At Full Council last night Westminster Tories rejected a Labour motion that attempted to make the Council’s contracting processes more transparent and accountable, while encouraging it to consider bringing more contracts in house. The Council has been recently rocked by problems with contractors such as Sanctuary Care and Amey, while it closed its under-performing housing ALMO CityWest Homes bringing the staff back in house following campaigns by local residents and Labour.
Westminster Labour Leader Cllr Adam Hug said “Yet again Westminster Conservatives have failed to grasp the nettle to change the broken system of unaccountable outsourcing that has let down our residents too many times.”
Labour’s motion on outsourcing was as follows:
This Council notes the recent decision to bring CityWest Homes back under direct Council control and the recent problems with Council contracting such as Sanctuary Care.
This Council notes and welcomes the recent decision to fulfil the requirements of Living Wage Accreditation. This will reduce the ability of outsourcing companies to slash staff pay and conditions which will limit their capacity to cut costs below that of an in-house provider.
This Council notes the decreasing number of bidders for major contracts and that competition between providers no longer delivers cost savings.
This Council believes that there are benefits for residents to be gained from having Council services under directly accountable democratic control, including greater opportunities for integration and collaboration with other Council services.
This Council resolves to ask the Executive to amend Westminster’s contracting processes to fully consider, where practicable, the option for all Council contracts and services to be delivered in-house when they next come up for renewal or re-tender.
This Council resolves that should the Council wish a service to be delivered by an external company, they must explicitly set out the benefits to the Council and residents of that decision, setting clear benchmarks against which performance can be measured.
This Council resolves to ask the Executive to increase the volume of services delivered directly by Westminster City Council.
The Council resolves to ask the Executive to increase the participation of local SMEs and voluntary sector organisations in Council contracting and procurement, where such contracts are not best delivered in-house.