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Spontaneous public meeting with councillors springs up at Chipping Barnet Library following BAPS lobby
A spontaneous public meeting with councillors sprang up at Chipping Barnet Library on Saturday.
Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) organised a lobby at the surgeries of the councillors for Underhill and High Barnet in the Stapylton Road library from 10.30am until 12pm.
However, unexpectedly, the event turned into a 90 minute public meeting at which residents expressed their concerns about the One Barnet programme of privatisation.
The meeting began with just Councillor Longstaff, Councillor Turner and Councillor Strongolou present but Councillor Richard Cornelius, leader of Barnet Council, arrived later.
Tirza Waisel, BAPS co-ordinator, said: “I think the lively atmosphere at the first part of the meeting reflected well the fact that residents are feeling very strongly about this crucial matter.
"It showed that they have many questions and concerns to bring up, but they simply don't have opportunities to discuss it.
“It seemed to us that everyone present appreciated this opportunity, and felt that further discussion between residents and councillors is needed."
BAPS originally organised the lobby to express their concerns about the controversial One Barnet policy which they claim could see 90 per cent of council staff being transferred to the private sector.
They also intended to present councillors with their Our Barnet residents bid which proposes improving in-house services through consultation with residents and staff rather than outsourcing.
Ms Waisel, said: “Barnet Council has never asked residents whether they want up to 90 per cent of services to be outsourced to private companies.
“If companies such as BT and Capita are allowed to bid for £750m of our money to run our services, why can’t residents put in a ‘bid’ too?"
BAPS also presented the councillors with a copy of a recent study into Barnet Council procurement and contract management by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE).
It concluded: “The evidence considered in this report indicates that there can be little confidence that Barnet has the capability, and perhaps more worryingly the culture, necessary to meet the challenge posed under the One Barnet plan."
The lobby was part of a programme of events throughout the autumn aimed at gathering signatures on a petition asking Barnet Council to put the One Barnet plan to a referendum of residents.