4 September 2012

Mind our money more carefully please

Head of Richard Cornelius on the block soon, methinks

Up in Scotland they have a reputation for being careful with their money (forget Royal Bank of Scotland, an Englishman had hold of the reins) and in Edinburgh they pulled back at the last minute from outsourcing everything. Barnet really ought to look a bit closer at Edinburgh rather than throwing Mr Mustard's money around like a drunken sailor just home from a long voyage.


Unison have been trying for some time to get councillors to listen to reason but they stick their fingers in their ears and so don't hear what ideas Unison have to offer. It would be much better if they at least listened and thought about the ideas rather than dismissing them out of hand. There isn't a monopoly on good ideas and if the ideas come from Unison the staff are likely to be onside.

Dear Councillor

Please find enclosed the first in a series of briefings to all councillors in regard to the One Barnet programme.

· Over the past four years UNISON has produced over 35 detailed reports
· UNISON has consistently sought a meeting to discuss an alternative to the One Barnet programme
· UNISON has attempted to provide a briefing on our concerns to all councillors in May and June 12
· UNISON offered a meeting with the Chief Executive and the Leader back in March 2012
· UNISON is still seeking a meeting with the Leader and members of the Cabinet Committee
· UNISON does not seek any preconditions for this discussion other than the Council genuinely enters into this dialogue with an open mind.

In my experience most councillors with whom I have spoken many will say they know very little about the One Barnet projects and many admit not having read the reports we have published. This is worrying in light of the fact that the Council is radically changing to a Commissioning Council where it no longer provides services.

Already we have seen council staff working for the following services transfer out of the council

· Legal Services,
· Parking Services,
· Adult Social Care,
· Housing services

Later this year decisions will be approved at Cabinet Committee to outsource two big One Barnet projects (NSCSO & DRS) worth up to £1Billion pounds which will tie the Council into *10 year contracts.

In November this year a decision will be made on the service delivery model for the One Barnet Street Scene project. Judging by the direction of travel of all other One Barnet projects it is likely that the outsourced model will be the one selected.

Even though these decisions are going to be made by Cabinet Committee the financial and electoral impact will affect all councillors not just for the short term but beyond the Council elections in 2014 and 2018

I hope you will take time to read our briefings, furthermore if you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me.

*= ‘Health Warning: There is no such thing as a flexible contract.’

Best wishes

John Burgess
Branch Secretary.
Come on councillors. One of the things you are paid for is to listen and another is to think - deeply please, don't just play follow my leader.
Yours frugally
Mr Mustard

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