Friday, 17 September 2010

Breaking News - Barnet Council Scandal - Official Barnet Document - The Future Shape Project has failed

It's been called many things, Future Shape, EasyCouncil, OneBarnet. Millions of pounds has been spent drawing up reports. Barnet Council has commissioned Grant Thornton to do a review of the Governance arrangements. This is being reviewed by the Barnet Council Audit committee next week. You can read the document here :-

The report is the most shocking thing yet. I have reproduced the key findings and recommendations here. This could not possibly be more damning. Read this (it's an extract)
It is there in black and white in the Councils own report. After all of the millions, Grant Thornton have found they have not developed a business case to support it. That is after three years work developing it. They haven't identified the benefits of doing it. There are no proper estimates of the cost. They don't know the timescales and the project milestones and the project is a "high risk profile".

In other words, they don't know what they are doing. Lynne Hillan is one of the chief architects of this program. She should be sacked for sanctioning the spending of so much cash whithout developing a business case or identifying the objectives and benefits. Mike Freer MP, the previous council leader, should be surcharged for all of the millions wasted. The very first thing you develop when implementing any project in anything is a business case and a cost benefits analysis.

Jack Cohen, in his blog discussed how the scrutiny committee sent back a proposal to spend even more money on the project. Jack talks about blue papers giving the amount, which he's not allowed to disclose. Jack may not be, but I can. It's approx £2.5 Million (and before you ask it wasn't Jack who told me). This is for further work on a project with no business plan and no cost justification.

The only conclusion for any sane individual is that Barnet Council really do not know what they are doing. The whole fiasco is a money pit (for your taxes and mine). They are planning to flog libraries and shut childrens centres to pay for it.

Much as I may deride our Conservative Councillors, some of them are intelligent people. I urge them to read this report and then reconsider the results of their leadership vote. This report has been commissioned by them. It details all of the catastrophic failings of the whole project. It is couched in nice words and a few bits have been chucked in to give the council a fig leaf.

The bottom line on the report is that it spells out the fact that Barnet Council are not capable of running a whelk stall, let alone a local authority. No one can possibly offer any excuse for spending millions of pounds without developing a sound business case for it. That is exactly what Mike Freer, Lynne Hillan and the team have done with our money. This is a massive scandal


baarnett said...

All the consultants involved since the beginning must be laughing all the way to the bank, over what they have managed to extract from this useless local authority.

Johnny on the Web said...

FYI Mr Reasonable submitted a question on this specific matter to the Audit Committee on Tuesday this week. It will be interesting to see their response.

Moaneybat said...

"Much as I may deride our Conservative Councillors, some of them are intelligent people."

Oh Yeah, like Anthony Finn BSc(Econ), FCA - What a waste of money on his education.

The unions had already suggested at far less cost than the Grant Thornton report. I echo all your sentiments on surcharging Mike Freer (3 MBAs)with all the other architects and the Executive Director who proposed this to the Councillors

baarnett said...

Perhaps Mike Freer could consider a career change, and start selling ice creams from his new van.

Mrs Angry said...

I was about to make a filthy joke then, baarnett, but thankfully I just stopped myself. Anyway: perhaps this little mess might explain the motion at Full council celebrating the death of the Audit Commission?

Moaneybat said...

Mrs Angry,

Here is something the 'rookie' reporters of our local newspapers should be ankle-snapping since the Audit de-Commision.

Mrs Angry said...

Indeed, Moaneybat: let's hope they don't let us down ...

Michael said...

..Isnt it time for a spanish [or french style] full scale street protest and boycot of this bunch of money-wasters. Mind you, '4Jobs Coleman's' plans to 'privatise' [read sell-off] all the Allotments in Barnet [along with a few Libraries] should cover the Icelandic losses and leave some in the back pockets.Zorro