With a long-term contract worth £750million up for grabs one can expect a bit of interest as there is money to be made. Barnet doesn't seem to be universally popular though as some potential suppliers have walked away.
Staff were sent this email:
"We’ve now finished our first round of dialogue meetings and the whole dialogue team is enthused about the energy and commitment that bidders have put into the process so far. If Mr Mustard was heading the bidding team for a contract worth £750m he would be enthused beyond belief at the prospect of a £1m bonus for bringing in the work.
Round two begins next week and will focus on financial and commercial issues. No mention of what round one focused on.
The first round of due diligence meetings also finished this week. That will probably be due diligence by providers on Barnet and could be why some left as they don't like cans of worms?
At these meetings, bidders asked James Wills-Fleming ( anyone heard of him? ) detailed questions about how the corporate programmes function is structured and run. So that they could work out how much fat they could find to chop and how much scope there is to change your terms and conditions of service.
As mentioned previously, seven bidders were invited to participate in the dialogue process. We now have four bidders because three - Avarto UK, CSC Computer Sciences UK and IBM - withdrew prior to their first meeting. The three wise men left.
The four we met with this week are BT, Capita, HCL Axon consortium and Serco. Mr Mustard shuddered when he read 3 of these names. Hand control to faceless corporations. And the fourth, HCL Axon seem to focus on SAP which we have had enough of already.
While the withdrawal of any bidder is regrettable, it is common in competitive dialogue. Bidders search out the easiest and most profitable contracts with the best organised partners. Mr Mustard thinks that there are more efficient local authorities to work with.
Their decisions were strongly influenced by the amount of time, commitment and resource that companies have to commit to the competitive dialogue process, and other competing commercial opportunities. Barnet Council admit that outsourcers are looking to maximise profit - which is at the expense of residents & employees.
Each of the three companies gave the council positive feedback about the way we have run the process." The bidders were careful to be nice to us, whether they meant it or not, as we have a lot more contracts to put on the table which they might want a share of.
Mr Mustard had a quick look on the internet to find out how well these companies had been doing with their outsourcing. Nothing that he found would make him want to sign a contract with any of them.
And of course you read Private Eye and find loads of articles about outsourcing going wrong in the Rotten Boroughs column.
There are no links to articles about HCL Axon because all that could be found were some references to their work on SAP with Tfl, Birmingham CC & York CC. Do they have the ability to run the proposed contract?