Yesterday it was disclosed that the contract between Capita and Barnet Council is 8,000 pages long. Has any Councillor read the 8,000 pages. No, but they will vote on committing us to this contract for the next ten years. Are residents allowed to read this contract - come on, don't be silly. Residents aren't allowed to know anything because they are only residents. Not only that, they would then know more than councillors (no big surprise there). So who is protecting our interest here?
Interestingly the Council report going to Cabinet have not been signed off by Barnet's shared legal service. No, it has been signed off by Trowers & Hamlins, the lawyers who have been advising council on the entire legal process.
Now call me old fashioned but I would have thought that in order to maintain checks and balances and to protect the interests of Barnet residents, it would be inappropriate for the lawyers drafting the contract to sign off the papers setting out the recommendations for Councillors. Surely Barnet's own legal department should be the people drafting the paper for Councillors. If they didn't have enough skill then they could have brought in their own legal support.
In Barnet, scrutiny, checks and balances, good governance, all seem to have gone out the window during this process and in my opinion that it utterly unacceptable.