7 November 2011

Climbing the Gricey Pole

3 December 2008 Richard Grice's name appears in a report to Cabinet entitled "Future shape of the Council" and he has the title of Future Shape Programme Director.
Thanks to FOI and Mrs Angry the following answer is relevant:

The Chief Executive - Mr Walkley visited the British Telecoms Research Labs in Suffolk in January 2010. During the visit, he had a buffet lunch and coffee. Mr Walkley was accompanied by Mr Travers, Mr. Grice and Mr. Palmer who also had lunch and coffee. ( One of them also asked if there were any jobs going? This day out cost us £2,000+ in salaries! )

Fast forward to a report footnoted as being for Cabinet of 29 November 2010 entitled "Output Specification: Customer Services" which was presented to the Budget and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 22 September 2011. The author & signatory of the first draft was Richard Grice who was by now the Assistant Director - Customer Services.

The companies in the running for the Customer Services Contract include BT.

Barnet Council staff are bound by the following rule:

'should you at any time during the procurement process be approached by one of the participants you shall notify the director of corporate governance and the director of commercial services as soon as possible in writing through the 4ps communication channel ( Mr Mustard think this means by email ) setting out the exact nature of the approach made'' ( If you approach BT is that all right? the rule doesn't say you can't approach them! )

On 28 October Mr Grice left Barnet Council and started working for BT. His linkedin profile already shows that he is the Head of Citizens Services ( one of Mr Mustard's contacts says BT don't have any citizens! they are just a money grubbing supplier - red wording added by Mr Mustard)

So whether or not Mr Grice put in an email or not, there are serious questions of mis-judgment here.

Should Mr Grice have even thought about working for a short-listed supplier? It looks bad even if it is innocuous. How does Mr Grice think the staff left behind feel? the ones who might get made redundant when their job goes to Bangalore ( there is nothing in the proposed contract to stop jobs being moved off-shore ).

What about the relevant Directors who let him go and didn't put him on gardening leave? Jeff Lustig and Craig Cooper. Well Cooper would have had to defer to Lustig as it's a question of governance so why bother saying that Cooper had to be notified in the first place. Mr Mustard will find out and let you know. Stand by in FOI.

One Barnet is controversial. Much as Mr Mustard is delighted to see some of the management leave, the ones which the ICO says he evidently has a low opinion of ( but that is OK as it's fair comment and even Mr Mustard is entitled to freedom of speech despite what Barnet Council might think and any European Law they might dredge up )  this particular person at the very top of one of the outsourcing contracts leaving to join one of the shortlisted bidders leaves an almighty stink behind.

Let's suppose Mr Grice had found a great hole in the numbers which would make the contract  not viable for either BT or the council. Wouldn't he have been tempted to sit on his hands? BT will probably read this post and in all the circumstances realise that the honourable thing to do is to wthdraw from the bidding.

You not only have to be beyond reproach you have to be seen to be beyond reproach.

If any other AD's or Directors have got their CV out with any bidder you might like to think again.

BT's poles are easier to climb

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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