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The shambles that wrecks lives

Outsourcing council services can really hurt
Jody Whitehill, Monday, July 13th, 2015

More than 30 Unite Community activists and local residents protested outside an ex Unite shop steward’s house today (Monday July 13) to stop bailiff’s evicting him and his severely disabled daughter.


Paul Rooney gave up work as a social work manager to look after his 14-year-old daughter Roisin, who has a brain tumour and a chromosome disorder and as a result, physical and learning disabilities.


Paul owns his house but Liberata, which runs the council tax collection service on behalf of Bromley Council, claim that he allegedly owes over £2,000 in council tax.


Unite said that Liberata made mistakes in processing Paul’s application for council tax benefit, which resulted in the council tax not being paid on time.


“Bromley Council’s notoriously bad outsourced council tax collection service has repeatedly messed up the processing of Paul’s council tax, and now his home is threatened with repossession today,” said Pilgrim Tucker, Unite’s London Community coordinator.


It is alleged that Liberata has also tacked on £49,000 in solicitors fees to what Paul is meant to owe.


“This is a horrific case that is inhumane and proves that the outsourcing of council services to the private sector is a shambles and they should be brought back in house immediately,” added Pilgrim.


Bromley Council is reducing the number of council employees from 4,000 to just 300 – despite having £130m in reserves. Unite’s council members recently staged a fourth strike over the council’s plans.


“This appalling instance just reinforces the case that Unite has repeatedly made that privatising council services has been a horrendous mistake,” said Onay Kasab, Unite regional official who represents members at the council.


Paul and his daughter are now waiting to see if their eviction will be temporarily halted by a judge at Croydon crown court either later on today (Monday July 13) or tomorrow morning.



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