13 January 2012

Nick Walkley's Friday Joke ( unintentional)

Mr Mustard is sorry if you knew about this already.

The phone at Mustard Mansions has been redhot with calls about the weekly executive message and outrage at the contents. Mr Mustard thinks it is an elaborate joke about squaring a circle.

The first paragraph has been omitted as it concerned a bereavement and bloggers are human beings too you know despite a certain Brian Coleman being unimpressed with our entitlement to Human Rights. Aah, but we also have Blogger Writes which are powerful.

From: First Team
Sent: 13 January 2012 13:49
To: AllStaff
Subject: Weekly message from the Chief Executive

Those of you who have attended one of my recent budget briefings will know that I am keen to emphasise the democratic accountability that working in local government brings ( except in Barnet obviously ). Whilst popular media (bloggers getting to you are they non-stick ?) often downplays or caricatures councillors (Mr Mustard does believe that Cllr John Hart was up in front of the standards committee for mimicking a Sri Lankan resident - now that was an unfortunate masterclass in caricature so Mr Mustard thinks that members are being portrayed as they deserve )  , those who work in government will know the contribution Members make to the local community (good, bad, or indifferent. Certainly the contribution of the Cabinet Member for the Environment, and his parking payment & price policy, to town centres is making itself felt by the reducing number of visitors).

Supporting democratic accountability requires a decision structure that I know many of you can find a bit cumbersome, slow and often downright confusing (there isn't any democratic accountability. The structure is simple. The Cabinet run everything and you don't make it into the cabinet unless you work their way.) That need not be the case and often the examples I see are down to poor planning and communication (plenty of that around - the poor planning is why so many DPRs are being produced after the event). However, I also recognise that, particularly if you are faced with producing a report for the first time, the process can seem daunting (surely when people join they are given training as part of the induction process in how to produce reports so that it isn't daunting and so they set off using best practice?).

To help us all in this area, Corporate Governance are going to be running surgeries every Wednesday to offer advice and guidance to all officers. The sessions run from 11am-12noon (see the intranet for venues), so whether you want an introduction to decision-making or help on a specific report, drop by (any chance that you could start using Plain English as Mr Mustard suggested 6 months and which both you and the "leader" agree was a good idea and putting all relevant facts into reports and not making stuff exempt when it really doesn't need to be).

Mr Mustard looks forward to next week's joke from the Chief Exec, or a substitute if he is too busy to bother.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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