16 May 2011

Musical chairs - One Barnet rules apply

Remember when you were young and would play this game and get a bit giddy running around and need some nice E number filled orange cordial to calm you down. Well Barnet Council have their own new improved version of the game where everyone moves around but they all still have a chair at the end.

I think there must be an ant infestation at Barnet Council as the staff just can't keep still ( and I bet it isn't the worker ants who are asking to move )

So here is a cut and paste of the Delegated Powers Report on the subject ( in blue ) with my comments in red as usual:-


Subject : Single Tender Action. Contract for the appointment of MJW Office Moves Ltd as
a Council vendor.
Summary : To provide office moves and refurbishment capability to the remaining phases of the Accommodation Project (TAP). 
Officer Contributors : John Bailey – Project Manager
Colin Attree – Head of Corporate Procurement
Status (public or exempt) : Public
Wards affected : All

Reason for exemption from call-in : N/A
Contact for further information: John Bailey, Project Manager for the Accommodation on 020
8359 3008 or john.e.bailey@barnet.gov.uk
Serial No. 1226
1.1 Cabinet Resources Committee of 19 January 2008 (decision item 6) approved the Capital, Asset and Property Strategy.
1.2 General Functions Committee of 5 August 2009 (decision item 7) approved the proposed restructure of the Corporate Senior Management team and responsibilities as detailed in the public and the exempt reports. This included the creation of the Commercial Director post with responsibility for the formation and leadership of the new consolidated property and assets function.
2.1 The 2010/2013 corporate priority ‘Better services with less money’ is relevant as the Accommodation Project (TAP) will reduce LBB expenditure on corporate buildings by maximising the effective usage of the current office accommodation estate. ( The speed that One Barnet staff are being taken on makes me doubt that there will be any spare office space )
3.1 The employment of a professional office moves contractor mitigates against project identified risks, including the following:
 Potential poor planning of move schedules and related project dependencies ( does it; what because otherwise the Council would do it itself and mess it up - please - this is just tosh to pad out the report )
 Potential failure to meet essential project and Service area timetables and deadlines. ( timetables - deadlines - is this why Council Tax bills are late this year )
 Potential poor management of other moves related contracted services (e.g. building contractors, furniture suppliers etc.), resulting in poor value for money ( rubbish - you build first, then you call off the pre-ordered furniture which suppliers are happy to store for a large regular customer - they will even design your office for you - where have you been )
 Inadequate space planning and design expertise, resulting in office space that is not fit for purpose ( an admission that the Council have no idea )
 Non-compliance with building regulations, Health & Safety requirements, landlord approvals and other statutory requirements. ( just read the rules; simples )
 Poor post move support and snagging issue resolution  ( post move support; who writes this drivel )
3.2 I have considered whether the issues involved are likely to raise significant levels of public concern or give rise to policy considerations. I consider they do not. ( oh yes they do, spending of this magnitude always raises public concern )
4.1 The compression and improvement of office accommodation according to the Estates Strategy will ensure that the range and location of assets fits the changing way our customers want and need to access our services. ( your customers want you to spend money sensibly - not to keep playing this game of moving office )
4.2 The TAP Strategy has been developed in line with the Council’s equalities and diversity policies. ( naturally )
5. USE OF RESOURCES IMPLICATIONS (Finance, Procurement, Performance & Value for Money, Staffing, IT, Property, Sustainability)
5.1 The negotiations around the contracting of MJW Office Moves Ltd have ensured best value in terms of rates and represent a projected saving (by Accommodation Project end) in excess of £3,000 in comparison with agency rates previously achieved. The all-inclusive rate will be £425 per day with no expenses to be payable. ( if this simple logical job had been advertised locally there would have been a stampede of applicants at between £100 and £200 per day. A £3,000 saving on a spend of £90,000 is nothing to crow about. It looks like a made up figure )
5.2 Due to the extensive knowledge of existing LBB office accommodation sites, contracting MJW Office Moves Ltd can ensure there is no change or disruption to existing working patterns within either the Accommodation Project or Service areas. ( jobs for the boys then )
5.3 Costs (for all work contracted by the Accommodation Project) will be contained within that project’s allocated capital budget. ( even if it is excessive )
6.1 None, save as contained within the body of the report. ( what about this being quasi employment and not paying PAYE ? )
7.1 The Council constitution in Part 3, Responsibility for Functions, paragraph 6.1 states that Chief Officers can take decisions in all matters where they have managerial or professional authority; and to authorise and accept quotations for contracts to the limits placed on Chief Officers by Contract Procedure Rules for approved schemes with sufficient estimate provision. ( more's the pity )
7.2 The Council constitution in Part 3, responsibility for function, paragraph 6.2 states that Chief Officers can discharge their functions including placing contracts and procuring other resources within or outside the Council.( this looks like the last paragraph )
7.3 Contract Procedure Rules Paragraph 6.11 allow for the Commercial Director to make single source decisions without going to competitive tender, where satisfied, following the making of suitable investigations, that there is only one supplier in the market for the required supplies/services/works. 
( a £90,000 contract really should be tendered; MJW are the only supplier of this service in the whole wide world - pull the other one )This is subject to compliance with the Authorisation and Acceptance procedures. In this respect, following the making of suitable investigations, MJW Ltd is the only one supplier in the market for the required services. And in addition, for reasons specified above in 5.1 - 5.2 and the fact that this change of contractual route has been forced on the council by MJW Ltd current employing agency not joining our new contractual arrangements for agency workers, the single source route is justified. ( never )
7.4 Under Table 5-1 of the Contract Procedure Rules, Director/Head of Service, can authorise and accept contract value of up to £156,442. ( High time this rule was changed )
8.1 As part of the mobilisation process of the new Hays Neutral Vendor contract, Cobalt
Recruitment (the agency previously supplying Office Moves management) have decided not to enter into formal agreement to supply personnel. New provision of Office Moves management for the Accommodation Project is therefore necessary. ( I'll bet there is a story here )
8.2 Included within the scope of works previously carried out via the Agency provision from Cobalt Recruitment, which will now be undertaken as part of this contract by MJW Office Moves Ltd (via the Accommodation Project) are: ( Cobalt Recruitment Ltd are applying to strike themselves off at Companies House )
 Planning of all move schedules and timetables ( as instructed )
Liaison and detailed discussion with all relevant Services representatives and team managers as appropriate ( talk to people - that's hard )
 To work in close collaboration with TAP Project Manager, Change Managers and IT Personnel to plan and implement all office refurbishments, furniture installations and staff moves ( still not very difficult )
 Preparation and provision of necessary reports and other documentation as required for reporting to TAP Project Manager/Board ( write reports - how dull )
 Sourcing, procurement, management, scheduling, administration and invoicing for required contractors, suppliers and products ( buy things with other people's money - very easy )
 Space planning, design, procurement and invoicing of all furniture  ( decide where to put a desk or two )
Plan, design, scheduling and management of building, fit-out and refurbishment works ( decide where partitions will go )
 To ensure compliance standards for Landlord approvals, building regulations, H&S compliances and other statutory requirements ( all statutory so just follow the rules )
 Management of contract installation and removals team ( tell someone else what to do )
 Liaison with LBB Property, Asset Management and Facilities Departments ( repetition of what was said earlier )
 Post move on site Facilities and support where necessary ( fix any snags )
 Other relevant activities as instructed by TAP Project Board ( anything we forgot )
9.1 None
I authorise the following action
10.1 To establish MJW Offices Moves Ltd as a direct vendor to be used on an as and when basis as required to manage office moves and related works. ( as and when, that's £35,450 to you guvnor in the first quarter, so at £425 a day that is 83 days of work )
10.2 That a maximum provision of £90,000 from the TAP existing budget and a maximum contract duration of 1 year be applied to this contractual arrangement ( think of a number and see if anyone checks it at year end )

Signed Signed by Craig Cooper
Commercial Director ( un-commercial do I hear you cry ? )

Now there are some funny things about this contract. It is signed off on 11 January 2011 but the first payment is for £2,125 on 25.10.2010 - a bit early, what.

Then there are the vast amount of moves that have taken place in the first quarter of 2011. Let us look at the list :-

# of Staff
E&O, Management
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, Parking Team
B4 2nd to B4 1st floor Holding Area
E&O, Greenspaces, Waste & Sustainability teams
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
ASSD, Ballards Lane staff
B2 1st floor to B4 1st floor
Commercial Services
B4 1st floor to B2 1st floor
PHR, Planning
B2 1st floor to B4 1st floor
E&O, CIU Team
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, Greenspaces, Waste & Sustainability
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, Traffic & Development
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, CIU moves
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
PHR, Building Control
B2 1st floor to B4 1st floor
E&O, Admin staff
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O,  Traffic Dev reshuffle, Parking Finance
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, Trading Standards
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, PIT Team
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
Chief Exec, PBS Team
B4 1st floor to B2 1st floor
E&O – remaining Network Mgmt Team, Drugs & Alcohol team
B4 2nd floor to new location along the floor
E&O, Parking Team
B4 1st floor to B4 2nd floor
Chief Exec, FYI Team from Childrens to Customer Service
B4 Grd floor to B4 1st floor
ASSD, Ballards Lane staff
B4 1st floor to new location along the floor

Sorry Mr Mustard managed to cut the end off his blog earlier and has just noticed and will do it again now from memory.

Now it costs £35,450 just to manage these moves by the looks of it. On top of these One Barnet musical chairs costs there will probably be some vehicle or equipment hire, crate hire, computer and telecoms moving costs, loss of productive time for staff ( Parking moved out at the end of January and back to the same office 6 weeks later. Is this why it was taking them 20 minutes to answer the phone - they couldn't find where they had put it ? ) temporary labour etc etc

Interestingly Mr Martin Willoughby of MJW Office Moves Ltd is also provided with a loan of a LBB tablet PC despite being a contractor and earning enough to buy his own computer and he gets to use a touch-down desk ( it would be better if it was a take-off desk ? ). He looks more like an employee every day. Wouldn't it be better to simply hire a better value employee to do this routine job and they would cost about the same for a year as this contractor costs in 3 months.

Hopefully one day the game of musical chairs will stop and all contractors will stangely find that they are no spare seats.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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