Monday, 18 April 2011

Barnet Council : Metpro Scandal - The catalog of failure by Barnet Council

Barnet Council, it's CEO Nick Walkley and its (de facto) Leader Andrew Harper are doing their utmost best to bury the truth about this scandal. Our Barnet Conservative Councillors have collaborated in this blatant attempt to hide the truth, by voting en mass to reject the opposition call for a debate at the last Council meeting. There can be no doubt at all that they put party loyalty before good governance or the interests of the Council Taxpayers of Barnet. I have made a list (I'm sure I've left a couple of things out) of the many worrying failures of Barnet Council in this sorry mess. Can any reasonable, fair minded person read this list and conclude that an internal enquiry by the very organisation which allowed this catalog of shame to occur, is acceptable or appropriate.

The latest edition of the Ham & High details more disturbing details (go to page 4 of the E-Edition)

This blog renews its call for an Independent Public Enquiry. If Barnet Council are unwilling to do this, then we will take our cause to Eric Pickles, the Local Government Minister, David Cameron, The Prime Minister and Nick Clegg, The Deputy Prime Minister. A full press release on the issue is currently being drafted by a group of concerned Barnet Residents and Taxpayers. If you wish to participate in this campaign, please email me via the link in the sidebar.We cannot allow the Council to behave in such a shoddy manner. Every responsible Council Tax payer suffers through such shoddy deals. Contracts are meant to be awarded on the basis of an open honest tender, not by backroom arrangements such as this.

Here is the list of reasons why Barnet Council cannot be allowed to sweep the matter under the carpet. An internal investigation can have no credibility, given that the Council have a vested interest in closing the whole matter down. We say that the procurement process in Barnet has failed and needs a comprehensive overhaul to ensure a debacle such as this can never happen again.

a) Metpro Rapid Response had been paid a total of £1.2 million pounds by Barnet Council, although there is apparently no evidence of a proper contract.
b) Barnet Council have been unable or unwilling to provide any evidence that such a large contract was ever properly tendered.
c) Barnet Council never sought documentary evidence that the Directors of Metpro Rapid Response Ltd were properly accredited by the SIA to run such a business.
d) Barnet Council never sought more than assurances that staff were CRB checked for work they undertook with vulnerable people.
e) Never asked Metpro Rapid Response Ltd staff to wear ID badges with SIA registration details, despite this being a legal requirement.
f) Were unaware that the company was undergoing liquidation proceedings, whilst continuing to work for Barnet Council.
g) Had transferred their business to another company Metpro Emergency Response Ltd (which had bought the database, assetts and Website of Metpro Emergency Response Ltd).
i) Were unaware that Metpro Rapid Response Ltd staff routinely and covertly filmed residents whilst undertaking work on behalf of Barnet Council.
j) Have claimed all such film was obtained and destroyed, even though it could contain footage of criminal activity.
k) Have subsequently stripped Metpro Emergency Response Ltd of the contract and awarded it to Blue 9 Security Ltd, using delegated powers (ie with no democratic oversight).
j) Have claimed that as of th 13th April the matter was not of public interest, despite numerous press articles, including an article in the Eevening Standard the day before (12th April).
l) Have claimed that the chair of the business Managament and Overview Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Hugh Rayner has discussed the issue of Metpro with nobody, despite this being a clear matter for his committee, indicating that Councillors have been kept in the dark.
m) Barnet Council refused to sanction a debate on the issue, which was asked for by Councillor Alison Moore, the Leader of the Labour Group.
n) Metpro Rapid Response Ltd have debts reportedly of over £245,000  to the inland revenue, which implies they have paid no tax at all on their income from Barnet Council.
o) Many FOI requests regarding the issue have been late or worse still, not responded to at all.


baarnett said...

We must be clear that MetPro Emergency Response Ltd. is a company set up in January 2011, and it, and its directors, are beyond reproach.

MetPro Rapid Response Ltd. is a company in liquidation, and in practice, any sort of criticism whatsoever can be thrown at it, without any comeback.

The liquidator of the latter company must act in the best interests of the creditors of the company, reportedly including HM Revenue and Customs. Perhaps he/she received an amazingly good offer to purchase databases, vehicles, clothing, equipment, and crucially, good-will, of the company, such that advertising of assets on the open market was not thought necessary.

The liquidator may have noticed a remarkable simlarity between the name of the collapsed company and the name of the new company that approached him/her, and that reportedly purchased those assets. He/she would have thought, "Blimey! Small world, isn't it? You don't see any company with Metpro in its name for years, and then two come along together!"

This subject will no doubt be of interest to bloggers further, over the coming weeks.

It is open to any creditor of a liquidated company to view the liquidation report, which must be filed at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, to confirm the actions of a liquidator were appropriate in the circumstances. It is not open to the general public.

sam said...

This is the same is still up and running in the totteridge and whetstone area getting money from residence in totteridge. same 4x4 same bikes same evo car and same kevin sharkey
driving it every day. and doing key holding with still no SIA licence. and still no police stopping him and his merry men braking the law.