Barnet outsourcing: High Court decision expected after Easter

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Barnet outsourcing: High Court decision expected after Easter

Karl Flinders

Barnet Council will find out the fate of its controversial outsourcing project after Easter.

Disabled resident Maria Nash brought a case against Barnet calling for a judicial review of the council’s outsourcing programme. The judge that heard the case has now said he will not deliver his verdict until after Easter.

Nash’s case alleges that the council did not properly consult citizens on a £320m HR, payroll and IT outsourcing deal with Capita. 

According to a report on a local news website, the judge will not deliver his verdict before Easter and Nash has already pledged to continue her fight if the judgement does not go her way. According to the report, speaking after the hearing Nash said she is likely to appeal if she has to.  

“This is only the first step. There are far too many issues for it to be over,” she is reported to have said. “I think it is worth an appeal because it is the first case of this magnitude and it could have a national impact. I’m not just going to wash my hands of it.”

In January, Gerald Shamash, a partner at legal firm Steel & Shamash, which is representing Nash, told Computer Weekly that the High Court will hear evidence and decide if a judicial review is required. 

Shamash said at the time: “If they give permission for a review, they may say, ‘We give permission for a review and we think you are right', or they may give permission and say they don’t agree.”

Mark Lewis, outsourcing lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said the judgement could have dramatic impacts for any public sector outsourcing if the judge decides Barnet acted unlawfully by letting this contract to Capita.

“This would not mean that all decisions to outsource will be unlawful. But it would mean that all local authorities and certain central government agencies will need to review the process by which they award outsourcing contracts,” he said.


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