Barnet outsourcing campaigners appeal judge ruling

Campaigners appeal high court judge's decision not to allow a judicial review against the Barnet One outsourcing programme

Campaigners will appeal a decision by a high court judge not to allow a judicial review against the Barnet One outsourcing programme.

A high court judge ruled their objection to Barnet Council’s £320m outsourcing contract with Capita came too late.

Disabled resident Maria Nash brought a case against Barnet Council, calling for a judicial review of the outsourcing programme. Nash’s case alleges the council did not properly consult citizens on the outsourcing plan. Nash's legal representatives were not available for comment when going to press.

The One Barnet project will transfer services – including HR, payroll and IT – to Capita in a £320m contract. The One Barnet programme forms part of a total spend of £1bn on a variety of outsourcing services.

Mark Lewis, specialist outsourcing Lawyer at Berwin Leighton Paisner, said:“We understand that the main reason for the decision was that Mrs Nash’s challenge came too late, but also that the judge condemned the way Barnet had run (or not run) the consultation process.  

"We await the full judgment and will follow up with a proper analysis of what the judgment actually means and what happens next.  

"In the meantime, what we can say is that, assuming that Mrs Nash lodged her challenge within the time limits (which we should do), the question is whether the challenge was made promptly enough under court rules. 

"There may be more of an argument about that, assuming Mrs Nash appeals.” 

In January councillor Alison Moore, leader of Barnet Council's Labour opposition, said residents were outraged at the lack of consultation on One Barnet.  

A petition signed by 7,000 residents called for a referendum on the plan. “We, residents of Barnet, are alarmed at the council's plan known as the One Barnet programme, to hand over our public services to private for-profit companies. We call for an immediate stop to these measures until the issue is put to the electorate in the form of a simple 'yes' or 'no' referendum on the One Barnet programme.”

“Moving to a council that commissions most of its services from someone else is a fundamental change in the way local services are provided, and it will have an impact on local people, including the most vulnerable in our community," said Moore.

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