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Barnet council to hand regulation to the private sector… Remember the horsemeat scandal?

Regulation handed to the private sector? Not a good idea. Remember the horsemeat scandal?

From Barnet Unison on Monday 20 May:

Today, Barnet council staff were told at a series of briefings that Capita Symonds is the preferred bidder to deliver a whole range of council regulatory services to Barnet residents and businesses. This is the latest step in the council's plan to mass-outsource services at Barnet council. This plan - which is extremely unpopular with residents, campaigners and bloggers - is called One Barnet. You can read more about the battle against One Barnet here).

The services to be handed over to Capita include:

Trading Standards & Licensing, Land Charges, Planning & Development, Building Control & Structures, Environmental Health, Highways Strategy, Highways Network Management, Highways Traffic & Development, Highways Transport & Regeneration, Strategic Planning & Regeneration, Hendon Cemetery & Crematoria.

Outsourcing regulatory services is a bad idea
Barnet Council has a number of statutory responsibilities to monitor the private sector in order to ensure the health and safety of their residents.

The recent high- profile national public-health scandal about the use of horsemeat in processed foods emphasises that private companies do not adequately monitor their own activities, leaving the public at risk. If Barnet council is allowed to privatise these services, it will set a dangerous precedent for other councils.

Barnet council has been promoting itself as an innovator for the future of public services by adopting the Commissioning Council model. In the last 12 months, the Council has overseen a significant number of services outsourced to other providers. The full list of services is here.

John Burgess UNISON Branch Secretary said: “Barnet Council is making a huge mistake in handing over these critical services to the private sector. It is not just about the risks this brings, but what it means in term of democratic accountability. Next year, we have the local elections in May 2014. What options will there be for the electorate if all the council spend is tied up into complex contracts? As for all the remaining staff the message is stark: no matter how loyal you are, no matter how hard you work political dogma is dictating all services are to be outsourced. Today a number of our members have chosen to wear black armbands/ black clothing as a sign of the demise of the public sector ethos in Barnet council.”

Links

1. What is One Barnet watch this short animation http://ning.it/Qp5Adx

2. UNISON report on One Barnet DRS contract http://ning.it/11OQWlQ

3. UNISON financial report on One Barnet DRS contract http://ning.it/12mocvO

4. One hundred PLUS reasons why One Barnet is high risk and bad for residents and services http://ning.it/NAyJLY

5. 397 jobs “The true cost of One Barnet outsourcing” http://ning.it/11OSuMT

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