5 September 2011

A history lesson - Back to the Future

Mr Mustard was not bothered about Barnet Council in 2008 and so he decided to read up about Future Shape - the forerunner of One Barnet. 

Cabinet agreed the establishment of the Future Shape of the Organisation programme at its meeting on 6 May (2008)

This blog takes as its base the report presented to Cabinet on 3 December 2008 and roughly half of the councillors who were at that meeting are still councillors. If you want to read the whole report you will find it here.
Summary:
The report proposes a model for the Council and its partners that will enable them to work more closely and effectively to respond to the needs and aspirations of people in Barnet and to translate these into priority outcomes, the delivery of which will significantly improve the quality of citizens’ lives and their experience of public service in the borough.
It is Mr Mustard who underlined and made bold the phrase "significantly improve". Mr Mustard has lived in Chipping Barnet for 15 years and worked there for 24 and he must have been preoccupied because he has not noticed that the borough has significantly improved in that time. If any councillors are reading, especially any from the drinks cabinet, would you please email mrmustard@zoho.com and tell him what significant improvements he has failed to spot since 2008.
Officer contributors:
Richard Grice, Future Shape Programme Director
Jenny Coombs, Transforming Service Delivery Director
Max Wide, Executive Director, Organisational Development
Claire Johnston, Programme Manager
Clive Medlam, Director of Resources
Jeff Lustig, Director of Corporate Governance

Half of these people are still at the council; perhaps no-one else wants them? 

Looking at Jenny Coombs's profile on LinkedIn her claims include: 
"Introducing and embedding a customer ethic". 
Mr Mustard thinks they have forgotten Jenny what you taught them at Barnet Council.

Finance: Cabinet are recommended to approve the use of balances to meet the one-off cost of £250,000 from December 2008 to June 2009.
Mr Mustard misses Future Shape. Only £1m p.a. Cheap at half the price. The bastard son of Future Shape, One Barnet, is a needy little sucker.

Property: Working with both commercial and strategic partners will have an impact on our office accommodation requirements. It is likely that benefits will be realised across the estate of the Council and its strategic partners, but until further work is done with partners as part of the next phase of the programme it is not possible to estimate the exact impact. It is clear though that the Future Shape and Accommodation Programmes will have to work closely together in order to ensure timescales match and to maximise benefits for the borough. Someone has forgotten this as part of the deal for outsourcing includes giving some of the offices on North London Business Park away rent free for a year or two. The first rule of negotiation - don't give anything away for nothing.
Performance and value for money: A business case will be developed for each specific change proposed to both the Council and the delivery of its services, with the recommended option being that which offers value for money for the Council and Barnet’s citizens and customers. Risk to performance will be considered as part of all business cases. Has anyone seen a business case proposal that wasn't simply getting a private company to carry out the service?
It is not therefore the aim of the Future Shape programme to simply outsource the services that are currently provided. Doing this will not lead to savings at the required level, nor to the improvements in the ability of services to deliver better outcomes. The capacity that the programme aims to develop is to be able to reconfigure public services so that they fit the lives of residents, and can continue to adapt to the changing needs of people in Barnet.
Oh yes it is! Outsource almost everything.
The model below illustrates in crude terms, the current, silo based approach to service delivery.

click to enlarge: back to return
Mr Mustard thinks that the silo approach makes sense. Do what you are good at, its called specialisation.
The model has served the Council well but is approaching the end of its useful life in terms of its ability to deliver the services people need and to produce savings.
No evidence was produced for the above statement.

Taking the idea of a strategic Council, a capacity vehicle and a different approach to service provision produces a model that may look like this: but there again it may not!