28 January 2014

One Barnet isn't working

Fine words butter no parsnips
Before he gives you the bad news about One Barnet, Mr Mustard wants you to know that he isn't against the idea of outsourcing as he himself is a debt collector who provides an outsourced service. The difference between him and One Barnet is that he delivers what he promises and his income is directly related to his success rate. Mr Mustard was against One Barnet from the start as he didn't think the council had the capacity to procure what was needed ( the hapless Craig Cooper has left us but his legacy lingers) as he didn't think it provided the flexibility that was needed, a contract cannot provide for the unexpected, and as he didn't think the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) would be properly implemented or monitored and as the right to terminate at certain points in the contract were unlikely to be utilised as the capacity to provide the same service would not exist. You can disregard all of the Leader's fine words about how wonderful the world would be as mere blandishments designed to pour oil on troubled waters.

Sadly, in one of the first decent sized One Barnet projects to go live, Mr Mustard has been proved completely right in his doubts about the ability of the slim client side (Mr Mustard has no criticism of the individuals who are doing their best and are under the constant eye of Mr Mustard or his many moles, some of whom even Mr Mustard doesn't know the identity of) to properly scrutinise an outsourced provider at distance simply because they are under-resourced.

Now parking, as compared to the multifarious services taken over by Capita, is a walk in the park. All you have to do is wander about the borough and dish out parking tickets and then collect them. It is a discrete service i.e. it stands alone. What could be simpler? You can equate it to a sausage factory; meat, fat and rusk go in (Mr Mustard is vegetarian so not strong on sausage details) and sausages come out of the other end. This is what should happen to parking tickets. PCN go into the machine and money comes out of the other side.

NSL took over on 1 May 12 so we can broadly compare the years to 31 March 12 as being pre NSL and the year to 31 March 13 as being post NSL. How did they do?

Well, on the issue of PCN they couldn't have done better than a drunken sailor home on shore leave (Mr Mustard doesn't know where traffic wardens are recruited but if it is on the docks at Plymouth when a ship comes in he wouldn't be at all surprised)

Number of PCN # #
Year 11-12 12-13
Parking PCN 121,484 150,211
Bus Lane 13,317 15,358
Total 134,801 165,569
Percentage increase 23%

So since NSL took over there has been a whopping increase of 23% in the volume of PCN issued. Have you become 23% worse at parking since 1 May 12? No, Mr Mustard didn't think you had. So, put quite simply, NSL are out there from 7 in the morning until 11 at night issuing PCN like drunken sailors for marginal contraventions.

Have NSL managed to collect all of these extra PCN, or at least the same proportion of them as Barnet Council themselves did? Apparently not:

Income £ £
Year 11-12 12-13
Parking PCN 6,492,115 5,003,385
Bus Lane 735,537 831,492
Total 7,227,652 5,834,877
Percentage drop 19%

Now let us remind ourselves how much outsourcing to NSL was meant to save. The answer is to be found in the papers of the Cabinet Resources Committee meeting of 14 December 2011 which show that the 5 year contract was meant to save £2.95m over 5 years or £599,000 each year. So here we are after one year and we are losing twice as much as we are meant to be saving. 

Why haven't NSL been sacked when they fail to deliver so spectacularly? Well Richard Cornelius, what do you say to that?

Who should we blame for this mess? Well the councillors who were at CRC that night is a good place to start. The minutes show the councillors present to have been:

Cllr Daniel Thomas
Cllr Sachin Rajput
Cllr Richard Cornelius
Cllr Robert Rams
Cllr Andrew Harper
Cllr Brian Coleman

Shouldn't all of these councillors be playing merry hell that they have voted for something which hasn't been delivered? Yes. 
Are they doing so? No.

Are they up to the job of being councillors? Probably not, so vote them out at the next elections in May 14.

How does this translate into One Barnet generally? Well, if NSL can't manage a simple process like parking tickets there is no hope for Capita and complex compound procurements like NSCSO and DRS.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

No comments:

Post a Comment

I now moderate comments in the light of the Delfi case. Due to the current high incidence of spam I have had to turn word verification on.