7 September 2011

Was that £1,000 a day well spent?

So Mr Mustard brought you the end of term school report for Mr Traversty a little while ago and here we are after the whole of August as a summer holiday and the start of term report is already out. How the days rush by. Mr Mustard saw Mr Traversty in action this evening at the Audit Committee ( Mr Mustard uses the term "action" in its most inactive form ) with a lot of crossed arms, staring out of the window, hiding behind his hand and leaving the room and occasionally saying something which fortunately wasn't all that audible otherwise Mr Mustard would have had to listen to it. 

Doubtless it was along the lines of previous failures, lessons learnt, the future is bright, the future is orange ( well his school report is and red as well ) we must let audit do their job, 80% of  contracts are compliant ( 20% non-complaint is an awful lot ) committed to something or other and later he stepped in to tell the audit committee that they really didn't want the list of non-compliant contracts that they had just asked for. You may have got away with it for now but that item will be back on the next agenda.

So here is the report for April to June 2011:-

click to enlarge: back to return

Mr Mustard wonders what the budget for red ink is as Barnet Council seem to get through a lot of it. Interestingly at public committee meetings the public have to make do with reports in unreadable shades of grey whilst in front of them are Assistant Directors with reports in pretty colours . Has an Equalities Assessment been carried out ?

So looking at yet another terrible report for the Deputy Chief Executive ( £1,000  a day remember ) and Mr Mustard expects perfection for this salary level. 

In case you don't know SMT on page one = Senior Management Team or was it senile not senior; sorry can't remember.

Just look at the achievements. Accounts closed faster; irrelevant achievement, you just have to beat the government target. Its only bean-counting, not that hard really. Oh no, another SAP report, this time a self service on management information. As Clive Anderson asked Jeffrey Archer "is there no beginning to your talents" Is there anything that SAP can do?

Civica, who provide a parking service get a mention. We have to guess that it is to do with their council tax software. This report glosses over the fact that there was no system for 10 weeks.

The top 3 issues are all failings of management.

A Finance Directorate away day is a top action. Mr Mustard wonders if it was at the Sandbanks Hotel? He will find out.

On page 2 he reads that One Barnet has become "resource intensive" i.e. we can't keep up. It's a hungry baby that wants feeding all the time and we don't know if it will turn into a responsible adult or a chav.

Ooh look, the budget has been increased as early as month 3 and already the service is over budget by £19,000 and really by £159,000 ( £140,000 of reserves have already been snaffled ).

Page 3, several delays, gently savaged by Cllr Cooke this evening , only some success in the new council tax software ( isn't Pericles the old name? ) and a red status and will only be amber next time. Not good enough.

On page 4 sickness days remain high. Staff are sick of change for no benefit?

On page 5 managers are not doing the job of managing. How hard can it be to fill in a statistical return?

15% of staff have no objectives! What do they do all day? 
23% of staff not appraised! How do they know how they are doing?
This is very poor management.

This pay bill variance must exclude consultants as otherwise it would probably be 50% over budget. 

Bottom of page 5. Start of a new block which really should have been moved to page 6 to make the report easier to read. 

Page 6. Council not doing at all well on employing the disabled in this service.

Over achievement. There are 397 permanent employees whereas there should only be 365! Is this report rubbish?Oh no, its the temps in Revenues and Benefits messing up the figures. However, Mr Mustard does not think that these "temps" are "established posts" ?

Permanent posts are still only 80%. No way to run an operation with 20% non-permanent staff; no continuity.
There are 5 new employee relations cases.

Page 7. Who said we need a flexible workforce to meet service demand. The demand should be pretty stable and if that were true for the workforce then the service would be better and maybe some more green ink could be ordered.

Red faced & green as grass all at once.

Why are we paying £1,000 a day for such poor performance?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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