Business process outsourcing firm Capita, which Barnet Council hired to manage its back office, is responsible for mistakenly cancelling direct debits to Barnet Homes while moving from a manual system to online.
“Barnet homes apologise for any inconvenience that the direct debit error with rents payments this month might have caused some customers,” an official statement from the housing provider claimed.
“We have also made sure we’ve communicated the situation to our customers clearly, including offering alternative payment coupons,” it added.
Although the issue that occurred earlier this month has now been resolved, the company has received criticism for the problems caused.
“This is now the third time that Capita has messed up something that is a completely basic process and it is unacceptable,” claimed leader of the Barnet Labour Group Councillor Alison Moore.
“We’ve seen incorrect pension data being sent out to council pensioners, claw-back of overpayments to school staff and now this.
“People are rapidly losing confidence in Capita’s ability to get even the most basic things right,” she added.
However Conservative Barnet Council leader Councillor Richard Cornelius was slightly more forgiving towards the firm.
“The reality is that issues like this do crop up now and again, whoever provides the service. We once had something similar with council tax when the service was in house,” Cornelius claimed.
“The important thing is that the issue was identified and has been resolved. Capita is saving the taxpayer £1m each and every month,” he added.