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Borough takes more services back from Capita

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Barnet LBC is to take more services back in house from its troubled deal with outsourcing firm Capita.

It has also admitted that it misjudged the amount of work needed from an earlier ‘insourcing’ from Capita.

Barnet’s cabinet last week resolved that the director of place role and the regeneration service’s skills, employment and economic development team should move in-house, “to achieve greater flexibility and agility in the deployment of resources to meet emerging needs”.

Cabinet members also decided to bring the safety, health and wellbeing service in house. Some 10 staff are affected by these two changes.

A cabinet report said that “significant issues” had occurred with Barnet’s pensions administration service, “notably in respect of data quality and outstanding casework”.

Improvement notices had been issued to Capita, which had made progress but “the service is not currently in an acceptable position”.

Barnet had been served with a notice by the Pensions Regulator setting out required improvements.

Officers would work with Capita to secure these but “if this does not happen within a reasonable timeframe, the council will have to make alternative arrangements for the future provision of the service”.

The report also said there had been concerns about the quality of the highways service, which had lacked a director “for some considerable period”.

This though would not be insourced as this would be costlier and the problems were “no more likely to be resolved” through this than by strengthening existing arrangements.

Other services with Capita would be reviewed but the cabinet dismissed the idea of taking them all in house as not offering best value.

Simon Freeman, managing director, Capita Local Public Services, said: “We are committed to getting this partnership right, so we can carry on delivering vital savings for council and for taxpayers.”

Barnet took back the finance and strategic human resources services from Capita in April.

A ‘lessons learned’ report said it had been an error to use the term ‘lift and shift’ to describe a service moving into the council but not otherwise changing.

“In retrospect, the use of the term ‘lift and shift’…meant that, in the early stages of the transfer, a lack of urgency was evident in some quarters, as the complexity of the task was considerably under-estimated,” the report said.

“The joint programme teams suggest that in future, terms such as ‘lift and shift’ should be avoided, as they lead to a culture of under-estimating the scale of the task.”

Work involved in the transfer had been “exceedingly complex and not fully understood at the beginning of the process”, it noted.

Barnet outsourced most services to Capita in 2013 but in July 2018 announced a review of their performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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