CAMDEN’s housing chief Meric Apak is continuing to argue the case for insourcing to get proper consideration as an option for council works contracts. The tangled web around the disastrous Chalcots PFI has led to a bit more interest in using in-house – and, in theory, more accountable – workers ahead of private contractors.
He has many key minds at the Town Hall to convince on his ‘four year plan’, but he certainly does not alone among the ruling Labour group with this view. That said, it was interesting that supporters of the ideas in both the local unions and among like-minded councillors did not follow up his ripple-causing interview in the New Journal last month with letters of agreement in the following weeks, to keep up the momentum (small m). Maybe we wil hear more during conference season, but at the moment so much more is often said when the mic is off.
In the end, it was a more unlikely source that followed the story up: Westminster councillor Tony Devenish, who in his role as a London Assembly member asked Sadiq Khan no less whether he agreed with Cllr Apak. He name checked the Camden councillor in an official question and raised the colourful quote about foxes guarding hens in relation to private companies monitoring their own work.
Perhaps this was an opportunity for Mr Khan to shout out from the rooftops that he was in favour of a new way of doing things, to possibly endorse an insourcing revolution. But Mr Devenish must have caught him at a busy moment. A dry as a desert one line reply came back.