On Tuesday morning 29 November Barnet residents will protest outside a conference organised by Capita: "New Models of Service Delivery - Opening Up Local Government Services to New Providers".
The protest is from 9am at Lancaster Hotel, Lancaster Terrace London W2 2TY (next to Lancaster Gate tube station).
The particular interest for Barnet people is that 'our' deputy chief exec Andrew Travers (a consultant earning £1,000 a day) will be speaking on The “One Barnet” Transformation Programme. The conference programme explains the topics he will cover:
• Creating a new relationship between public services and citizens
• Encouraging self-help and behaviour change
• Simplifying systems and access to services
• Creating a single customer services organisation
• A single Barnet insight function to support joint commissioning
• New ways of bundling and delivering services.
In other words, mostly, a load of claptrap.
Capita is one of the big companies currently bidding for a £750 million, 10-year contract at Barnet to provide a New Support and Customer Services Organisation (call centre) to replace a lot of the existing admin functions at the council.
The outsourcing MNCs slip under the radar of a lot of the anti-corporate, UK Uncut activity. The outsourcing programme at Barnet is one way for the cuts to be made. Others are the path taken by Southampton: threatening to sack workers unless they agree to have pay, etc, cut (though Soton have also just announced that they are now looking at mass outsourcing); putting up charges; cutting services.
We don’t expect hoards of protesters to join us on Tuesday but even a few will thoroughly embarass the council who want to pretend that their outsourcing programme has the support of staff and residents. It doesn’t. Council staff morale is at rock-bottom and they are involved in industrial action; residents have never been consulted about the privatisation programme.