13 June 2012

Mr Mustard blog is "Lots of fun" - Barnet Homes

lots of fun
Although Mr Mustard's blog has a serious message it wouldn't be good if it wasn't fun sometimes. Now Mr Mustard can report, with mixed feelings, that the Mr Mustard blog has been described in an email sent by Jonathan Lawn the "Communications Manager" at Barnet Homes/The Barnet Group/Your Choice as:

"Lots of fun"

Mr Mustard is pleased that his readers, even including the Barnet Homes employee with an ill-judged view of what the job of a misCommunications Manager is, like the blog. This pleasure is though tempered by a worry that the relationship with Dogstar is far too cosy.

Here is the email:

To put this email into context you need to look at the Broken Homes blog post written on 15 May (the very same day that this email was sent). So Mr Lawn has had time since 9am to look at this blog, have a chat on the phone with Dogstar about it (otherwise the email makes no sense) and then send this email which alerts the Account Manager and two Account Executives at Dogstar to the blog. You can see their work for Barnet Homes here.

What is Mr Lawn reported as saying about their work? (which leaves Mr Mustard completely underwhelmed, both the work and Lawn's puff piece)

"They really took the time and effort to gain a detailed understanding of the brief and our requirements. Because of that, their concepts for the new logos met with virtually universal approval from everyone involved in the project, right from the initial design stage. That’s incredibly rare in my experience.

It's been a pleasure to work with Dogstar Abstracts on this project and we’re delighted with the new brand identities."

Jonathan Lawn, Communications Manager

Now bear in mind that Dogstar have been paid over £160,000 by Barnet Homes without a contract, that Jonathan appears happy to give them his permission to use Barnet Homes in order to try and bolster the commercial appeal of Dogstar (otherwise he would already have made them take the endorsement off their website) and that if a Barnet Blogger writes anything about a supplier the misCommunications Manager is sending them an email within 49 minutes of it appearing. (If only repair response times were so low?).

Mr Mustard hasn't seen the job description of the Communications Manager but is prepared to wager that it does not include telling suppliers if they appear in any of the famous five Barnet blogs.

This email stinks.

What should happen now? The internal auditor at Barnet Homes needs to drop what he/she is doing and audit the procurement "arrangements" in the communications department (Barnet Council only had an "arrangement" with MetPro).

Barnet Homes need to go out to tender for the next batch of design work.

The Chief Executive, Tracey Lees, needs to give Mr Jonathan Lawn some words of advice or a rollocking, she must decide, or maybe she will do nothing at all?

Craig Cooper at Barnet Council needs to review his own directorate's recent use of Dogstar to make sure it is compliant. Mr Mustard will be running the ruler over you soon Craig.

Mr Mustard is already rather busy with Barnet Council and so repeats his appeal for a Barnet resident to step forward and try their hand at blogging about Barnet Homes. There is evidently lots of material to blog about.

This post also highlights how useful the Freedom of Information legislation is as that is how the above email was obtained. Mr Mustard asked for any emails sent to Dogstar between 9am and 10.02am on 15 May. 

Yours, officially lots of fun,

Mr Mustard

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