Opposition members have accused Barnet Council of making a “U-turn” on their stance over outsourcing certain services.

Decision on the future delivery of Barnet’s waste and street cleaning services has been delayed after the council’s environment committee (Mar 15) ruled out outsourcing the service to a private contractor.

It was agreed further information was needed on the other options for running the services – known collectively as Streetscene.

Labour councillors argued at the meeting a full in-house option for the service should be included for consideration when the issue comes back to the committee at a later date.

The three options in the report discussed at this week’s committee included in-house management with support from the Barnet Group.

A second option would see all management transferred to the Barnet Group, a local authority trading company, for a 10-year contract.

The final option was to outsource Street Scene services to a specialist provider through the procurement of a contract.

Streetscene services are currently being delivered on a temporary basis in-house with management support from the Barnet Group.

Labour's environment spokesperson Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “The U-turn by Barnet’s Tory councillors in ruling out the outsourcing of our waste collection, recycling and street cleaning to a private contractor is good news for Barnet’s residents.

“Rather than wasting money on what could be a worse service, we want to see the highest quality most efficient service.”

In response, the controlling Conservative group said “it is not possible to make a U-turn on a decision which hasn’t been made yet”.

Leader of the council Cllr Richard Cornelius said: “This council has always judged each case by its merits on the question of whether to outsource a service or run it in-house.

“The deciding factor is always whether we are delivering value for money for our residents.

“I am disappointed the Labour group has already made up its mind on the options presented to committee, based on nothing more than ideology, regardless of the cost to Barnet taxpayers.”