Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Barnet Council Scandal *updated* - Letter to Barnet Councillors : Blind panic as Future Shape Sinks

 I have just been sent a copy of this email. It was sent by the Deputy Chief Executive of Barnet Council to all 63 Councillors, in response to the letter I sent detailed here :-


Here is Mr Travers "advice" to Councillors. Sadly, he neglects to mention the issues raised in sections 3.2 and 3.3 -  I will post my response, but as far as I can see, Mr Travers has taken a political stance on this, which as I understand it, is against the rules.  I believe this to be a very serious matter. Anyway, see what he has to say and see if you can spot the flaw in his argument. If I were Mr Travers, I'd start looking for another assignment. The job of officials is to implement Council policy, not to make it. The scandal grows

Dear Councillors

One-Barnet programme

You are all in receipt of a letter from a Mr Roger Tichborne which was copied to the Chief Executive. Given the wide circulation of the correspondence, I thought it might be helpful to provide some further context.

Our external auditor, Grant Thornton, has undertaken a review of the One-Barnet programme. This review was agreed as part of planned work on the annual Use of Resources assessment. Prior to finalisation of the review, the government announced the abolition of the Use of Resources Assessment, but it was agreed that it would be helpful to the development of the One-Barnet programme if the report were concluded as part of the auditor’s statutory reporting in respect of Value for Money in 2009/10. The review is on the agenda for the Audit Committee tomorrow.

The review is a helpful and timely piece of work, and will assist as we finalise arrangements to move into the more intensive delivery phases of the One-Barnet programme. I have attached the key findings from the Executive Summary. The report finds that the governance arrangements for One Barnet programme are “generally robust” while making a series of recommendations for the delivery phase. The Council has agreed with these recommendations and the next steps are set out in an action plan.

The Future Shape report to the Cabinet in October 2009 set out the strategic approach for the programme and established the key principles of:

one public sector in Barnet
a new relationship with citizens
a relentless drive for efficiency.
Since that time, the programme has moved into the operational phase and the Council has developed its capacity to manage the programme effectively, including the establishment of a Programme Management Office and the One-Barnet Board.

It is now appropriate to bring together the strategic principles agreed in October 2009 with the emerging programme to agree a One-Barnet business case, and this is in hand. It is, however, important to note that the One-Barnet programme is a strategic transformation programme and will continue to evolve as we work with partners in response to the changing national and local context.

With regard to costs, £810,000 was spent on externally commissioned support for development of the Future Shape programme in 2008/9 and 2009/10. For 2010/11, there is a revised budget for delivering the programme of £1.5m. For future years, the Council has established a transformation reserve to enable the programme to be taken forward. Costs are carefully controlled at the individual project level with approval through the officer Investment Approvals Board and will be reported through to the Cabinet Resources Committee. Savings of £1.4m (£3.2m in a full year) have already been identified and reported to the Cabinet Resources Committee. Further savings will be set out through the business planning and budget-setting process. Overall costs and benefits for the programme will be managed through the One-Barnet business case referred to above.

I hope you find this helpful, and of course all Members are welcome to attend tomorrow’s Audit Committee to discuss this issue further.

Yours sincerely
Andrew Travers
Deputy Chief Executive
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP

Barnet Online: www.barnet.gov.uk
Update at 21:31 - You might be interested to read the following, sent to me by an avid Barnet Eye reader. When Mr Travers calls himself Deputy Chief Executive of Barnet Council, it aint' the whole story - and thanks to my favourate dyslexic Tory for the update !
Mr Travers is not a council employee

you can find his payments here

Chief Executive's Service Consult Fees Halliford Associates Ltd 14.05.2010 5000257036 - £15,000.00 - (monthly invoice for services)
Chief Executive's Service Consult Fees Halliford Associates Ltd 14.06.2010 5000260724 - £17,500.00
- (monthly invoice for services)

Companies House, looks like he saw an opportunity to leave and come to Barnet and set this company!

someone suggested that big earning consultants are not being engaged by the council according to HMRC guidelines. Apparently consultants should not be using council equipment like council staff. Perhaps someone should contact the Tax office,

Seems Mr Travers is well used to dealing with Auditors he has come from GLA


and this

you are going to love this ....no wonder he has come to Barnet

The letter recommended urgent actions to improve the monitoring and accounting of spending at the agency and the development of "robust quality assurance processes" to ensure that accounts are presented for audit error free. The letter was sent to the LDA in January, just after the agency announced that financial director Andrew Travers was leaving the agency as part of a restructure aimed at improving financial accountability. full story here!


baarnett said...

So "one Barnet" is so named because it is an amalgam of all feasible public sector provision in Barnet, is it?

Does that mean that, for example, Barnet NHS shares data with Barnet Council and they share it with Barnet's Metropolitan police, and so on? How else can they share service provision?

Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

And I thought it was Prime Minister Pa Broon (RIP) who was the authoritarian one.

Mrs Angry said...

One brief question, out of so many raised by this idiotic concept: how much money has been slipped into the 'transformation reserve', and why has a specific amount not been stated? Is it because this will bump up the millions wasted so far on this disaster?

Jaybird said...

Mrs A

I believe the corporate plan quotes a budget of about £6 million next year for the transformation project (so pretty much the same as the library budget).

Mrs Angry said...

£6 million? For one year???

baarnett said...

Give a "special responsibility allowance" to Brian Coleman, to manage the whole One Barnet / Future Shape / Easy Barnet / What Ever.

That will sort things out.

baarnett said...

Take note: the


web site is active again!