Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Monday, 10 June 2013

Questions on the DRS

Here are my written questions on the DRS contract, to be debated Tuesday 11th June 2013 7 PM at Hendon Town Hall.

1) What action will be taken to mitigate against residents with protected characteristics being unable to access web based services?
2) What use is improved data collection for concerns about potholes if there is nothing that can apparently be done to mitigate against these concerns?
3) To whom does responsibility for the provisions within the contract fall if the Council is abolished or ceases to exist?
4) If the parent company suffers financial distress, how can it provide securities, much less find funds to secure a bond?
5) If the parent company collapses, but the Joint venture is still financially robust, what will the impact be on the Joint venture?
6) Can shares in the JV be sold by either side, and does the Council have control over whom to?
7) If CSL pull out of the contract, are there financial penalties for them accruing to the Council?
8) If service levels underperform and the Council consequently reduces payments, will payments for the service areas be reduced?
9) What are the change provisions within the contract to deal with policy changes?
10) When was it first decided that the preferred option for the DRS was to undertake a joint venture?
11) When was the leader of the Council told the preferred delivery model was a JV? When did he agree to it?
12) What details are specified under 6.17, Annex 1?
13) What happens if CSL find they cannot deliver the DRS program on the funds allocated? If the Council decides they will not provide more funds, and the contract is terminated, is the fault on the part on CSL, and will Barnet Council receive compensation?
14) Are there other circumstances than above where Barnet Council will receive compensation from CSL on termination of the contract?
15) If it becomes Council policy to become a Fair Trade Council, or a Living Wage council, will the DRS JV be covered by those policies?
16) What form will the “Barnet Observatory” take?
17) Is CSL obligated to hand over a viable organisation under all circumstances, including acrimonious dispute?
18) How will CSL decide who stays as part of their organisation and who goes back to Barnet Council at the end of the contract?
19) Will all staff be dedicated to Barnet Council, or will they be shared with other JV clients?
20) Will current Barnet staff TUPE’d to CSL, who serve the duration of the 10 year contract be re-TUPE’d back at the end?
21) Why does the Council have to set up a wholly owned subsidiary?
22) Who will be on the Board of directors of the Wholly owned subsidiary?
23) Can the Wholly owned subsidiary be sold, either in part or full?
24) Who will be on the partnership board of the JV?
25) Who will be on the Directory board of the JV?
26) Is it not the case that the system that offers the greatest level of control, transparency and confidence to other potential public sector partners is the Council itself?
27) If the 2010 options appraisals saying that a JV carried a higher level of risks was wrong, and that a strategic partnership should be preferred; Is it not possible that the current recommendations are wrong, and subject to revision?
28) is there not an inherent risk that Barnet Council staff, who are public sector workers, do not wish to work in the private sector and do not feel comfortable with profit maximisation as a consideration in their work?
29) The EIP recognises staff maybe unused to touting for business, and the mitigation will be training. How does that deal with the underlying risk that some Council staff will not be comfortable with being salespeople?
30) Why does Table 3.2 state the Council has “limited commercial ability to deliver the higher levels of income that would help meet the Council’s financial objectives” when most of the proposals are simply to raise fees on existing paid for services?
31) If one of the aims of the Contract is to create “a new relationship with citizens” then why have they not been consulted?
32) How is CSL making profit out of this contract?
33) What in the contract is undeliverable by an in house bid, none of which has yet been considered?
34) If members do not agree to charge and fee rises, how is that dealt with? Are CSL still guaranteed to deliver savings?
35) Why are 30 extra staff needed in year 1 only of the contract?
36) What are the cost reductions identified in Table 8.2 (Appendix 1)?
37) Why are the other 4 income increases identified in Table 8.2 (Appendix 1) undeliverable by the Council alone?
38) Why is there only a guarantee that the contract will not be signed during the Alcatel period, and not before the JR is finished in Table 9.5?
39)Why is recruitment for the commissioning board being undertaken before Councillors have had a chance to scrutinise, let alone agree the contract?
40) How will costs to customers be “minimised” under 1.2.4 (Appendix 2) when the entire project consists of fee rises?
41) Any “Profit” the JV makes is shared with CSL and subject to dividends. Can it be confirmed that that is not the case with an in house model?
42) What is the total value of the contract?
43) If there is another recession, can CSL claim it as an excuse for not delivering on business growth KPI’s or are they set in stone?