8 May 2012

Wharfe is acting up

Sometimes Mr Mustard thinks that Barnet Council is just a fictional body, as it bears about as much resemblance to a well run council as Allo Allo does to its subject matter.

So here we go with another presumably motivational message to staff. Mr Mustard still doesn't get why these messages are sent at all. Couldn't Nick have written it before he waltzed off to Ally Pally?

From: First Team
Sent: 04 May 2012 15:20
To: AllStaff
Subject: Weekly message - Pam Wharfe, Interim Director for Environment, Planning and Regeneration Additions in Red by Mr Mustard.

Nick has asked me to write the weekly message as he is at Alexandra Palace in his role as Returning Officer for Barnet and Camden in the GLA elections. Which got off to a very bad start as the electricity was cut off before 9am. Somebody must have fallen down on their contingency planning. The end of the day didn't go well either as the Councillor who Pam Wharfe has to deal with is the Cabinet member for the Environment, Brian Coleman, who has been unseated as the Assembly Member for Barnet & Camden. Best stay out of the way of the member for now, he was looking a bit grim faced at the count.

Most of my week has been tied up with the implementation of the One Barnet programme. So my day to day job is probably quite neglected otherwise why did it exist in the first place?

Monday was the last full day of the parking staff working directly for the council as they transferred to NSL and RR Donnelly on Tuesday. We had an informal farewell on Monday organised by their colleagues for the staff working in NLBP and the Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs) had an event last week. It is also no secret that most of the staff currently working in the back office will be made redundant. On Tuesday staff have to report to the NSL Office in Solar House in Finchley where they will be handed ‘at risk of redundancy’ letters. NSL will say goodbye to them properly for us. Did I mention that we managed to completely cock up the transfer of data and give out personal data in error to contractors and the wrong staff? No, how careless of someone, not me, of course.

On Wednesday I met with Tracey Lees (Chief Executive) and Deep Sagar (Chair) from the Barnet Group to discuss how things are going with the transfer of Housing Needs staff and looking ahead to how we can work together to address various challenges facing the council. Suspect that the challenge facing the staff is much greater. Housing workers were transferred to Barnet Homes and went straight into a restructure consultation.

Tracey in passing said she had noticed that the CEOs out and about in North Finchley had smart new uniforms. Why is Tracey talking about parking staff when she has housing staff to worry about. This is a striking comparison to my first winter when I was responsible for the service and we discovered we couldn't actually provide enough coats for all the staff. I admit that in my first winter I failed to properly provide protective clothing for staff working outdoors all day in very bad conditions and despite the council having an annual budget of £900m I couldn't manage my budget well enough to look after them.  This is a practical example that shows the new provider has a better understanding about how to run this service. This is a striking example of how we Directors will say absolutely anything at all, no matter what utter tosh it is, to try and justify the One Barnet programme which staff don't believe in and which residents don't believe in, which has been pulled apart by Professor Dexter Whitfield. Are we really expected to believe that the council was so short of money out of its £900m p.a. budget that it sent traffic wardens out in bad weather without suitable protective clothing? What rot.  If it was Mr Mustard earning being paid £132,480 a year he would pop out himself and buy Barnet Bugle / Dan Hope style Drizabone hats and coats for them out of his own pocket. Please stop putting out this propaganda nonsense drivel which the staff treat with hoots of derision.

Council Directors Group was also focussed on the One Barnet Programme this week and clearing some of the Wave 2 projects to go forward to the council. Oh no, Wave 1 was bad enough and now hear comes wave 2. When will we wave goodbye to the foolish management who think that One Barnet is a good idea?

Final paragraph about a staff funeral has been redacted out of consideration for the family.

Why is Pam doing the message anyway. She has been caught out on placing orders for the removal of parking meters without a proper contract and RM Countryside had over a £1m out of her department without proper process having been followed and is only an "interim" (for now) Director so why is she stepping up into Nick's shoes.

Just as a complete aside can anyone tell Mr Mustard if this Pam Wharfe is the same Pam Wharfe who was a labour councillor in Hounslow Central until 19 October 2000 (don't tell Brian Coleman he has a former Labour Councillor in charge of his portfolio, he probably isn't very keen on them at the moment) 
London Borough Council Elections 2002

Mr Mustard already knew that Pam was "in charge" as he received an out of office from non-stick as follows:

I am on election duties on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th May.Pam Wharfe is deputising for me. For any urgent items please contact the Executive Office on 0208 359 7001.

Nick Walkley
Chief Executive

Where is the Deputy Chief Executive, Andrew, "Black Hole", " £1000 a day" Travers? He hasn't been seen much in the building and it seems that some other council might have been charmed into opening their coffers to him. 

Where is the Assistant Chief Executive, Julie Taylor? We haven't seen much of her either. She is still on the corporate structure chart but what is she up to?  As a member of the Human Givens Institute she might be better with people? She couldn't be worse and she probably doesn't communicate by email but by talking to people.
The human givens approach enables people to think more clearly about a wide range of social issues to do with the running of society and the future and physical survival of our species.

Come back Nick, all is forgiven (well not quite all but you get the idea).

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Jesus, Mary & Joseph. Please allow me a few comments.

    Yes, Walkley was stomping about Ally Pally on Friday with a face like thunder. His mood did not improve when he had to read the results & pass on the tragic news that BRIAN COLEMAN LOST HIS SEAT. Sorry, still celebrating.

    Mr Walkley was ably assisted throughout the day by guess who: Captain Cooper. This had nothing to do with the two hour power cut, and all boxes were accounted for, unlike the thousands of non compliant contracts in Barnet. Mrs Angry was there as a stern faced observer,of course, on the basis of her world renowned audit skills, to make sure Captain Cooper and team did their job properlyIt might be a good idea if this was an everyday process at NLBP: what do you reckon?

    I think it is heart warming that our senior officers care so much about the staff they have made redundant, and whether or not parking attendants have warm coats as they try desperately to fulfill the targets they do not have to pursue the hapless motorists of Broken Barnet, as they try to park around the borough.

    Is Black Hole in Sussex? Their council has been awfully interested in him, judging by visits to my blog. Or perhaps he is sitting on the terrace in Italy?

    Ms Wharfe will be devastated at the fall from grace of her friend. How awful it would be if he lost his Cabinet post as well, and she had to work with a new boss. Or perhaps she will, like a faithful servant, leave the council & follow him into exile. Ahh.

  2. Apparently there has been a senior management reshuffle and Pam got the short straw and is being shown the door. Oh well, she's probably made enough to live on.


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