7 February 2012

Behind the ball

A day's pay for Mr Travers in an unusual form?
Mr Mustard continues to boggle at the number of routine jobs that don't get done at Barnet Council. Dazzled by their own supposed brilliance at implementing the bonkers One Barnet behemoth, the vital little jobs just don't get done. Here is another fudged DPR

DPR1569 - Renewal of Heywood AXISe Pension Administration System

Please note that I redacted your signature for you Mr Travers, I put it into a sort of black hole where it will be at home.

Look, it is claimed that there is a single source of pension software. Now that isn't really true is it? What you mean is that you really don't want, for obvious reasons, to be changing software supplier too often as it takes time and costs money and we all saw what a bosh-up was made when the Council Tax software was changed last year. So if you don't want to keep changing software supplier. What you should do is either change the rules for software supplies, or go out to tender and make it a 10 year tender. This software costs over £50,000 a year and so if the contract is to run for 4 years or more you have to go out to tender anyway so save yourself work and follow the rules and go for 10 years.
Mr Mustard has looked at the Heywood website. You aren't even using their latest product. That is the new generation product called Altair which, according to Aberdeen City Council, provides a number of benefits: increased efficiency, reduced costs and improved service. That would fit with Better Services for Less Money. Why on earth haven't you already moved across?

Now as you were so dilatory about renewing in September 2011, in fact as the contract you have signed is renewed automatically this DPR is just a paper exercise, and as you have to give 12 months written notice you could start planning now for a tender that would take effect from 31 March 2013. Heywood would then have to sharpen their pencil and not rely on council apathy for their income. 

Here is a business tip from Mr Mustard. It is easy to forget ( especially if you are an incompetent or if staff turnover is high ) about automatically renewed contracts as a year is a long time. The simple answer is when you sign a contract of that type you give 12 months notice on the same day as you sign. That way, the supplier, who does want to retain your business, has to remind you when the 12 months is coming up and you get the chance to go elsewhere or beat the supplier down on price to stay.

It's a measure of how slowly the wheels turn at North London Business Park that even when a problem is spotted it takes from 2 December 2011 to 2 February 2012 to solve.

Para 7.2 is the usual fudge. Mr Mustard googled for Pensions Administration Software and found plenty of suppliers. 

Of course what this fudge is really all about is that Pensions administration is going to be bundled off to someone else to manage and so this less than nimble footwork is to try and smooth things over until then.

How many more of these expired contracts are there? Does anyone know? Perhaps Mick Stokes knows, this article says he is going to transform procurement, looks like he has managed to transform it from bad to worse?

Update Tuesday 08.49

Since drafting this posting Mr Mustard has stumbled over the pension pot paid for the £1,000 a day Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Travers, for his time at the LDA which Mr Reasonable kindly blogged about. It was £437,797. Mr Mustard hazards a guess that that was one action that was certainly done on time.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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