Back office and customer service project given the green light

Last night (29 June), the business case for the New Support and Customer Service Organisation project was approved by Cabinet Resources Committee. This decision gives the council permission to proceed with the procurement process to find a strategic partner to deliver back office and customer services.

The private sector is well placed to provide support services at a lower cost than the council ever could. Specialist suppliers provide these services as their core business; they have access to industry expertise, they can take advantage of economies of scale, and they can access the latest and best technology to help them deliver better services.

Barnet’s customer services need significant investment to improve resident access to council services but the council simply doesn’t have the money. The private sector can provide the financial support we need to improve and modernise customer services.

I don’t believe residents are concerned about who provides back office services to the council. Indeed every time we, or other councils, ask residents how they want us to deal with a reduced budget, we are asked to reduce back office costs. Residents seem far more interested in Barnet doing what councils are supposed to do – delivering the best quality front line services. Over the life of the contract, we will make significant savings, which will free up resources for our highly rated core services.

You can read the business case on the Barnet Council website.

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2 Responses to Back office and customer service project given the green light

  1. Mrs Angry, Broken Barnet blog says:

    How on earth can you dare to publish this? DId you not read the MetPro Audit Report? Are you not aware of the government’s change in position on the issue of mass outsourcing? Residents do not trust you to give any more services to the private sector: to rush the £750 million package out the day after the MetPro meeting is madness, and you know it. These services need to remain in house, and run competently – and to benefit residents, not for the profit of some external provider. Clearly the Tory administration is incapable of runnning anything with competence and probity, so admittedly that may be a problem. Oh, and why are you and your Tory colleagues so silent on the issues raised by MetPro?

  2. robertrams says:

    On each and every occasion we ask residents how they want the council to make savings they ask us to reduce back office spending rather than reduce services. This is exactly what we are doing here. You are the first resident to insist to me that the council’s HR function has to remain in house or the world will crumble. The recent State of the Borough report makes clear, the council has to deal with real world pressures, pressures the council faces to deal with a rising demand for services in a time of austerity.

    Either we look at different ways of providing services or we just provide less of the same. I don’t think that latter option is acceptable and I would point you to the library strategy as an example where we are looking at changing our model of service, buying more books, supporting more young people to read and supporting adult literacy rather than just hacking back as other boroughs have done.

    The Metpro situation was not acceptable and frankly the report that went to audit committee made it clear that our contract management needs to be tightened up and plans are in place to do that. The One Barnet team however grew out of the major projects team that has delivered many education buildings over the last few years – all on time and all within budget.

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