3 May 2013

2023 - We are already there in Barnet?

Amuse yourself by deciding which Barnet councillors you would send to Mars. Only room at first for 4 sadly but we can send 4 more every 2 years after that.

Why is Mr Mustard writing about Mars? It is an illustration of how much the world, and Barnet, might have changed before the NCSCO and DRS contracts with Crapita (and A N Other but probably Crapita) come to the end of their initial 10 year terms. No-one at the council, whether councillor or officer, or any of their highly paid external consultants can possibly predict what changes will have happened to local services by 2023 and so for that reason alone the Judicial Review challenges are justified. We are stopping you Richard (Cornelius) from making a big fool of yourself. Mr Mustard predicts that in 2023 people will be saying Richard who? although Mr Mustard suspects that if he asked the man or woman in the street "Who is the leader of Barnet Council?" that 99% of the populace wouldn't know the answer in 2013.

Richard has got himself a little confused. In the papers in early March before the JR took place he was reported as having said "Everyone has a right to speak to the courts" and now after the council won on a time point (which will be going to appeal as it didn't seem to follow case law) and got mullered on not having consulted he is all in a lather about the cost and delay and has said "that she (Maria Nash) should “carefully consider” an appeal that will incur more costs to the taxpayer". Did Richard consider carefully the views of residents when pressing ahead on the One Barnet transformation with evangelical zeal? Er, no.

What Mr Mustard worries about is the effect this will have on the decision making freedom of councillors to be elected in May 2014, May 2018 and May 2022. Richard is in a pretty safe ward (or so he probably thinks) and probably hopes to be elected again and also to have a majority on the council and still be in charge.

He plans now to sign up for 10 years (120 months) a contract for which Crapita are mobilising for a 1 July start and so there will be 10 months of this current administration to run. Is it right and proper that a councillor who may not be in power after a mere 8% of a contract he signs up for has run its course, which he knows is the antithesis of what his opponents believe in, can tie us all in this way to an external supplier.

We don't of course want a system where every 4 years we could jockey from having an in-house provision of everything to an outsourced supplier of everything as that way lies madness and waste but maybe limiting the contract terms that can be signed to 5 years, with a no-fault, no compensation, cancellation option on 6 months notice at any time would be a practical method?

It might be acceptable for Richard top press on if he had a mandate from the people for this policy i.e. it was what he was elected to do. Did the words "One Barnet" figure in his election literature. Mr Mustard asked Richard months ago for a copy and guess what, answer came there none (Richard has a special sub-section of his inbox for the really hard questions and most of Mr Mustard's emails end up in there). Mr Mustard surmises that this means the words "One Barnet" were not mentioned as they weren't in East Barnet where one of the (do you know Mr Mustard really doesn't know what to call the 2 cabinet members who supposedly have responsibility for One Barnet so he won't call them anything official at all except) backers of One Barnet, stood for council.

It might also be acceptable to sign up for 10 years if a massive majority of residents had been consulted and thought that One Barnet was a great idea. As we know all too well that is why there has been a judicial review and why Maria Nash is right to go to appeal. Yes she has the benefit of legal aid but who has £300,000 sloshing around down the back of the sofa to spend on legal fees?

Mr Mustard reckons he knows who does have that level of savings; a Totteridge dwelling jeweller called Richard Cornelius, who will probably be sunning himself at his French holiday home instead of sitting avidly through the Court of Appeal hearing.

Finally a little note especially for the Crapita employee who happily chatted to the Barnet Bloggers (and they were happy to chat to him) . Mr Mustard promised the nice man 10 years of hell. Have you got the idea yet Mr Crapita? everything you do will be scrutinised and more Judicial reviews will follow if you change anything to the detriment of the populace. Mr Mustard hopes that you put the cost of defending judicial reviews into your bid. The bloggers are watching you, very closely.

Usual seats in the Royal Courts of Justice? Mr Mustard will stand you a beer at lunchtime.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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