3 November 2011

The price of failure

As you know Mr Mustard asks quite a few questions as allowed for under the Freedom of Information legislation. He has the deputy leader's backing to do so ( being deputy leader is such a low profile bag carrying role that I probably need to tell you that the deputy leader is Cllr Daniel Thomas aka by bloggers as John Thomas or Doubting Thomas

Members of the public are entitled to request information and I, of course, do not see anything wrong with that. Cllr D Thomas.

So here is a question and answer that Mr Mustard put in.

Dear Mr Mustard,

I write with our response to your request, received by us on August 30 2011, for the following information:

“Please provide a list of all payments made to GatenbySanderson since 1 April 2009 giving the date and the amount paid.

Please state the service provided for the fee paid and if the fee was for recruiting a person please indicate if the vacant post was filled by a candidate put forward by GatenbySanderson or if their work was fruitless and the post was filled by other means.” 

We have processed this request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA). The information should have been sent out to you within 20 working days. Please accept my apologies on behalf of London Borough of Barnet for the delay in responding.


Doc. Date Net Value Inv No. Member of Staff/Post
28/04/09 7,981.65 5641 Interim Consultant's Fees - G Cutts
28/04/09 7,857.45 5366 Interim Consultant's Fees - G Cutts
02/06/09 14,267.01 5942 Interim Consultant's Fees - G Cutts
27/11/09 2,016.30 7110 Assessment for Internal Directors - Assessment for Internal Candidates, profile and exercise materials and consultant expenses
27/11/09 9,225.00 6908 Advertising of Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Coporate Services, Print Advertising and Online Advertising - not filled
10/12/09 5,940.00 7188 Advertising of Director of Corporate Services - Second stage fees and expenses
10/12/09 4,841.62 7285 Assessment for Director of Corporate Services - Assessment for five candidates, profile and exercise materials and expenses.
12/01/10 21,800.00 6907 Advertising of Deputy Chief Executive Director of Coporate Services, First stage fees, Recruitment website development and expenses - not filled
02/02/10 3,960.00 7254 Advertising/recruitment of Director of Corporate Services which was filled, Invoice for Final stage fees and Expenses

Your rights

If you are unhappy with the handling of your request you can ask for an internal review. Please send such requests to our postal address or to foi@barnet.gov.uk and address them to the “FOI Officer”. Please also explain why you feel we have not correctly processed your request.

If, having exhausted our review procedure, you remain dissatisfied with the handling of your request or complaint, you will have a right to appeal to the Information Commissioner at: The Information Commissioner's Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF (telephone: 08456 306060 or 01625 545745; website www.ico.gov.uk). 

There is no charge for making an appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Antoinette Carter  
Governance Officer  
Corporate Governance Directorate  
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
1 November 2011

A style point Barnet Council. Please don't put commas after the salutation and the sincerely, it is so old fashioned and the Barnet Council style guide says they interrupt the flow.

This would not have taken long to answer. Probably about an hour which is costed at £25. Nothing like the average of 9 hours which Cllr Thomas was waffling on about without having checked his facts first. 

Now look at the dates. Requested on 30 August 2011 and only answered on 1 November 2011. What were Barnet Council doing all that time? They were counting up how many requests Mr Mustard had made and blabbing to the press. Your time would have been better spent Barnet Council in actually answering the questions.

Now let us look at the answers. 

G Cutts is a new name to Mr Mustard as 2009 pre-dates his interest in the council. His more learned readers will contribute and tell us all if £30k in 3 months was money well spent. Probably replaced by Mr Savage Cuts.

So the rest of the money, more than £40,000 was spent on finding a Director of Corporate Services and on not finding a Deputy Chief Executive.

So the Director of Corporate Services who was appointed was Rod Matthews. He joined, according to his Linked-In profile, in December 2009 and left in January 2011. In the Accounts for 2010/11 he is shown as having been paid £80,000 for working and £58,923 to go home ( otherwise called Compensation for Loss of Office ). If he had been sent home within 12 months it could have been done for free. Mr Mustard does not know why he left the nest of vipers that is Barnet Council so soon but expects that someone will enlighten him.

So £20k or so was spent on not finding a Deputy Chief Executive and that is how we ended up with Andrew "Black Hole" ( copyright Mrs Angry ) Travers who is a consultant and not on Barnet Council's PAYE ( that is being avoided or evaded, never quite sure which one of those is legally ducking tax & which is breaking the law - expect that eventually the taxman will come knocking and Barnet residents will end up paying penalties for non-compliance )

copyright: Bank of England
It is shocking though isn't it that it costs £20,000 to not appoint a senior executive. That is more than some staff actually earn in a year. Recruitment agencies should not be rewarded for failure.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr Mustard,
    There is nothing wrong with a comma after a salutation, nor after yours sincerely.
    Perhaps, now that you have grown a beard,you could be paid £20,000 not to take over the post of Barnet communications officer/consultant Mr Chris Palmer, who sits in the public gallery at council meetings looking very cross.
    Yours sincerely,
    Mrs Angry


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.