When will we find the Capita Contract in Birmingham?
Capita plc, commonly known as Capita, is an international business process outsourcing and professional services company headquartered in London. If you want to know what that means it means that they’re a bit like Sodexo but with more computers and less cake, a bit like G4S but with more questionnaires and less security guards and a bit like OCP in Robocop but with slightly more ambition and less quality control.
Birmingham is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands of England. It is the largest and most populous British city outside London, with a population in 2014 of 1,101,360. Birmingham City Council is the biggest local authority in Europe — not for once the second — and has a duty to provide services to the citizens of Birmingham. Traditionally cities used to employ people but nobody made any money out of it so now they sell off activities to service companies who can bid for them.
Birmingham City Council has a contract with Capita a ‘joint enterprise’ called Service Birmingham to deliver “service improvement and IT”, so phone calls, and library websites for one million pounds, computer things like websites and mouse mats and dot matrix printers and new websites and PCs and Lotus Notes and web portals and phone upgrades and the dongles and those USB sticks that used to be very expensive but you can get cheap now. We think.
When you’ve finally found the Capita contract. pic.twitter.com/j7ozRsTUVw
— AlbertBore Reactions (@ABoreReactions) October 8, 2015
The burden of employment is one that has not sat well with Birmingham City Council in these years of neoliberalism: and perhaps it’s best that it doesn’t handle the contracts seeing as the equal pay bill is still crippling the finances. But if something is worth doing, you can bet that capitalism has a way of doing it much worse while charging more than it would have cost to do it yourself.
Due to commercial confidentiality, when the Capita contract was released by the council it was heavily redacted. To tell you the truth we’d forgotten that had happened and we often do gags about it being ‘lost’ and people seem to dig them.