20 June 2011

Guess the number of sweets in the jar.

Today, another game. I expect you remember this one from the village fête. A clear container would be full of sweets, or marbles or beans or some such regular roundish object and you bought a ticket and had to guess how many items were in the jar. The nearest to the correct number won.

In Barnet, that is far to easy a game. The container in Barnet is the Council's coffers and they are not of course transparent. They used to contain pound coins but they have all been given away to leaving employees - this is the "guess how much money Barnet Council gave away as compensation for loss of office in the year to 31 March 2011 game". Not a very catchy title I would agree and not a game but very serious for those affected and if you bought a ticket ( they are no longer a shilling and instead of raffle tickets they are now called Council Tax Demands - or snaffle tickets ? ) you can have a go.

Now you sir what do you say :

£5 - be serious now, try again
£50 - come on, look at the size of those coffers
£506 - hardly enough to pay off the tea boy now he has been automated
£5,060 - probably enough for one leaver
£50,600 - that's most of a department gone - I do hope we don't need them still
£506,000 - now you are getting warmer but there is still some way to go
£5,060,000 - what's that madam, you were only joking, you can't quite believe that Barnet Council decided to employ so many people that they suddenly don't need any longer.
Oh hang on, here's a late entry £7,607,000 - ah, you played last year didn't you young man. 

So shockingly, Barnet Council paid out a total of £5,060,000 in redundancy money in the year ended 31 March 2011 which means that either they had a load of staff sitting around doing absolutely nothing and/or they have outsourced a load of posts which will probably ultimately not save anything and/or they have let a number of useful employees go and/or no-one in management plans properly for the future.

This is how the Council describe it in the unaudited Accounts to 31/3/2011.
45.Termination Benefits
The Authority terminated the contracts of a number of employees in 2010/11, incurring liabilities of £5.060m (£7.607m in 2009/10). Of this total, £0.531m is payable to 6 Directors, in the form of compensation for loss of office and enhanced pension benefits of £0.224m, as disclosed in Note 35. The remaining £4.305m is payable to other officers who were made redundant as part of the Authority’s rationalisation of the Service.

So let's think, £7million of rationalisation in 2009/10 and £5million more in 2010/11 and millions more to come ?

When will Barnet Council be rationalised ?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Nick Walkley

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