A major cross-party review of the Customer and Support Group contract between Barnet Council and Capita has demonstrated that, three years in, it is delivering significant benefits to the borough, with overall savings of £31m achieved alongside increased resident satisfaction.
Barnet Council awarded Capita a 10-year contract to run the council’s main internal support services, including HR, finance, IT and estates, as well as outward-facing customer services (face to face customer contact, telephone call centre, and website) and the revenues and benefits service in 2013.
The review showed that the cost of delivering the bundle of services provided in the contract is now £6m a year less than before the contract was signed and that 90% of the contract’s key performance indicators are being met or exceeded. The overall £31m figure includes savings from procurement and additional council tax income received.
However, the review has also identified opportunities for further savings potentially worth over £2 million a year. As well as highlighting areas of success, the review identifies some areas for improvement including the delivery of IT and estates services.
As part of the review, residents were able to provide feedback of their experience with outward-facing services as well as comment on any other aspect of the operations of the contract. In addition, a public consultation session was held in July.
In terms of satisfaction with services provided, the review showed 76% cent of residents were satisfied with the outward-facing customer services, up from 52% before the contract was established.
The review went on to say that Capita is keen to explore options around extending the Barnet contract beyond the original ten-year term. However, the council says improvements to services, plus new initiatives, as set out in the report, “should be the primary focus at this stage”. “It is therefore proposed that the outcomes of this review be seen as an enabler to aid discussions of a possible extension towards the end of this financial year.”
Councillor Anthony Finn, chair of the Performance and Contract Management Committee at Barnet Council said: “With council budgets under significant pressure, the fact that these services are now costing the Barnet taxpayer £6m less each year to deliver is substantial.
“I’m also pleased that Capita is meeting the agreed performance targets in the contract and that user satisfaction is going up. We have set Capita challenging performance targets and there is more work to be done in certain areas, but so far this has been a good deal for the borough.”
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