Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Barnet Council Future Shape Scandal - My response to Andrew Travers

Following on from my previous posts on Future Shape/One Barnet and the scathing Grant Thornton audit report, here is a response I sent. This was emailed to all Barnet Councillors and the press, in response to a supposed "clarification" sent to all Barnet Councillors by Mr Andrew Travers, Deputy Chief Executive of Barnet Council, following my original email.

See this blog for further details of the original post
http://barneteye.blogspot.com/2010/09/barnet-council-scandal-letter-to-barnet.html

Mr Reasonable has written an interesting blog on the Audit Committee meeting

http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/2010/09/audit-committee-oops-we-lost-2m.html

I couldn't be at the meeting, had a school transfer meeting to attend for my son. From what MrReasonable has to say, it sounds like the penny could finally be dropping with our local Tories.

Anyway, this was my riposte to MR  A.T. Ravers email
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Dear Barnet Councillors,
I have been passed this email detailing the response from Andrew Travers to my email asking that you read the report prepared for Barnet Council.
Like Mr Travers, I too would like you to ensure that you understand the full context of this report - You can find it by accessing this link
Strangely Mr Travers makes no reference to the findings and the recommendations as set out in the Grant Thornton report (see below) - this is an extract from thre report.

Mr Travers makes no mention of the fact that no business case has been developed, the benefits and outcomes have not been identifies and most seriously, it has a high risk profile.
Whilst it is quite clear that Mr Travers has drawn a significantly different and more rosy conclusion of the contents of the report, all I ask is that you read the report in its entirity. If you have not got time to do this, please read at the very least, sections 3.2 and 3.3. These clearly show that there are serious issues with the management and implementation of this project. These sections paint a far less rosy picture than the rather selective extracts that Wendy Stout circulated.
Given the large sums discussed, I believe it is vital that all Barnet Councillors read this report in full, to ensure that they can in no way be accused of being negligent in their duty to the Council Taxpayers of Barnet. I suggest that councillors urgently contact Mr Travers to clarify the full implications of the issues identified and the recommendations. I would suggest that Councillors also ask how the figures detailed in this email can be derived without there being proper estimates of cost.
The function of elected representatives is to keep the executive in check. This means, on occasion reading reports such as this and asking difficult questions of Council officers aned reigning in their schemes.
Regards
Roger Tichborne

2 comments:

Johnny on the Web said...

Rog, I had the great pleasure of attending the Audit Committee last night where I had submitted a question on Future Shape. Some councillors questioned the lack of detail. Response yes we are sorry but we will do it now. Mr Travers reiterated the point that last year they spent £810,000 on externally sourced advice and plan to spend £1.5 million this year. What he constantly fails to mention is all the additional staff they have recruited including the formation of a new commercial directorate at a cost of over £500k a year. We have to wait until the next Audit Committee meeting in December to get some more details of what Future Shape/One Barnet is costsing and what are the benefits. You may be interested to know that the council also forgot to claim £2m for pension payments over several years and the claim can't be backdated. When the chairman asked why the auditors hadn't picked it up the man from Grant Thorton helped said that yes actually they had told the Council back in 2006/07 but that nobody had picked up the issue so they went on not claiming until this year. For more details please see http://reasonablenewbarnet.blogspot.com/

Mrs Angry said...

Rog: please amend today's blog as there is a misunderstanding, my latest blog that you refer to is not about last night's Audit committe, but is about the Futureshape issue and mentions an earlier Scutiny committee. Thanks.