Barnet Council says it is “too soon” to determine what impact the threat of a judicial review will have on their outsourcing plans.

The authority agreed in December to hand business processes firm Capita a £320million contract to run its back office services over the next ten years.

The contract is due to be formally agreed later this month but lawyers acting on behalf of a protestor opposing the outsourcing scheme this morning begun proceedings to launch a judicial review into the deal.

In a statement issued this afternoon, deputy leader of the council Daniel Thomas said: “It is too soon to say what, if any, impact the application for a judicial review could have on the council’s plans.

“If a judicial review does go ahead we would seek to have it heard as quickly as possible so that there is no delay in the council making the savings we have planned.”

Maria Nash, who instructed solicitors to make an application for the review, claims Barnet Council did not properly consult residents before agreeing the deal.

The contract, the largest under the authority's One Barnet outsourcing programme, provoked protests and opposition from campaign groups.

The council says it will save £120million over the ten-year contract - money it claims would otherwise have to be found with cuts to front line services.

Councillor Thomas added: “I can only reiterate that governments, both centrally and locally, have to make some difficult decisions and that while it is right these decisions should be open to scrutiny it is ultimately the taxpayer who bears the financial brunt of these legal challenges.

“But to put this into context the council won three legal challenges in the week before Christmas.”