On 1 July Barnet Council issued a delegated powers report (DPR1327) which had the subject heading "Redundancies within Commercial Services". As ever, the real details were hidden in the exempt report which us council taxpayers are forbidden from seeing. However, the general thrust of the public report was about a reorganisation of Commercial Services, how people would be chosen for redundancy, redundancy costs and so on. It also mentioned "Freezing external recruitment until redeployees have had the opportunity to apply for posts". OK. Now jump forward exactly one month and today I see a new Delegated Powers Report has been published, DPR 1383 seeking approval to appoint Penna Consulting at a cost of £14,500 to "assist with the recruitment to vacant senior posts within the Commercial Directorate" and quoting DPR 1327 as the approval for the restructuring of the Commercial Directorate.
I had to do a double take at this stage. The report on 1st July talked all about redundancy and the need to make savings and 1 month later they want to spend £14,500 on recruitment consultants to employ new staff. On top of this it is important to understand that the Commercial Directorate was only set up a year ago at an annual cost of £900,000 per annum. The report does say that Penna are offering them a good deal at this price. Well I'm not surprised they gave a discount given that (according to the supplier payments over £500) Barnet Council spent £306,566.21 with Penna Consulting last year.
So where are we? In, out,in, out. Sounds like the hokey cokey to me. Actually this is tragic because it says to me that every action taken in Barnet has become a knee jerk reaction, no long term view, no clear vision, no clear strategy, just firefighting and that worries the hell out of me!