21 July 2011

A culture of incompetence ?

Or should it be

A culture of incompetents - the collective noun for a bunch of Barnet Council officers ?

What is Mr Mustard on about? He is on about the paperwork prepared for tonight's meeting of the Budget and Performance Overview and Scrutiny Committee. Mr Mustard has a busy day and isn't meant to be blogging today as he has work to do. However just whilst the potatoes were boiling to go with his lunch time salad so Mr Mustard's blood was boiling at yet another example of duff figures being presented to Councillors. Mr Mustard only had time for a quick glance at the report but whilst turning over page 15 of the Final Outturn and Performance Report it was immediately obvious that something was wrong. Here is the page and the link to the entire report

click once to make bigger & then again for full page and then back to return
Here are the real figures. The ones in blue are the ones which should be in the report.

Agency Staff Costs

Service Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Total £
Adult Social services 471,086 432,085 438,876 286,927 1,628,974
Chief Executive's service 85,347 84,218 55,040 56,942 281,547
Children's Service 620,824 588,781 616,518 579,272 2,405,395
Commercial 348,093 314,808 193,322 191,143 1,047,366
Corporate Governance 55,134 52,007 38,175 60,215 205,531
Deputy Chief Executive 289,695 269,194 261,282 304,061 1,124,232
Environment & Operations 408,392 417,781 435,982 384,888 1,647,043
Planning, Housing & Regen 181,796 160,123 131,198 118,945 592,062
Grand Total 2,460,367 2,318,997 2,170,393 1,982,393 8,932,150

Let us leave aside that a total of £9million spent on agency workers is not the way to have a coherent and well-managed organisation and that this table does not include Interims, Contractors, Consultants and so isn't of any real help.

Why didn't the person who wrote the report or the one who checked it ( Mr Mustard presumes cross-checking occurs ? ) spot such an obvious blunder.

It is not up to Councillors to double check the report. They should be able to rely on it. Councillors are presented with a document of 126 pages to hopefully read before a 3 hour meeting so the time for scrutiny is limited. Time to shake a few people up Councillors.

Mr Mustard wonders why he keeps finding glaring errors in Barnet Council's figures.

Are the Officers incompetent ?
Do they not have any pride in their work ?
Is there poor leadership ?
Is OneBarnet causing lack of attention to the basics ?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. I think I need to remind you, Mr Mustard, that the officers who used to deal with this work to the highest levels of competence - ordinary employees on modest salaries, unlike the £1,000 a day rate of Mr Andrew 'Black Hole' Travers - were handed redundancy notices just before Christmas and left Barnet in March. Some of these employees, who have worked for many years for the authority and given loyal service throughout this time, are now without employment. Mr Travers and all his generously rewarded senior colleagues remain in post, despite the appalling mess uncovered by the MetPro scandal.

  2. My exasperation Mrs A is aimed fairly and squarely at Finance who must have produced the figures, not at Democratic Services although they are due a blog or two !


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