Senior judge hears Barnet Council outsourcing challenge

The second most senior judge in England and Wales will hear a legal challenge against Barnet Council’s outsourcing programme

The second most senior judge in England and Wales will hear an appeal against an earlier high court ruling, that an objection to Barnet Council's outsourcing contract with Capita was made too late. 

Disabled resident Maria Nash originally brought a case against Barnet Council, calling for a judicial review of the outsourcing programme. Nash’s case alleges Barnet Council did not properly consult citizens on the outsourcing plan.

But a high court judge ruled the objection to Barnet Council’s £320m outsourcing contract with Capita came too late. Nash appealed the decision and the council put its outsourcing plans on hold. 

The appeal hearing has been brought forward from October 2013 to July, following the appointment of a new QC by Barnet council.

John Anthony Dyson will now hear the appeal on July 15 and 16.

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.

Gerald Shamash, a partner at legal firm Steel & Shamash – which is representing Maria Nash – told Computer Weekly the appeal is being made on the grounds that the case is too important not to have a judicial review.

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It also contests the previous high court ruling that the objection to the contract between Capita and Barnet Council came too late. 

The case had to be brought in three months of the contract being announced, which was, in the previous judges view, June 2011, when it was announced in the European Journal. The objection was not brought until December 2012. But Shamash said this is when the final decision was made and was therefore the right time.

In January 2013, councillor Alison Moore, leader of Barnet Council's Labour opposition, said residents were outraged at the lack of consultation on the One Barnet outsourcing project.  

“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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