Saturday, 30 June 2012

One Barnet - The Programme that Keeps on Costing

I must be slipping. I read through the the papers for last week's Cabinet Resources Committee and missed a very interesting statement tucked away on page 144. (Page 16 of this download section). At 9.17.8 it says,

"To ensure the adequate funding of this enhanced programme of change, £10m is being added to the Transformation Reserve. Cabinet Resources Committee are asked to approve the expenditure of £6.140m of this within 2012/13, to fund the initiatives described above. The table below provides a breakdown of the predicted use of this money. The requested sum includes the totality of funding required for the three enabling projects and the Health Integration and Demand Management project. It also includes the funding for the development of Outline Business Cases for the other projects, and the funding of the programme management office through the year".

Put simply, what it appears to be saying is that Barnet need another £10 million to fund "an enhanced change programme". Interestingly the table below suggests that actually they need another £11 million of which £6.14 million needs to be drawn down this financial year. Personally I find this pretty scary. The One Barnet implementation budget was forecast at £9.4 million. They are now asking for another £10 or £11 million over the next three years. We don't know what that  money is going to be spent on. It just has to be authorised for senior officers to spend. Will a large chunk of this be spent on consultants and lawyers - probably!

Having watched the Barnet Bugle's video of the CRC meeting it appears that Cllr Harper refers to page 143 of the report and asks an officer to spell out the savings which are stated as £16 million.  He fails to draw attention to the additonal £10 million requirement on the next page, a very convenient oversight.

The reality is that One Barnet is in fact a load of smoke an mirrors. Most of the savings that have been made so far are simply old fashioned cuts. Staff made redundant, services reduced, the vulnerable made to pay more. Not one penny has been saved by the One Barnet Outsourcing project yet because it is almost a year overdue and will not come into force until the next financial year.

I would love to have a debate with Councillors about the One Barnet programme. I would love to see some of the details behind all of these figures. I would like to see a breakdown of the costs so far. Not in the secret state of Barnet where the citizens cannot be trusted with any of this information.

BT and Capita (oh and EC Harris) must be laughing their socks off.

Thanks to anonymous for the tip off!

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