Tuesday, 28 February 2012

What will happen when Barnet revenues and benefits is outsourced?

I couldn't make it to the Barnet council Cabinet Resources Committee this evening, where the following item was to be discussed. (I expect they managed without me. They could manage without half the people on the Committee, but that's another story.)

However, I think every Barnet resident should know about the proposed outsourcing of revenues and benefits. It will affect all of us, one way or another.

Please read the press release by Barnet Unison on this issue below. You can read their report here.
UNISON warn of devastating risks of outsourcing Revenues and Benefits into a One Barnet Call Centre

Barnet UNISON has submitted a response to Barnet Council's Cabinet Resources Committee this evening. The UNISON report identifies key risks which if not addressed could have a fundamental impact on the future of the Council finances.

The report produced by Professor Dexter Whitfield says:

“The Council’s Revenue and Benefits Service administers £230m benefits each year and collects £250m council tax and over £100m business rates. This service has a major role in many people’s lives. It also has a vital role in providing resources to ensure the sustainability of Council services. Thus service continuity is essential.

"Barnet Council plans changes in service delivery and working practices (through a restructure) in Revenues and Benefits. Since the SAP CRM system was procured several years ago, followed by the proposals to fragment complex business processes, there has been a failure to recognise that a single call centre model does not work. It is interesting to note that the Business Case refers to a Performance Indicator target for the call centre of 80% of calls being handled at the first point of contact compared to current Revenue and Benefits performance of 100% of calls being handled at the first point of contact.”

John Burgess Branch Secretary commented: “The key message of our report is that if the Council gets this wrong the whole of the Council will suffer. Hackney Council residents and staff had to endure serious hardship when the outsourced Revenues & Benefits Service failed and brought the Council's finances to its knees. Services were cut or stopped and/or privatised and Council Tax hikes followed.”

More details: John Burgess, Barnet UNISON on 07738 389569 or john.burgess@barnetunison.org.uk

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