The council have decided, in outline, to move away from the Cabinet model of governance, where there is a small body of councillors, about 1 in 6 of those elected to office,who hold all of the power to a more traditional committee system. The background papers are on the council website, here and you can answer the entire questionnaire there if you can be fagged to go through surveymonkey which Mr Mustard refuses to use. The reason is that he doesn't want his data held by surveymonkey when there is no good reason for them to have it. The council could have purchased the survey module for their £700,000 website, or had a free Drupal one if they had gone the open source route, but they didn't.
Mr Mustard usually sends for a pdf or paper copy of the survey so that he can see all of the questions before he starts his answers. He does not like being led by the nose when he doesn't know where he is being taken. If any of his readers want the full survey they could ask the council or ask Mr Mustard (email@example.com) who is likely to reply sooner.
It turned out there were 33 questions in the survey.
Q1-11 ask you about your attendance record at meetings. We don't get that for councillors in a tabular form so be blowed if Mr Mustard will fill it in. He is a regular attender of certain meetings. There will probably be a link drawn between regular attendance and the weight then given to your answer. That would be to make a false assumption. Mr Mustard no longer attends Residents Forums as they are not of any great use.
Q12-15 are about current arrangements and how good or bad they are. Skip that section as well. We want to focus on the future.
Q21-33 are all about you & your diversity. Mr Mustard never answers those questions. If the council made greater efforts to get out into the community and get many replies they would automatically capture the responses of all sorts of people.
That leaves us with Q16-20 being the only ones about the future of governance. They are above and you can download them from there if you wish and post the answers to Mr A Nathan, Barnet Council, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Rd South, London, N11 1NP.
Mr Mustard's answer will be
Q16 - very important to all of the sub-questions although Mr Mustard disputes the use of the word "continuing" when it comes to transparency - given the lightning decision making at Cabinet Resources Committee it looks like there is either no thought or else a pre-meeting at which all has been decided.
Q17 - Mr Mustard avoids this type of impossible question. All four principles are very important and could all exist at the same time.
Q18 - Yes
Q19 - Some councillors are a waste. Some sit through meetings and only ask a question very rarely and other can't ask questions because they are in a minority party and even if they do will be ignored simply because they are not part of the ruling party. We are wasting councillor resource. Now we don't need 63 it is true but if Party A happens to be in the majority and yet a ward has 3 councillors from Party B they will get very little of substance to do. This is a waste and is to ignore the democratic voice of the voters of the ward in question. We need to move away from petty party politics to a system which makes best use of whatever talents councillors come with.
Q20 - Mr Mustard can't find the practical issues referred to in Section 2 of the consultation document which is headed "Principles" and not "Practical issues".
One change that is needed is the removal of the automatic 30 minute guillotine on public questions. The public right to comment for up to 5 minutes should also not be at the discretion of the chair as one in particular always says no.
The questionnaire seems rather feeble to Mr Mustard and he doesn't think it will help the council much at all. That will leave them free to do as they please.
Mr Mustard will now leave you to answer as many questions as you care to.