Tuesday, 19 June 2012

One Barnet Outsourcing Is destorying the Council - Yet more evidence

Today I received an email from Barnet Council.

Dear Mr Dix,
Thank you for your request for a review (of an Information Request) received on 18 April 2012.

I apologise on behalf of the council for the delay in acknowledging your request. Due to an error on our case management system your email requesting an internal review was not picked up until late last week.
I am however sorry to that you are unhappy with the council’s response to your request for the following information:

Please provide me with the Members Allowances paid for the year 2010-11.

We will now conduct an internal review.  The review will be independent and impartial, will reconsider the merits of the case, and will identify any errors in the handling of your request.

We aim to complete internal reviews promptly and in any event within 20 working days from receipt of a complaint.  In exceptional cases we may take longer, but we will not exceed 40 working days.  This is in line with guidance issued by the Information Commissioner. In these circumstances however, we will aim to complete the internal review 10 working days from today.

Quoting guidance from the Information Commissioner is a bit rich considering they ignored my request for an internal review for 8 weeks. It is also shocking that more than a year after the financial year end I had to submit an FOI request to try (but fail) to see Councillors expenses that still have not been published. However, this pales into insignificance compared to the 7 month battle I have had to get a response to another FOI request. I have emailed, telephoned, I have tried to be reasonable, some would say overly reasonable. The Council resolutely ignores my request.

It is clear to me that Barnet Council are utterly out of control and I blame it all on the fixation with One Barnet Outsourcing.  A year ago I spoke at an audit committee meeting where I made it clear that senior management had taken their eye off the ball to focus on One Barnet. Here is yet more evidence that the problem is just getting worse and worse.

I would again make a plea to Cllr Richard Cornelius. Pause this One Barnet Outsourcing programme now, get your managers refocused on doing what they should be doing which is running the day to day business of the Council properly. The Council has spent millions on consultants but complying with the law seems to elude them.

I am increasingly if the opinion that the destructive nature of this One Barnet programme will leave such a mess that both Capita and BT will either end up charging a fortune or they will simply walk away from this basket case. Frankly it is turning into a lose lose situation. Cllr Cornelius please take control of this mess before the One Barnet Zealots destroy this Council once and for all.

1 comment:

  1. To be fair, nowadays they merely break the timescale requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

    I understand a few years ago, they just closed, unanswered, such requests after three months, as a matter of course.