Political bloggers have written to the council to demand answers on why safeguards were left out of major outsourcing contracts.

The “Barnet Bloggers” have called for an urgent review of Barnet Council’s contracts with Capita following revelations the firm did not provide control reports as part of its deals with the local authority.

They claim these safeguards were part of the council’s original contracts with the firm and should have been put in place.

It comes after a £2 million fraud against the council by a Capita employee and ongoing problems with pensions and payroll administration.

At a meeting of the council’s audit committee on May 1, a representative from external auditor BDO said outsourcers typically provide a ‘control report’ that is checked by an independent auditor to provide assurances that their systems are working properly.

But he added that Capita was “not minded” to provide this safeguard as part of its deals with the council.

As a result, Barnet Council is heavily reliant on an audit carried out by its in-house team to flag up any potential issues with the contracts.

In an email sent to the council’s chief executive and the chairman of the audit committee, the bloggers – John Dix, Theresa Musgrove, Roger Tichborne and Derek Dishman – branded it an “astonishing response” from Capita

Their email states: “As bloggers who have closely followed and reported the story of Barnet’s partnership with Capita, we are deeply concerned about this situation and alarmed that neither the auditor nor committee members were aware that assurance of Capita’s systems is a contractual requirement, and not something that could be provided at their discretion.

“We ask that the council arranges for a forensic review or audit of both Capita contracts to address the contractual failures raised by the external auditor as a matter of the utmost urgency, to be paid for by Capita, before any further decisions are made on what services Capita will continue to provide.

“Failure to do so can only have the most serious consequences for the financial security of this borough, and the wellbeing of all residents.”

Their email demands answers on why Capita did not provide the control reports and why the issue has only just come to light.

Barnet Council signed two major deals with Capita – thought to be worth around £500 million – in a money-saving bid in 2013.

But it recently brought two outsourced services in house and struck a compensation deal with the firm after admitting there were “performance issues” with the contracts.

At the audit committee on May 1, the external auditor admitted that it was “quite possible” that systemic problems that came to light during the fraud investigation could have been picked up had control reports been carried out.

A Barnet Council spokesperson said: “It is important to stress that Capita do provide assurance over their internal systems.

“This is the case for both of the council’s major contracts with Capita, both of which require them to operate an effective system of internal control.

“While Capita does carry out some audits, which are shared with Barnet Council, the audits are not generally specific to Barnet services.

“It was therefore agreed in 2014 that the council’s internal audit team would carry out these audits and charge Capita accordingly.

“Following the review undertaken by Grant Thornton last year, we implemented a number of financial control measures and we continue to assess these.

“The reviews undertaken by our own internal audit team provide us with an understanding of the effectiveness of these controls.

“They also provide us with vital insight on the other controls in place for the services provided by Capita.”