One Barnet: Judicial Review challenge to the Capita contract
Some very welcome news tonight: Steel & Shamash Solicitors, acting on behalf of Barnet resident
Maria Nash, have today (Thursday) issued proceedings against Barnet Council, Capita
PLC, EC Harris LLP, and Capita Symonds Ltd. Ms Nash seeks a judicial review of the Council’s decision to award the
contract for the “New Support and Customer Services Organisation” or
“NSCSO” to Capita plc, and of the Council’s impending decision to award
the “Development and Regulatory Services” or “DRS” contract, to either
Capita Symonds Ltd. or EC Harris LLP. Via the Barnet Alliance website Maria Nash said:
“Despite being involved in local issues,
including being engaged in the political process in relation to issues
that affect me, I have not been consulted, either individually or as a
member of any of the local bodies or interest groups with which I am
associated. I have been desperately concerned about the impact of the
NSCSO and DRS on me and others, especially the vulnerable such as the
elderly, disabled or young. What I would like to see is proper
meaningful engagement with stakeholders before a decision is made to
outsource services to a private company.”
Steel & Shamash, as Ms Nash's solicitors, issued a press release today stating: "We have today on behalf of our client Maria Nash, a resident of the London Borough of Barnet issued proceedings to judicially review and challenge the decision of the London Borough of Barnet to award the contractfor the New Support and Customers Support Organisation 'NSCSO' to Capita PLC and to challenge the intended decision to award a contract for the Development and Regulatory services contract. The principal grounds for the challenge are as follows: 1. The London Borough of Barnet have failed to comply with section 3(2) Local Government Act 1999 and related statutory guidance, which places an obligation on the local authority to fully consult all stakeholders, including residents, voluntary organisations and businesses. 2.Unlawfully denied a legitimate expectation that the London Borough of Barnet would carry out consultations with its stakeholders 3.Failed to discharge its public sector equality duty. 4.Failed to discharge its fiduciary duty; and 5.Breached its obligations pursuant to regulations 18 and 30 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 to award the NSCSO to the tenderer submitting the most economically advantageous tender."
This is a hugely significant moment for all those united in opposition to the mass privatisation of our public services, not just in our borough, but throughout the UK.
Our Tory councillors have chosen to pursue the One Barnet programme of outsourcing with no mandate from the people whom they have been elected to represent. The people have now elected to use the due process of the law to challenge their act of betrayal - and what happens in Barnet, as a result of this challenge, may well set a legal precedent, and a warning, for all other authorities around the country.
The legal team instructed by Maria Nash, as it happens, is led by Gerald Shamash, who has acted as solicitor to the Labour party for more than twenty years, and has a wide ranging expertise in law at all levels of political life, at Westminster, in local government, election law - and judicial review.
Oh dear, Tory councillors and senior officers of the London Borough of Broken Barnet: it's all going dreadfully wrong, isn't it?
Mrs Angry lives in the Tory run London Borough of Broken Barnet.
Mrs Angry's Fan Club - rather surprisingly - Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government - "Mrs Angry, (as she had every right to be)" ...
Boris Johnson, sidestepping Mrs Angry's probing questions: Who are these people? ... Ah: Socialists ...
"The Finchley Fishwife" ..: "You - you are a nasty piece of work" - Brian Coleman
The rages and reflections of Mrs Angry -Top London blogger', (even though she isn't a bloke, and doesn't write about cycling) - Dave Hill, Guardian ...
'Why do you have to be so embarrassing? And stop swearing.' Mrs Angry's daughter.