The London Borough of Barnet has short-listed two private companies bidding to run its services - including the entire built environment department

Consultancies Capita Symonds and EC Harris are bidding for the ten-year contract. The two firms made it through to the second round after the council scored them highest of the four companies that pitched for the contract.
Last June, the local authority announced its intention to outsource the built environment function as part of a major reform of how it delivers services. It is seeking ten per cent cost savings from the deal.
EC Harris originally bid as part of a consortium with infrastructure service provider FM Conway, but that company pulled out of the process last month.
A council document leaked on a local blog has revealed that Capita was scored highest of the bidding companies. The document said: "Capita Symonds is the clear leader in this evaluation."
Trade union UNISON, which represents almost 90 per cent of the council's planning and regeneration staff, said its members were worried about the transfer to a private firm.
Barnet UNISON branch secretary John Burgess said a survey by the union of the council's planners showed that 91 per cent are looking for jobs elsewhere.
Planning, highways and regeneration officers have been holding one-day strikes in protest against the plans since September.
Burgess said there would be less opposition to a secondment model - as opposed to the proposed direct transfer - such as that used by Urban Vision in Salford, a joint venture company set up between the city council, Capita Symonds and Morrison Highways Maintenance to run property and planning services.
Barnet Council said employees had had meetings with both bidders and it has also been communicating with affected staff through weekly updates and regular meetings between staff representatives and the project team.
A council spokesman said it was too early to provide details on the impact on jobs, but added: "Staff will be transferred on current terms and conditions for at least 12 months. Both of the bidders have made it clear they are keen to grow the business in Barnet."


  1. Visit our website for more details:

  2. Refer to this weeks Planning magazine for an interview with the head of Barnet Council discussing the transfer to Capita