Barnet Borough Council’s cabinet chose Capita as its preferred bidder for its £320million customer services contract tonight.

Councillors voted in favour of awarding its new support and customer service organisation contract to business processes firm Capita despite an outburst from protesters lobbying against the plans.

One hundred people gathered outside Hendon Town Hall, in The Burroughs, to voice their opposition to the contract. 

The scheme could mean that almost 200 council workers lose their jobs and services including payroll, HR and customer services will be provided from as far afield as Sheffield and Carlisle.

Speaking at the meeting, Labour councillor Alison Moore warned: “This is an end to democracy as we know it.

“You say there will be savings of £125million – but there is no such thing as guaranteed savings.”

Urging Cabinet members to could think of alternative ways of making savings, Cllr Moore recommended they reject the proposal.

As councillors Robert Rams and Daniel Thomas spoke in favour of the scheme, protesters took the opportunity to shout their opposition.

Standing on chairs and brandishing banners, members of Barnet Alliance for Public Services (BAPS) demanded the Cabinet listen to residents’ concerns.

In unison they chanted "you have no mandate" to councillors, before BAPS co-ordinator Tirza Waisel shouted: "We will not allow you to take our democracy away."

As people conintued to shout their frustrations and claps of encouragement echoed round the packed room, councillors quickly vacated to continue the meeting next door where the plans were approved, subject to financial reports.

Councillor Richard Cornelius said: “I look forward to getting the savings we desperately need.

“This is not a gamble. This is not a quick fix – we have been talking about this for a long time.

“If we were to reject these proposals we would have to find savings elsewhere, which would be very unpleasant.”

The council will set up a monitoring committee in the next couple of months to scrutinise the contract.