23 May 2011

Password Reset Tool £26,000 - are you sure ?

Mustard isn't one for staying up late but next door's cat has moved in and is looking a bit settled and Mr Mustard knows better than to try and move a big ginger tom with very scarred ears when he hasn't got his gloves on and isn't yet tempted to try bribery with cat biscuits which he keeps a stock of even though he doesn't own a cat !

Anyway to fill the time he thought he would take a look at the Barnet Council website and he came across the notes for the Cabinet Resources Committee of 24 May and although thankfully he has a prior engagement Mr Mustard thought he would take a look through the notes.

Item 5 is the Contract Procurement Plan:-

This report sets out the detail of planned contract procurement activity for the financial year 2011/12 for approval and the first draft of a plan for the following three financial years.
No it doesn't, as many of the entries are for just one year. If it is a draft for the next 3 years it is a pretty poor draft.

Mr Mustard appreciates a good joke. Here is one from the notes 

"The Council is committed to the transparency agenda." which must be why the Council are against filming of public meetings, why they have annihilated democracy at council meetings and why the Residents' Forums will in future be a shadow of their former selves.

Here is another good one ( except that council tax papers are paying  )

The Constitutional requirement to obtain Cabinet Member or Cabinet Committee authorisation, for contract value above stated threshold, before any contractual exercises commence has in previous years been achieved mostly by the inclusion of an appendix within the budget report of the known procurement activity for the following financial year.
So why don't the words Metpro Rapid Response appear anywhere in an appendix ? Pass.

You'll like this one:-
The data contained within the four year procurement plan will also be used as the basis of the Councils first Corporate Contract Register.
Will there also be a Corporate Arrangement Register for the Contracts which never got recorded in writing ?

Anyway Mr Mustard has had a look through the items. They are all in round thousands so they don't seem so large, a figure of 26 in a column doesn't look like £26,000. So what will £26, sorry £26,000 be spent on. A Password Reset Tool for Corporate Services including HR Fin IS ( whatever that means ). Let us get this right. £26,000 just to make sure that people change their passwords regularly. Isn't that built into most Windows software, the requirement to make people reset their passwords regularly ? Does £26,000 really need to be spent on it ? Amendment - this might be to reset the remote tablet computers of people who have foolishly, and expensively, forgotten their passwords. It still doesn't look like good value to me. Time for an FOI request me thinks. If this is an annual cost Mr Mustard will not be amused. ( If any reader happens to work in the computer department at Barnet Council and knows what this tool does and can explain why it is so necessary please add a comment here or email me privately in confidence : mrmustard@zoho.com )

But of course when you are spending someone else's money it doesn't seem like much at all. It doesn't sound like good value to me, does it to you ?

If you want to look at the proposed spending for yourself you will find it here :-
You'll like this, not a lot:-

Planned spending on consultants in 2013/14 in Environment & Operations will be £250,000

Mrs Angry will be angry, planned spending on lighting services in 2019/20 ( why is anyone bothering about this now unless they have a vested interest ! ) £2,500,000 so next to that redundant lamppost in your street Mrs A will be another one ?

And always of interest to bloggers - the Corporate Security Contract a mere £3,000,000 for the years 2011/14 for the Corporate Service CPT ( CPT means Corporate Procurement Team - I can see how under One Barnet you might need that much security in procurement )
Barnet need an IT Refresh apparently in 2011/12. Don't worry though as it is only £700,000 - hardly worth the while of the Council to list such a paltry sum.

There will be some savings though. The hardware and software maintenance  contract is obviously well sorted by 2013/14 as the cost will be £0 in that year. Evidently the Council will have reversed the One Barnet strategy and gone back to pen & paper and index cards and everything will be running smoothly.

So Mr Mustard has given in and bribed the cat. Just a few biscuits.

You will have to take your own biscuits to the Cabinet Resources Committee and please also table some difficult questions or send them to your Councillor.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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