21 November 2011

One Barnet = No space to park

It is Saturday when Mr Mustard normally rests and has personal things to do. I still do have to dig up my potatoes ( that bit of the boring blog was true ) but some wag has sent me this picture of two people directing traffic in a private car park and suggested that it could be depicting the Chief Executive, Nick Walkley & friend.

no space to park at NLBP
Nonsense thought Mr Mustard, non-stick Nick is on £200,000 a year, he has much more important things to do with his time than worry about parking spaces, the following for example:

The consultation on the Business Plan & Budget for 2012 to 2015.

The survey about Adults Social Care.

The One Barnet programme to outsource everything possible,

and last but not least why the council decided in June to go on the offensive and try to secretly attack Mr Mustard via the office of the Information Commissioner for not registering under the Data Protection Act ( when he didn't need to ). If this attack, which drew on European Law (Case C-101/01 Criminal Proceedings against Bodil Lindvist ("ECJ Case C-101/01) which goes back to 2004, had been successful then every blogger in the land would have had to be registered or stop blogging to avoid a fine. One would think that the council might have stopped to wonder why every blogger who had started blogging since 2004 had not registered?

This reflection would include their very own Councillor Robert Rams whose rather dry blog is mostly about Barnet Council but also about other matters not related to his private and family life. 
Rams is registered under the DPA ( like all councillors ) in order to deal with the business of his constituents but not for any other reason, so not for blogging.

Mr Mustard notices that Rams first blogged on 3 March a whole week before Mr Mustard who started on 10 March. Why on earth didn't Barnet Council go for him first; does anyone have any idea?

Now back to the thorny parking problem. Mr Mustard has been sent the weekly message from more than one source and here it is.

From: First Team
Sent: 18 November 2011 14:40
To: AllStaff
Subject: Weekly message from the Chief Executive

The matter that has filled my inbox and conversations with staff this week has been parking at NLBP. As someone who travels to NLBP by public transport it’s not an issue I experience first hand, but the combination of more staff on site and greater use of the conference facilities has created a real problem.

I also know that a small number of staff are now parking in side streets. It’s clearly not acceptable for us to be inconveniencing our residents, so action needs to be taken.

First Team will set out the short-term actions agreed to ease parking pressure but we also now need to find a longer-term solution. The challenge is to find a solution that ensures:

staff are not redirected to side-streets
the cost to the taxpayer for staff parking is minimised
staff who need a car as part of providing effective public services are able to go about their business efficiently.

I doubt this is a problem that has one easy solution (and it’s worth reflecting that our car parking provision is greater than most councils) so we intend to work through a series of options and measures to see if we can find a sustainable solution.

First Team will have more detail on Monday and we will keep you informed as proposals are worked up.


If anyone had the right to be "worked up" this week it was Mr Mustard, but when the failed secret ICO mission was uncovered he wasn't worried as he could pay the proposed fine and really he just thought it a bit sad that the council had resorted to such steps. It has been described by him as a curious episode and has left him bemused and wondering what the next trick will be.

Anyway, enough about Mr Mustard. Back to the weekly ra ra message ( or is it a brrm brrm message this week ? ).

Mr Mustard thinks that staff are more worried about losing their jobs or being pushed into a call centre which isn't fit for purpose. The idea that a call centre can deal with council tax, exemptions, council tax benefit, council tax summonses and liability orders, adult social services, parking tickets, recycling, rubbish collection etc etc etc  is just unworkable. The call centre will have to be segmented like an orange ( a lemon really, but they don't have segments ) and then it won't be a call centre. It will be a collection of specialist departments sitting in one room.

The thing is that staff probably don't or won't talk to the Chief Executive about the insecurity of their jobs and the whole One Barnet outsourcing nonsense as he doesn't listen ( is what I am told ) and he is hardly likely to drop One Barnet because a few, or even loads of, staff ask him to. That is just to mark yourself out as a troublemaker and find yourself by some mysterious coincidence looking at a P45.

I suppose the Chief Executive wants some brownie points for going to work by public transport. Mr Mustard's question is how does he then get to meetings? chauffeur driven car, taxis, the bus, cadges a lift from staff? Mr Mustard expects that someone will answer this question in the comments box.

If there is greater use of the conference facilities then isn't extra income coming in which would cover the cost of the extra parking spaces that the college no longer use, or are there just more pointless meetings?

If a "small number" of staff are parking in side roads then why is this such a huge problem that needs the attention of the Chief Executive? ( surely the staff are parking considerately where there happens to be a space which is unrestricted and available to any member of the public ). The biggest problem with parking is that the council increased the cost of residents' permits from £40 to £100 ( for the first car ) and for visitor vouchers from £1 to £4. Now that's what Mr Mustard calls a problem and it was one of the two reasons why he started this blog.The other was that Residents Forums are so undemocratic.

Here is a simple way to reduce costs to cover the cost of renting extra parking spaces ( and how long before North London Business Park is devoid of people once the outsourcers have moved all the jobs to Bangalore ) is for executive pay to be capped at £100,000. Job done.

A typical Barnet Council statement. "Our car parking provision is greater than most councils". A statement for which no supporting figures were provided or could easily be found on the Internet.

More detail on Monday. Mr Mustard can't wait.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. "it’s worth reflecting that our car parking provision is greater than most councils"

    That's because its interest in improving public transport must be amongst the lowest of all councils.

  2. Lord Mustard of Barnet - Superblogger extraordinaire

    Dear your Lordship,

    It has not escaped the notice of us in the cheap seats (who call napkins serviettes, and who drink mild after playing shove-halfpenny, rather gin and tonics after goff) that your blog now has the above-mentioned name.

    It is a hidden name, but shows your station in life on other blogs, like Barnet Eye.

    One hopes you do not over-claim on expenses in the House of Lords.

  3. Dear baarnett

    The blog change name is Roger's joke and Mr Mustard will play along ( Lord is in any case a forename that is quite common in the West Indies along with Prince, Prince Roger has a lovely ring to it )

    As you well know baarnett, bloggers, whether super or otherwise, claim no expenses whatsoever and in Mr Mustard's case he is equally happy with either a glass of mild or a G&T or both at once!

    What is a napkin by the way?


I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.