Has Barnet council lost its way on outsourcing and could its leader be axed over issue?

I wrote earlier this week about a call from councillors in Barnet for a confidence vote on the council leadership. This has arisen over a controversial outsourcing project known as Barnet One.

I spoke today with councillor Alison Moore. She is the leader of the Labour opposition and has submitted a motion of no confidence over Council Leader Richard Cornelius over the controversial ‘One Barnet’ council transformation programme. For the leader to fall there needs to be a straight majority. There are 63 councillors in Barnet with 22 Labour and 3 Liberal democrats.

Cornwall council’s leader recently fell after a vote of no confidence over an outsourcing agreement.

Barnet council already outsources through the One Barnet programme but two large bundles, worth about £1bn over 10 years, are about to be handed to a supplier.

One of the large outsourcing bundles is for IT, Finance, HR, revenue and benefits and it is close to being awarded to either BT or Capita.

Moore said the motion is an attempt to get the council to meet and discuss the project before the contracts are awarded. The One Barnet Programme has actually incurred a net cost for the Council of at least £663,000 so far an councillors don’t want to jump into anything.

She also says there is political disarray with the council leader and his deputy disagreeing on what to do.

Leader of the Barnet Labour Group, Cllr Alison Moore said: “So many of these large scale outsourcing and privatisations are failing or running into problems, and yet the Barnet Tories are just carrying on regardless.  They really need to stop and learn the lessons before risking £1billion of council tax payers’ money.”

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