Protest over Barnet Council privatised services

Protest bus
Image caption Protesters say the council is risking £1bn of public money

A protest has been held in north London over a council's decision to privatise some of its services.

Barnet Council's One Barnet Programme includes plans to privatise up to 70% of services, residents warn.

They claim that nationally a quarter of such schemes have ended in failure. A protest parade ended in a "celebration of public services" in Victoria Park.

The council argued the programme was necessary due to a reduction in its grant from central government.

Barnet Alliance for Public Services, which organised the event, said a study by the European Services Strategy Unit found 25% of public outsourcing schemes had failed or gone seriously wrong.

'Wide-ranging programme'

A spokeswoman said: "You wouldn't risk buying a car if there were a 25% chance the wheels would fall off.

"So why are Barnet Council risking over £1 billion of our money on the One Barnet Programme?"

A council spokesman said: "The One Barnet programme will allow us to make the necessary savings to cope with a £43m reduction in our government grant while protecting front line services for residents.

"The programme is fairly wide-ranging and includes a lot of early intervention work.

"But the protesters are largely objecting to the outsourcing of back office functions like HR and payroll."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites