just pitch up to Barnet council offices to discuss outsourcing with the senior executives. They'll get their respective lawyers to draw up the papers and work out the details. We are visiting Capita to say that there is another party in this issue, residents, and many of us are not happy with the outsourcing. The big companies and Barnet council's executive officers think they can sort this out over a chat and over our heads. They're wrong. We have something to say as well.
It was really only when I said this that I grasped the injustice that is being done. A billion pounds worth of business is being transacted by a handful of people and the people it will affect the most - staff and residents - get no say in the matter. It is a travesty of democracy.

Capita were slightly nervous on Thursday; four police officers were there to keep the peace. They need not have worried. There weren't many of us; we had a successful leafleting of the public and chanted a bit and went home. As we moved off furtive Capita staff began leaving the building. Evidently we had been detaining them longer at work than they would have liked. What did they think that we might to do to them? Talk to them? Can't have that!

Capita fact

Capita's chief executive Paul Pindar is paid £14,500 per week. And you were peed off at paying Nick Walkley's wages!

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