Councillors in Barnet have finalised plans to bring five more services that were previously outsourced to Capita back under the town hall’s control.

Highways, recruitment, regeneration, procurement and regulatory services will all be handed back to the council by 2023.

A report presented to the town hall’s policy and resources committee on Thursday claimed returning the services would be “affordable” and would not “result in additional costs to the council in delivering those services”.

Barnet Council signed two major contracts with Capita in 2013, handing over a range of key local services to the outsourcing giant in a move designed to save money.

An anti-Capita sign outside Hendon Town Hall in June 2019

An anti-Capita sign outside Hendon Town Hall in June 2019

But the deals have been heavily criticised by opposition councillors following a string of problems, including a £2 million fraud against the council by former Capita contractor Trishul Shah.

Four services, including finance and strategic human resources, have already been brought back in-house, while management of pensions was handed from Capita to the West Yorkshire Pension Fund in 2020 after The Pensions Regulator fined the local authority for poor data management and collection.

The latest insourcing move will see the council’s back-office recruitment service return to the town hall’s control in February 2022. The four remaining services will return to the council when the deals with Capita expire during 2023.

Capita will keep hold of six services: IT, customer services, revenues and benefits, land charges, building control, and planning and development control. Four more services will stay with Capita for one or two years pending a further review of the contracts.

Members of the policy and resources committee unanimously backed the report during Thursday’s meeting. It will now be sent to full council, which is expected to approve the insourcing plans.

In a statement issued in November, a joint spokesperson for Barnet Council and Capita said the services had been reviewed “to ensure that they continue to deliver the best possible service for people in Barnet”.

The spokesperson added that the council was “committed, with the support of its service partners, to delivering top-quality services that make the borough a better place to live, work and study for all”.