6 July 2011

PAP - dessert - Barnet Mess

At last Mr Mustard has struggled through the 4 courses, and is enjoying a digestive whilst he finishes the final blog on this subject ( for now ! )

So firstly let Mr Mustard summarise the 10 point plan that Barnet Council come up with - google now think that Mr Mustard has a problem as he went to the Alcoholics Anonymous website to check out their 12 steps but they don't seem to be in use any longer. If you need them their website is here :- http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/

Mr Mustard wonders if Barnet Council will be able to stop buying things without a Contract or if they will relapse.

So, here are the 10 points that Barnet Council listed actions and tasks for. Mr Mustard has scrapped the Barnet OneSpeak and used plain English and reduced to as few words as possible what Barnet Council said their plan was.
  1. Follow the CPR ( Contract Procedure Rules )
  2. Follow the CPR
  3. Follow the CPR
  4. Follow the CPR
  5. Follow the CPR
  6. Monitor amendments 
  7. Sort out VAT problems
  8. Follow the CPR
  9. Follow the CPR
  10. Monitor the CPR
Not really a 10 point plan then ! and almost nothing new in it.

Measure of success

So Barnet Council have decided upon a measure of success for each of their 10 points ( actions and tasks ). Let us now take a look at them.

1.   Compliance with CPR's (sic) embedded in information systems and monitoring routines.

So the test will be if the Council can lick SAP into shape. Mr Mustard couldn't find a bookie to take his bet that the Council will fail.

2.   All non-staff expenditure for vendors in excess of £25k covered by formal contracts.

That is not a measure of success that Mr Mustard accepts as good enough. 
The Council have given themselves away here. Contractors like Mr Travers are evidently thought of as staff otherwise the phrase "non-staff" would not be used. Therefore Mr Traversty is really staff, ergo he should pay PAYE. There should also be a contract in place.
In addition Mr Mustard does not see why suppliers worth less than £25,000 a year should not be subject to a Contract. It could be a simpler shorter contract. If there is not a Contract how was the price agreed, the time for payment, the specification of the goods, the time for delivery etc etc. Mr Mustard has just found a standard 31 page Contract on the Barnet Council website. He wonders if Procurement know it exists.

3.   Complete documentation and records as required by CPRs and full compliance.

Mr Mustard does not think that there is a hope in hell of this being completed by the target date of 30 September 2011

4. Corporate Security Contract in place

This is now being advertised on the Council website. It is presumed that it is also in the OJEU. Mr Mustard hopes that Evolution Emergency Response do not cause any embarrassment by applying. Mr Mustard is not sure why there is such a great need for extra security guards at Council meetings as they are the tamest of affairs.

5. Compliance with vendor limits in CPRs.

So Barnet Council are expecting to check every vendor against the various spend limits ( £25,000, £156,442 and £500,000 ) by 30 September 2011 and get them all monitored in SAP. This looks overly ambitious to Mr Mustard given that there are 9,700 suppliers.

6. Validated vendor records in place

Barnet Council cannot have checked all 9,700 records by 30 June 2011. There must still be some surprises in the supplier file.

7. MetPro VAT issue resolved and compliance with VAT status requirements of HMRC.

This is scheduled for 30 June & 31 July. VAT has been around since 1973 so you would think that even an organisation as slow as Barnet Council might have read the regulations by now.

8. Nothing.

No measure of success has been listed for ensuring that contract extensions or changes are in line with CPR. Evidently this is not important.

9. Compliance with CPRs

Everyone has to follow the rules by 30 September 2011. Bloggers will check in October.

10. All contracts managed effectively.

It might work for a little while and then a wheel will fall off.

So, is there anything that didn't get a mention.

Well actually yes there is. The Council's Procurement Code of Practice says that, as a minimum requirement, the Council should be less than 25% of a supplier's turnover as "A company should not be overly dependent on the Council for business". Now Mr Mustard would like to wager that the Council was probably a greater proportion of MetPro's business than that but it's not a question that the Council can answer as they didn't have any financial information for MetPro even assuming we know which of its three incarnations we are talking about.

Here is a short list of other Companies for whom the Council is likely to be more than 25% of the turnover of the supplier.

Halliford Associates Ltd ( 100% ? ) supplier of Mr Andrew Travers
CCMPS Ltd ( 100% ? ) supplier of Mr Chris Malyon
MJW Office Moves Ltd ( 100% ? ) supplier of Mr Martin Willoughby
Advance HR Consulting Ltd ( 100% ? ) supplier of Jason Wheatley
Jacquie McGeachie HR Consulting Limited (100% ? ) supplier of Jacquie McGeachie
Renouval Ltd ( 100% ? ) supplier of Chris Palmer
Garfield Associates Ltd ( 100% ? ) supplier of David Garfield

So quite simply if the Council was following its own guidelines it would not have employed any of these people through a contractor in the way it has. Doubtless there will be some pathetic excuse as to why the rule does not apply in the cases I highlight; just to everyone else.

Mr Mustard


  1. I think you are being very unfair, Mr Mustard. You seem to think that the purpose of a local authority is to serve the surrounding community, rather than to act as a refuge for the likes of Mr Andrew Travers and his chums. What else would these poor people do with their days, if they didn't have NLBP to hang out in? I for one am happy to see this corporate extension of care in the community, and hope that more and more senior officers will be welcomed into the warm embrace of One Barnet, at whatever cost to taxpayers. It's the least we can do, even if we have to shut a few more museums and dispose of dozens of hard working ordinary council employees in order to support the needs of their bosses, and at the level they so richly deserve.

  2. Just had an idea Mra A. If you get that funding from the Big Society Innovation Fund for the workhouse then Mr Travers and his chums would have somewhere inexpensive to go once the emporer realises he has no clothes.

    I also heard a rumour that the Sandbanks Hotel was going to turn into a Care Home for early retired gentlefolk of Barnet but I think that must have been malicious gossip.


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