Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Panto season in Broken Barnet: Capita, Prince Charming, and the Ugly Sisters

Well then: it's Panto season, isn't it? So Mrs Angry thought we should get in the mood.  

Let's take the focus off our Tory councillors for a short while, shall we, and turn in entirely the other direction - look: behind you ... 

See: our wicked would be stepmother Capita is waiting on the doorstep, while our foolish, besotted father Richard Cornelius breaks the news to his broken hearted children of his reckless marriage, and tells us to make up the best beds in the house for the ugly sisters, yes: Agilisys/iMPOWER, who now have their big feet firmly planted, not in any glass slippers, but in our once happy home, here in Broken Barnet.

Agilisys and iMPOWER

Perhaps we could learn to love our new stepmother better, if we became better acquainted.

Let's look at some of the pictures in Capita's family album, shall we? Capita has a very large family album, because, frankly, she has put it about a bit, in her time.

Remember Birmingham, Stepmother? Yes, you do: don't be coy.

Let's remind ourselves of the article in Computer Weekly, in June last year: 

This was when 'Service Birmingham', the Joint Venture between Birmingham CC and Capita, decided that outsourcing needed to go a step further, and that jobs should be offshored to India, despite the further redundancies that would ensue, and the rather awkward situation where soon to be axed staff would have to train workers about to take their jobs from them.

Read the article, if you don't believe me, Tory councillors.

The offshoring of British jobs story became even more interesting, and more widespread this August:

And it seems that this was not the only controversial activity by Service Birmingham to hit the papers: see here, a story from August 2011 ...

Where next?

Step-Mama Capita also had a bit of a thing going on in Sefton, at one time, where at the beginning of their romance, she promised her suitors untold riches, according to this story in the Liverpool Daily Post:

In 2008, Capita had promised a saving of 5.5% in costs for technical services, as well as an investment of £7.39 million. Oh dear: by November 2011, Sefton had had enough and decided to back out of the deal. This retreat, in fact, cannot be arranged until September 2013.
Poor Capita. Another unhappy affair appears to be revealed here in the case of Southampton council, where, as a committee report published eleven months ago explained:

"... performance in Capita Property Services was poor and client satisfaction was below the mean.” 

During the financial year 2010/2011 the number and range of issues that arose between service departments and Capita Property Services increased. 

A significant number of these were escalated within the dispute resolution procedure to the highest levels within the partnership. 

As a result the perception within the service areas and key stakeholders within the Council of the performance of the property service gave rise to a number of areas of concern."

More detail here:

Up in Edinburgh, if you remember, the love affair with Capita ended before it began, when the City Council came to its senses, and commissioned an independent risk assessment and extensive consultation with stakeholders, after which the authority concluded that the Capita plan had "potential to expose the Council to significant risks and potential unforeseen consequences, both financially and operationally" - and that they should pursue an in house solution, just as Cornwall County Council is doing now, after similarly rejecting an outsourcing partnership with BT. In both cases political sensitivities also played a major part, of course. 

In Broken Barnet, we have only political insensitivity, and insensibility, so this should not prove to be too much of a problem for the ardour of our new partner.

What would Cinderella be without Prince Charming? Yes: even in this cut price panto, we have one. Step forward, slapping his thigh, the CEO of Capita, Mr Paul Pindar. 

Prince Charming, Paul Pindar

For playing his part, Paul earns a package of salary and benefits worth around a cool £1.6 million a year. A couple of years ago, after passing by a group of employees leafleting a Capita office in Victoria, Mr Pindar returned to admonish them for complaining about his high level of reward, pointing out that he only earned £14, 500 a week. That he received a less than warm reception for this piece of information may be explained that the Cinderella grade workers had just rejected an offer of 1% rise on their miserly rate of £6.11 an hour.

Mr Pindar has commented that he thinks the coalition government should be outsourcing more - well, he would say that, wouldn't he, boys and girls? 

Sadly government policy now is firmly set against dependence on large scale outsourcing schemes, and more in favour of a wider and more pragmatic range of approaches to delivering services. As usual, of course, Barnet Tories are one step behind, and reading from last year's script.

Here in Broken Barnet , however, the audience has written their own ending to the tale of Cinderella. 

We don't want a Prince Charming, here in Broken Barnet, do we, citizens?

Oh no we don't. No - really, we don't.

And we want no ugly sisters, or wicked step mothers. 

We want a fair wage for a fair job. 

And an invitation to the ball for everyone. 

Tell your councillors how you feel: the Cabinet members who want the wicked stepmother to move in, and banish Cinderella to the kitchen:

(Councillor Robert Rams, playing Buttons)

and their timid colleagues, who are playing the part of the mice, rather too well


Anonymous said...

I couldn't of put it better myself..I currently work for Capita Symonds Sefton but not for long....They have just cut the workforce by 25 and serve us with our notice yesterday and low and behold its the cheapest of us that are going regardless of our interview scores, I received my letter and im fuming after being a loyal and good worker earning very good fees for the passed 4 years!!!

Mrs Angry said...

Be interested to hear from you anon, in confidence: do get in touch if you would like ...

Anonymous said...

I work for Capita Symonds. We are soon to be re-branded as Capita, losing the 'Symonds' In the five years I have worked for them in Blackburn there has only been one year without redundancies and four years without pay rises.

If you look at the company accounts on the web site [] you will see that the dozen exec directors awarded themselves a 300% pay rise in 2010.

The latest news, following the dismissal of practically all the architects, then all the acoustics engineers, is that the structural engineers and the transport planners are all 'at risk' - but not, executive bonuses, thankfully !

Mrs Angry said...

Very interesting, thank you Anon: a horrible warning for us here in Broken Barnet, if our appeal fails ...

Anonymous said...

I work at Capita Symonds in East Grinstead, but there are hardly any of us left any more - they keep making people redundant. I went on the website today to have a gander at the company accounts as mentioned by a previous post and strangely they have been removed. How unusual!!! Perhaps Capita execs read this website???

Mrs Angry said...

Ha, Anon 2 (not to be confused with Commenter 2, presumably) - yes, Crapita are on this blog all the time, and follow me on twitter: they even turn up in court,introducing themselves with a bashful grin on their corporate faces ...