10 November 2011

More history - Future Shape - 21 October 2009

Carrying on with the history of Future Shape we go back in time to 21 October 2009. You can download the full report from council here, or look at it in the box below ( downloading and printing out is probably easier - 36 pages, item 8 )
Item 8 Future Shape 21 October 2009

Some items are worthy of bringing to your attention.

Page 74, item 3.1.

"Efficiency has always been important to us but when there is even less to go around we have to squeeze all the value we can out of taxpayers' money."

See this story; not much sign of value there?

"Delivery high quality public services in the borough is only possible through partnership between Barnet citizens and the wider public sector" Mr Mustard estimates that 99% of citizens have never heard of One Barnet. It was Mr Mustard who added the emphasis to the word "only". If that statement was true then no council in the country would directly supply any services whatsoever.

P77. Para 6.3 - The Council has signed up in principle to the Code of Practice on Workforce Matters. This was withdrawn by the Government for new contracts from 23 March 2011, see here.

P85. A review by PwC found that 1% of the workforce was directly involved in strategy and another 5% was involved in strategy related tasks. Surely we don't need 6% of the workforce, that is 204 people ( at 31 March 2009 there were 3,491 employees ), to navel gaze? Most services stay the same from one year to the next. There is no great need for fancy strategies.

If we then look at the little table, then we can see that these 204 people use 284 different pieces of software ( it is possible that there is overlap and that actually there are only 96 applications - the real answer is somewhere between the two ). The strategy people evidently didn't have any strategy!

P89. Another 193 people, or 5.8% of staff are engaged on ascertaining people's eligibility for support, and this is comparatively low. This, according to PwC could be improved. Mr Mustard doesn't suppose that this report was why 50+ temps were lobbed into Revenues and Benefits earlier this year.

P93. Para 4.2.

To address the issues identified above, our proposal is to establish a new citizen centric approach to commissioning for the borough, which uses design principles to develop a completely different system. What a load of tosh. Councils exist purely to serve citizens. Everything should always have been designed around citizens. Mr Mustard does not believe for one moment that citizens want fancy systems that revolve around them, they just want each separate service to happen on time. They were almost certainly happy with the system as it was, without spending millions on consultants.

P95 ( number missing at the foot of the page ) - It is therefore proposed that core to a new approach would be the creation of new roles akin to a "life coach". The life coach idea has been prototyped ( Mr Mustard thinks that means a test run ) at the start of this year, at great expense, and we have yet to see it come to fruition ( Mr Mustard knows of someone who would benefit but they will have to be patient - whilst their life is in tatters ).

P99 para 5.2 - It is proposed that access functions ( what the heck are they? ) are consolidated into a single customer service organisation (CSO). So there is another project that has been going for 2 years without really getting anywhere.

P100. Conclusions.

In the paper in July 2009 the Council stated that it had moved away from painting the picture of what the organisation of the future will look like. This paper therefore started from the premise that in order to meet the challenges facing the Council a new relationship with citizens is needed ( a false premise ). This new relationship is required ( no it isn't, it is but one choice ) if we are to protect universal services in the context of significant reductions in public spending. ( The last meeting Mr Mustard was at spoke of not providing universal services in the "Youth Offer" but targeting them, a change of plan then! )

To a degree this will be shaped by our determination to open up the structures, strategies and services of the Council and its partners so that they can be co-created by citizens ( but not provided by the in-house teams that are not allowed to bid ). This paper contains proposals to do that, but it does so in an environment where resources will be substantially reduced, and where we will not be able to give people everything they want. ( Think libraries, museums, youth centres, playing fields, leisure facilities, etc )

P103 Future Shape Programme Board - Now One Barnet Programme Board

The specific role of the Programme Board will be to monitor progress of the overall programme, quality assure high level strategic deliverables, review business cases from the workstreams as they are developed and review and monitor business risks. It is really odd that the Board has not met since March 11 and does not have a date set for the next meeting. A rudderless ship?

P104 Citizens or Customers?

Citizen   Advisory    Groups

The Future Shape Programme impacts a range of people and deals with often complex and competing sets of interests. Deliberative forms of consultation with citizens will be used throughout the implementation phase to help inform decisions. Such consultation will be in the form of Citizen Advisory Groups which will be drawn from service users and the Council’s Citizens Panel. The purpose of these small groups, which will consist of between 12 and 20 individuals, will be to work through proposals arising from the five workstreams, offer advice and make recommendations on the best way forward. ( which will be ignored if they don't suit, or might contain people who have never used the service in question )

Customer Forum

The new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology will allow the programme to identify those citizens who have contacted the council about a particular service and seek their views on any proposed options for services that are being considered. This Customer Forum approach will use online polling and discussion forums to elicit citizens’ views. ( Go on them, ask Mr Mustard about any service he has used; like that special one of the SIRT team where you get reported to the Information Commissioner for not having a Data Protection Licence that you don't need. )
Citizens Panel

The Citizens Panel for Barnet was set up in 1997 and is comprised of approximately 1,250 Barnet residents, selected to be representative of the adult population of the borough. It is regularly used by the Council and on occasion its partners, for one-off quantitative surveys and qualitative research such as deliberative conferences and focus groups and to track changes in residents’ attitudes to particular issues over time.

As part of the Future Shape Programme there will be a major refresh of the citizen’s panel and its membership so that it can be used for routine and rapid polling and testing new approaches to service delivery.
( Which panel was it Mrs Angry that you mysteriously fell off ? )

New councillors, or old ones. Please read this Future Shape report and send Mr Mustard a postcard telling him in 100 words what the devil One Barnet is all about ( think of it as an elevator pitch ).

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard 

1 comment:

  1. yes, I was 'disappeared' from the Citizens Panel, in a stealthy cull of dissidents, at some unknown point ... I take it as a compliment.


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