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Residents 'pleaded' with council for One Barnet consultation
The people of Barnet pleaded for a consultation on the council’s outsourcing scheme before it agreed to sell off millions of pounds worth of services, a court heard this morning.
On day two of the judicial review into the One Barnet scheme, Nigel Giffin, for the applicant Maria Nash, told the hearing that any illegality in the council’s failure to consult was “entirely its own fault”.
Mr Giffin claimed the authority was made aware of residents’ desire to be consulted but “got itself in a mess” by thinking it could rely on previous actions in which some views were taken on the outsourcing scheme.
Ms Nash’s lawyers went on to defend the timing of the judicial review, one year after outsourcing was openly discussed by the authority, and Mr Giffin cited several test cases in their favour.
But Justice Nicholas Underhill said the lateness of the application was “unattractive” if it meant a local authority could spend one year “wasting its time and taxpayers' money compiling a scheme which it was later taken to court over”.
The judge said Mr Giffin had “a hill to climb” in terms of convincing him the claim was brought in time.
However, he said the council had the same challenge in convincing him it had consulted.
Monica Carss-Frisk QC, for Barnet Council, began to put the authority’s side across this afternoon.
The hearing is expected to go into a third day.