Some Barnet residents have blasted the council after it was announced last week that Capita would take over IT services formerly provided on behalf of the council by fallen reseller 2e2.
Last week it was announced that Capita would take over the IT provision services at a cost of £72,000 per month after 2e2 ceased its provision after entering administration at the end of January. Local news reports claim that the council is now also seeking to claw back £220,000 of upfront payments from 2e2.
The residents, taking to their Broken Barnet blog to voice their concerns, claim that the council was aware of the problems 2e2 was having but "ignored its own advice and continued to engage 2e2 at a cost of more than £1m a year, including an annual upfront payment of £400,000".
The council was unavailable to comment at the time of publication and Capita declined to comment.
Local media also points to a risk review carried out by the council in January this year, weeks before 2e2 went into administration. The reseller was deemed to be "in satisfactory condition, with high levels of borrowing and acquisition activity", according to the Barnet and Whetstone Press.
In the residents' blog entitled 'When outsourcing goes wrong', the locals claim that an internal report in 2011 stated that the council had looked to bring its outsourced IT back in-house.
They claim the report said they planned to "improve the relationship with 2e2 and look into terminating the 2e2 contract early and bringing in services and staff... if necessary".
The residents further claimed on the blog that Capita was appointed to take over from 2e2 "without any form of tender, on the basis that it was an emergency and they had already had discussions with Capita to take over the running of this service".
The new Capita deal, which was announced last week, will last for around two months while a judicial review put forward by a resident takes place regarding a larger Capita outsourcing deal, as part of the One Barnet scheme.
The council said it hopes to secure a positive outcome, meaning the new Capita contract, formerly run by 2e2, will form part of its wider outsourcing plan.
In December, the authority approved a £320m outsourcing deal with Capita to outsource its IT, human resources, payroll and call centre services in a move it claims would save it £125m over the contract's 10-year lifespan.
The move attracted a group of protesters outside the Town Hall, and prompted local campaigner Maria Nash to take up a judicial review against the council's plans, which begins tomorrow. She claims that the authority did not effectively consult on the proposals – a claim the council denies.
She told The Guardian that she fears for her life if the Capita contract, which is set to begin in May, goes ahead.
She said: "The moment Capita gets hold of this contract, I will not be able to get the help I need. I will vegetate or be left to die. I am not going to be able to be independent."
Local group the Barnet Alliance for Public Services claimed the council is putting services at risk by considering Capita.
In a web post, it said: "Barnet Council is effectively selling off [its] public services to Capita, a private company, in a single contract for a minimum of 10 years, putting the quality of services at risk as profit becomes the overriding priority."
It added that it shares Nash's concerns and applauds her courage.
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