7 September 2012

The Friday Joke - Mr Mustard is a cyberstalker

Sex up that dossier

The above paragraph is from a decision of the Information Commissioner not to release information about who carried out the evaluation of the Invitation to Submit Outline Solutions for the Development and Regulatory Services tender. This is information which every resident of Barnet ought to be told - who is deciding, the act of doing all the donkey work, who, what and how will be outsourced. It is possible for Mr Mustard to appeal to a tribunal but that would be to take a lot of his time away from the blog so he isn't likely to do so.

You do have to laugh at the way the council writes as "information provided under the FOIA" is of course information that is properly available. You can be sure that Barnet Council haven't given Mr Mustard anything he isn't 101% entitled to see. If if doubt, they say no with a capital N.

Note that people "felt" they have "been stalked". Has Mr Mustard been following staff to work, sitting outside the gym they exercise at, taking long range paparazzi pictures of them on holiday on the beach, sending anonymous hate mail or love notes to them at home? 

(oh, he did post Brian Coleman an email to his home but only because he said he didn't want to receive round robin emails - hence the personal one just to him with a signed post-it note - did Mr Mustard misunderstand? Brian is not an employee, and he is of course big enough and ugly enough to look after himself. Brian can write about Mr Mustard in his own somewhat turgid blog now - bling bling) 

no, of course he didn't. What did Mr Mustard do? Well he simply did what everyone else does when he sees a name, he puts it into google which gives you results from Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other places and he puts the information together to see what sort of an employee we have been blessed or burdened with.

Funnily enough Mr Mustard's alter ego, a debt collector, gets friend requests on LinkedIn & Facebook from debtors who owe money. He turns them down. Twitter followers he usually allows.

Whoever wrote that somewhat embellished account to the ICO didn't know that a different governance officer had previously checked out Mr Mustard on google and Mr Mustard will bet everything he owns that at least one (a safe bet, but probably dozens) of council staff have googled him and his alter ego. Remember Barnet Council that all bloggers have tracking software installed, know the ISP address of the council's computers and know what search terms you use to land on the blog. You also forget that when a posting was written about Dogstar a member of staff at Barnet Homes saw it as he duty to tell them, thus encouraging them to check out Mr Mustard (except it isn't cyberstalking, it is just curiosity)

NLBP self inflicted damage
Now today Mr Mustard read Roger's blog about the Friern Barnet library squatters, here. He noticed that the Barnet Council representative was called Heather Wills. Mr Mustard had not heard of her so he googled her, oh yes he did. Off you go and do it and see what you can find out and then compare to Mr Mustard's findings.

First stop, Barnet Council website, put her name in the search box and get this page of a report showing that she has inherited a disastrous Library project.

Next stop google. That leads you first to LinkedIn where 4 pages of blurb show you that Heather is not shy & retiring and surely won't mind the extra publicity here. She is the "Libraries Strategy Programme Manager (interim)" and has been since February 12. It is funny because customer services and libraries have been bolted together and to "save money" one of the Heads of Department posts has been left unfilled, see this blog. The interim post is not in the establishment list for Libraries and we can be sure that the cost of this will be more than the post left vacant. Not exactly complete or honest then the DPR was it?

Previously Heather was the Divisional Director Corporate Policy and Public Affairs and the Head of Community Cohesion and Equalities at Barking & Dagenham Council where there is a joint venture between the council and, wait for it, Agilisys. What a coincidence that she should move from one Agilisys linked company to another.

Prior to that she was the Idea Stores Programme Director at Tower Hamlets Council where one of her achievements was 

- 4 ground-breaking library and adult education service built and opened to the public.

Don't go getting ideas Heather about opening 4 libraries in Barnet. In this borough they get closed.

The goods news is that she has been a senior librarian and has an MBA and is a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Wales (a 1st, no less). She will still have to do what councillors want which is closing libraries.

Oh, one of her listed specialities is "Libraries & heritage". No need to mention the heritage part in Barnet, Heather, as one museum is closed and its contents being auctioned off and the other one will be closed as soon as the council can work out how to do so.

Heather was flavour of the month in 2005 when she was at Tower Hamlets and was visited by the Commons Committee for Culture, Media and Sport. You can find the report on the Internet and her are some little snippets.

Ms Miranda McKearney, from the Reading Agency, argued persuasively that libraries’ role should be about reading, as an activity, rather than a focus on books themselves as physical objects for lending. She said “To me their role in encouraging reading is about…active intervention at key life stages in a way that connects to policy and helps build the kind of society that we want”. Ms Wills, from the Idea Store programme in Tower Hamlets, agreed saying “at the top of my list [would be] a contribution to ‘life-long learning’ in its widest sense” from support for the under-fives to adult evening classes.

We recall the Secretary of State’s evidence in 2003 that “the best libraries are undoubtedly the libraries that, when you walk into them, you do not know whether you are walking into a job centre, an Internet cafĂ©, a juice bar or a library.” This was likely to have been, at least in part, a reference to the Idea Stores in Tower Hamlets which have precipitated something of a renaissance in Bow. Ms Wills told us that, despite all the improvements in environs, book stocks, facilities and opening hours, if the building still had “library” on the door, “we probably would not have achieved the significant results that we have.” We recognise and support the importance of listening to the results of consultation with service users—and we were extremely impressed by all the Idea Stores had to offer (inside and out)—but we regret that the word “library” seems to have accreted such negative overtones. We would far prefer to see the re-invigoration of what libraries mean to the public (by improvement of the services) than the rebranding of institutions.

Do you suppose that Heather would love to hear from Friern Barnet residents about how they would like to have reading groups in the Friern Barnet library building? You can email her at heather.wills@barnet.gov.uk (assuming the usual mail format applies).

Heather gets a mention in "The Network Newsletter: tackling social exclusion in libraries, museums, archives and galleries" issue 33, June 04 in respect of an LGUI briefing "The latest issue contains a short piece by Heather Wills, Tower Hamlets’s Idea Store Programme Director, on how the setting up of Idea Stores has turned round library usage – “The Idea Store has very quickly become the place to be for the local community.” Readers will rapidly link to the problem of exclusion of the less mobile of Friern Barnet who cannot easily get to Tally Ho.

Heather appeared again in Parliament, here, in January 2010, when she was a witness on the matter of Preventing Violent Extremism. That "expertise" won't be needed in Friern Barnet either where the library occupiers are peaceful, they offered Mrs Angry a cup of tea which she declined (she would probably have accepted a glass of Sauvignon) and where local residents simply want their library back, which is hardly an extreme act.

No twitter account could be found. If you know otherwise do let Mr Mustard know.

Oh dear Facebook is such a giveaway especially now the new privacy settings are such a complicated mess tending towards openness and transparency. Mr Mustard is on it but minimises the information he puts on there. One of Heather's friends on Facebook is one Bill Murphy, the AD of Customer Services and Libraries. Now Bill was at Barking & Dagenham from 2007 to 2010 which overlaps with Heather's time there. Perhaps Agilisys isn't the reason why Heather has suddenly landed in Barnet (and the job she has now seems lower status than the one she had at B&D) but Bill is. This world of interims is far too small and cosy for Mr Mustard's liking.

Moving on to Companies House free Webcheck service we find the formation of a Heather Wills Ltd on 13 March 2012 which is suspiciously soon after her arrival in Barnet. It seems that someone is suggesting that interims become Town Hall Tax Dodgers, it is more virulent than E-coli, and it would be good to know if it is the idea of other Town Hall Tax Dodgers (© Eric Pickles MP) or if it is Hays HR. If you know, do tell. Heather's date of birth is recorded as 16 June 1967 (please don't accuse Mr Mustard of being ungallant, Companies House insist on the date, not him) and her occupation as Local Government Manager, the sort of description that applies to a person who should be paying PAYE. Maybe she does but the formation of this company would suggest she has stopped since joining Barnet Council.

The other thing about Heather is why, if she is a Libraries Strategy Programme Manager she is running off to Friern Barnet Library to deal with its occupation by Dave, Phoenix and friends from Camden. That doesn't sound to me like the sort of blue sky thinking she would be involved in, more the act of a line manager with a problem. This again smacks of her being an employee who should be on PAYE.

Heather gets a credit in a film in B&D (no, not that sort of film) and here it is. She does not appear, the credit is in the text at the bottom.

Might Mr Mustard suggest a sequel that you could fund in One Barnet. The Marvel of Sticky End (as there is no One Barnet plan B and no other outcome is possible).

It is late and Mr Mustard doesn't really want to know any more about Heather Wills; she isn't that interesting except that Mr Mustard, along with every other Barnet resident, has to pay an inordinate sum for her to strut her stuff in Barnet, possibly PAYE free.

Finally, a little gem. Heather was quoted in the Guardian on 11 July 2004. You can read all about it on the link but lets just see what heather said:

This is the result of a poll of residents, whose biggest complaint about the old libraries were that they weren't conveniently located. 'People wanted them to be in the high street, where they could pop in while shopping,' says Heather Wills, who is in charge of the programme.

So Heather, to Friern Barnet, there is as you know an (almost) empty building in the heart of the community next to the British Legion and near the shops. Best start planning for the grand reopening. Mr Mustard is sure that local residents could put a play on for you.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. and before Robert Rams adds a note that the temporary library facility at artsdepot is in the High St, the article meant in your own High St, not in one 2 miles away.


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