Barnet Council has been told to provide full details on the cost of scrapping its outsourcing deals entirely and bringing all services back in-house.

Labour councillors attacked proposals tabled in a report to the policy and resources committee last night (Thursday, July 19) because they did not consider the benefits of ending the partnership with Capita.

At the meeting, councillors were asked to consider three options: continuing with the current arrangements, re-shaping the Capita contracts to bring some services in-house, or scrapping the deals completely.

Officers recommended re-shaping the deals and asked the committee to approve drawing up a full business case for the plan.

But Labour members accused the council of only looking to take back control of services Capita no longer considered profitable and warned it risked repeating the mistakes of the past.

They tabled a fourth option to come up with a full business case weighing up the pros and cons of bringing all services back in-house.

Labour leader Cllr Barry Rawlings called for “an honest decision with the full figures, not a fudged decision with half the figures”.

He said: “If it is true that there can be some flexibility, and if it is true there can be a different mix, surely we need to have a full business case for option two and option three, so that when it comes back here we have not only the widest possible advice, but also the flexibility to look at the different issues.”

Cllr Kathy McGuirk, Labour member for West Finchley, added: “Again and again we have gone back to transparency and decision making. If we are going to look at all the cases, surely we should put in the recommendations to look at costings on recommendation three?

“We need to learn the lessons of how the contracts were awarded in the first place, because a lot of options were not even costed or considered, and just written off as a no-go, which is probably why we are in the situation we are in now eight years on.”

The council announced plans for a partial U-turn on the Capita deals in June after a report admitted there were areas of ‘persistent poor performance’ in the outsourcing model.

In April, Capita revealed it had posted a £500 million pre-tax loss for 2017.

Cllr Peter Zinkin, Conservative member for Child’s Hill, defended the decision to outsource services to Capita.

He said: “The reality is we held council tax down and the services were maintained. And the reason they were maintained is because Capita delivered the services at a lower cost.”

The Labour councillors’ recommendation was approved, and officers will draw up full business cases for both reshaping and scrapping the deals.

These are expected to come before the next meeting of the policy and resources committee on October 3.