9 September 2011
We are writing to share with you our concerns about the recent decision of the Chief Executive Nick Walkley to erect posters throughout the council offices bearing an ‘Open letter to staff’.
The posters did not contain any new information that was not already conveyed to staff in an email on the same day. Why, therefore, were the posters necessary? What is clear is that at a time when the council is making cuts to valued services, this was an appalling waste of money.
Custodians spent valuable time putting the posters up when they should have been carrying out their normal duties. We are taking steps to find out the cost of these posters and will share the information with residents. We would welcome any light councillors can shed on this and on how the decision to approve the poster strategy was taken.
The overall effect of the posters is surely to further alienate much of the workforce from council management and bring more disastrous PR for the council. If they seemed like a good idea when the decision to use them was taken, surely seeing the effect when the entire council is plastered with identical copies of one poster – only, in different sizes – can only embarrass those who thought of them.
We hope you will agree, the whole poster episode has been ludicrous and ineffective, the impression given that the council management team is starting to panic.
What can be salvaged from this? It is time for the council to recognise that staff will not be bullied into accepting the “One Barnet” outsourcing project. (Our own view is that the programme should be scrapped.)
It is also high time that the council consulted fully and properly with residents over One Barnet. It is scandalous that the representatives of the bidding companies can meet with senior Barnet management, yet the council – neither the leading Conservative group, nor senior council executives – has never appeared in a public forum to justify to residents these plans which will have a profound impact on council services for years to come.
We invite your views on this matter.