1 January 2012

2011 in pictures


Above inflation ( look at those over inflated tyres! ) increases were proposed for CPZ permits, visitor permits, allotments etc

Barnet Council spend £140,000 on personalised Pledgebank, Fixmystreet etc and yet a free version exists

 Brian Coleman said "I never knowingly undercharge"


The filming of public meetings was banned against government advice and only applications from" respectable media" would be considered i.e. not bloggers.

Bloggers don't come more respectable than Mr Reasonable.

It became easier for a councillor to ask a question on GQT than at a Barnet Council meeting after rule changes were introduced.

Legionella was found in Fremantle Trust care homes, ones which used to be Barnet Council homes.


Mr Mustard was born. The missing ears are probably on the ground.

The infamous budget setting meeting where Barnet Council went overboard with security of the worst possible kind and led to the failings of procurement, led by the hapless Craig Cooper on £132,480 p.a. starting to appear ( they haven't stopped yet ).

Legionella found in a Catalyst care home in Barnet. This care home provides contracted out care for Barnet Council.

Staff in DRS ( Development and Regulatory Services ) worked to rule. It was to be a year of strife in the HR department.

350 employees were made redundant including a number of long serving governance staff. All of a sudden minutes were weeks being produced and FOI questions were slow to be answered. What a coincidence.

It would be a few months before the One Barnet Procurement Principles became public and One Barnet was shown to be a High Risk project.

David Attfield a Solicitor who lives in East Finchley took on the mammoth task and huge financial risk to apply for a judicial review of the CPZ price increases and formed the Barnet CPZ Campaign group. David found that a large band of supporters gathered quickly around him and has raised thousands of pounds to fight the unjust increases.


The illegally taken film shot by Barnet Council was destroyed by Barnet Council without being viewed. Very incurious of them.

The noisiest ( but good humoured ) council committee meeting of the year with a large number of affected residents turning out to chant "No Way Pinkham Way" for hours. Council missed a chance to generate goodwill and refused to move the Pinkham Way item up the agenda so that protesters with children could get them to bed at a reasonable hour.

Barnet Council was forced to change its council tax software and managed to completely botch it up with some people being charged twice by direct debit ( which is why Mr Mustard has no direct debits ) and others not being charged at all for months.


What is the picture? Why, a black hole of course. Andrew Traver's contract via Halliford Associates to be on the executive without the burden of PAYE was published in full by Mr Mustard and showed that he is paid £1,000 a day.

Barnet had the worst road deaths in a year in London. Sadly 9 people lost their lives and 1520 were injured of which 241 were pedestrians. Mr Mustard continues to believe that the answer lies in education and training.

Cllr Lisa Rutter became the Mayor. Mrs Angry reckons she looks like Toyah Wilcox if you squint at her. Mr Mustard does not know how well the mayor can sing or if Toyah is any good at cutting ribbons.

Hendon & District Archaeological Society gave up their attempts to take over the running of Church farmhouse Museum as thy said that Barnet Council were "not remotely serious".


Barnet Council decide that bloggers should all be registered with the Information Commissioner, forgetting that their own Cllr Robert Rams is a blogger without a licence, and take a pop in secret at the annoying Mr Mustard via the office of the ICO. Told not to be silly they drag out some irrelevant European case law and then get told that freedom of speech is sacrosanct.

The Rt Hon Eric Pickles MP came out in favour of Barnet's bloggers at the CIPFA conference. Mr Mustard likes Uncle Eric because he talks commonsense and always seems to be happy.

Craig Cooper, notionally in charge of procurement, decides to fix the procurement problems by laying off 9 staff. Genius. Will this be the year when he finally has to fall on his sword?

At the infamous MetPro audit committee meeting ( if you can only manage the odd meeting the audit committee is one of the best ) the Assistant Director of Audit & Risk management said "Obviously we are not in a good place" thus demonstrating why she is so good at audit.

There was a theory that Barnet Council got itself a new leader in June. Evidence of leadership is still awaited.


The information Systems Action Plan showed many council systems to be end of life.

The Church Farmhouse Museum was closed and put up for sale.

This was the month when the Cabinet Member for Community Engagement decided to engage with Mr Mustard by email and said he was "gratuitously insulting" and "slightly manipulative" ( must try harder Mr Mustard! )

Barnet Council finally stopped trying to push against the tide and voted to allow filming.

The £750m customer services contract was put up for grabs ( the picture refers both to its management and the idea of outsourcing it, especially to BT where Mr Grice has quietly slipped off to )

The DRS £275m contract also gets put out at the start of a long tender process. At some point in the next 10 years it will end in tears and residents will pick up the cost.


Who would have believed that Uncle Albert Adrian would turn into a banner snatcher at the Friern Barnet Summer Show.

Parking staff went on work-to-rule. Residents rejoiced.

The Revenues & Benefits staff picketed North London Business Park on Saturday mornings in protest at the imposition of 53 temps.

This could be a new slogan for Barnet "Don't even think of parking here". During the summer holidays the Cabinet Member for the Environment slipped out a DPR to unilaterally abolish cashless parking ( the haphazardly located PayPoint outlets take cash if you can find them ).


For reasons that were beyond Mr Mustard one of his innocuous questions got classified as vexatious for the first time ever by Barnet Council. 3 months later the question was answered and the accusation of vexation was withdrawn.

Mrs Angry says Mr Mustard is still vexing though.

4 July fireworks

The 13 September was Barnet Independence Day and was well supported by striking workers. Barnet Council decided to deduct a whole day's wages for a half day strike. That helped get the workforce on side then?

Poster Boy is a street artist who’s only tool is a razor blade.  The poster to the left is one of his artworks.
Sadly he is in the US so was unable to nip to NLBP
to deal with non-stick Nick Walkley's attempt at communicating with staff through 8ft high posters. 

Cllr Daniel Thomas put his name to an email that said that one blogger made 175 FOI requests in 6 months which cost £40,000 to answer which was shown to be untrue but apology came their none. He also presented this slide which is an even worse piece of scaremongering misinformation of no value. Those 3 services will never take all of the budget because things will change in the next 15 years.


The One Barnet Procurement Principles discovered by Roger at The Barnet Eye show that the council have no principles. Jobs can be outsourced to anywhere, even Bangalore ( see picture ) - is this what the new Brent Cross will look like ?

The Alternative Residents Forums started because people didn't feel listened to at the council run ones. Run by residents for residents there was plenty of time for anyone to ask anything. There was a 100% turnout of bloggers for the inaugural meeting. Dress was smart casual and the picture to the left is merely an artist's impression to show how everyone was equal.

On the second strike day many workers volunteered at the Larches Community Trust and carried out lots of DIY projects. They also toured local town centres telling residents about One Barnet for 99% of whom it was something they had not heard of.


There was a protestette at the Capita organised conference on Outsourcing which included Barnet's own expert on the perils of outsourcing Andrew Travers who was either not seen or so devoid of presence that when he was seen, he wasn't!

The idea that bin lorries would be located in Oakhill Park was squashed with Cllr Rams taking the credit but with Mr Mustard's money being on Mr Reasonable's mole. It's a funny system where an officer ( or employee to give them a less poncey title ) that Craig Cooper again issues a DPR to do something and then a councillor issues another one to stop it. Why not talk to each other?

It wasn't a happy accident ( Serendipity = the old name for Sri Lanka ) that Cllr Hart, a skilled linguist, was unable to talk himself out of a Standards Board meeting where he was reprimanded as a result of his mimicry. Maybe the time has come to imitate, in real life, a retired councillor?

Cllr Kate Salinger's name was dragged through the mud by Cllr Andreas Tambourides and he was found guilty of disrespect and told to apologise. Instead he decided to appeal. 
Parking meters are all bagged over or start to disappear. Ironic the clamour to have them back. Yes, please, I want to put money in them! Approx £2m of machines sent for scrap. No call for them apparently except that Mr Mustard sees them nearly everywhere that he goes. They will be back, he is sure.

The CPZ Quiz night ( No, no questions on the rules of a CPZ ) was a sellout and a great success. Everyone had a great time and lots of money was raised from ticket sales, the raffle and the promises auction. Hopefully there will be another in 2012.

And another strike on 30 November 2011. An incredible turnout for what is a dry subject but a vital one for workers.


Faced with a roomful of angry traders whose businesses are threatened by the cashless parking scheme, the "leader" of the council, Cllr Richard Cornelius told them he was listening but that there was nothing he could do.

Mr Mustard demonstrates a clear constitutional breach in the appointment of RM Countryside Services Ltd to remove the parking meters, another abject procurement failure and all councillors can do is talk about the elephant in the room. The meeting might as well have been been held at London Zoo.

Barnet Council got a "highly commended" in the competition to be Legal Bullies of the Year. Only beaten by two even more stupid councils one of whom arrested a blogger for not breaking the law and the other has spent £100,000 on a legal case they cannot start!

Mr Mustard blunders into a veritable political storm. He finds a DPR worth £1,000 to compose a ditty for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee ( will she even hear it? ) which he thinks is a bit of a vanity project and the money could be better spent on services and then he is told that the composer, Tim Benjamin, is the son of the banner snatcher, Reverend Adrian Benjamin who is closely connected to Cllr Coleman.

Mr Mustard still has a lot to learn about Barnet Council; he will. 

What an interesting year. Thank you all for coming on the journey with Mr Mustard in 2011. He looks forward to seeing you all at the end of 2012.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. mmm. very good Mr Mustard, and Happy New Year. I think you have stolen my black hole, and I would like it back before Andrew Travers notices it has temporarily left his side. Thank you.

    Nice picture of your *rse. Did you take it in the mirror?

  2. Indeed Mrs Angry.

    My fervent wish for 2012 is that no councillor gets called a "prick" as there are limits you know.


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