Friday, 17 June 2011

Barnet's £¾ Billion Gamble

Last night we heard about the parlous state of the Council's procurement and contract monitoring systems. This wasn't just in relation to MetPro, but indicated a much more widespread problem throughout the council. Last night there was great debate about the role of One Barnet and the risk that it has resulted in senior officers taking their eye off the ball in the day to day running of the Council. Imagine my surprise then that today Barnet has published the tender notice for the New Support and Customer Services Organisation. This is a huge tender and will last 10 years with an option to extend for a further 5 years.

The services in scope are as follows:

o Procurement
o Customer Services
o Estates (Asset Management, Building Services, Property Services)
o Finance
o Human Resources
o Information Systems
o Revenue and Benefits

The estimated value of the tender is between £600 million and £750 million. No, I haven't got the figures wrong. The value is up to £¾ billion. Having been at the audit committee last night and heard the mess that the council's procurement and contract monitoring is in, I can only see the launch of this tender process as utter and complete madness.

I urge every citizen of Barnet to question their councillor and ask them how on earth they can take a £¾ billion gamble.

1 comment:

  1. When the last Labour Administration sold land at Underhill on terms subsequently ruled by the High Court to be unlawful, the council said: “Very sorry. Lessons have been learnt. It won’t happen again”.

    When the Conservative Administration lost £27 million in Iceland, the council said: “Very sorry. Lessons have been learnt. It won’t happen again”.

    With the Metpro scandal, the council is making the same promises as before. Promises which it knows it won’t keep. And we know it won’t keep them.

    You and your fellow bloggers should take a well deserved bow for exposing this latest fiasco, but I fear you are banging your heads against a brick wall if you think that scrutiny and accountability will improve as a result of what happened. It won’t - for the simple reason that the failures stem from the very top. The errors are not due to clerical mistakes made by a junior dogsbody. It is a failure of the senior management who are paid bucket loads of public money, yet do not have the requisite knowledge or skills to perform the tasks required of them. Coupled with the fact that the senior councillors do not have the wherewithal to challenge or question what is going on, and you have a recipe for disaster. It is interesting that the only councillors who ever challenge the status quo are those who have no power whatsoever to change things.