Friday, 30 September 2011

Barnet Bloggers ask : Is Mr Bean in charge of PR at Barnet Council?

Unbeleiveable. That was the general consensus regarding Barnet Council's comments that "One blogger has cost the Council £40,000 by sending in 175 FoI requests". Who is running their publicity machine? Mr Bean. Well thanks Barnet, another record day on the blog stats, as hundreds of people do google searches on "Barnet Blogs" and arrive here. Welcome to all the new readers. What do they find? A group of people who are trying to make the council do it's job properly, by reporting on scandals and blunders at Barnet Council. They find that a council has claimed to have spent £40,000 answering questions which it could have answered for a fraction of that cost, if it had its systems and procedures set up properly. FoI requests don't say "I demand my million pounds". They say things like "Can the council confirm whether Barnet Council ever checked whether Metpro Security Limited had a license to legally provide security services". A properly run council would have a document management system, to which they'd type in "Metpro SIA license" and up it would pop (or not). It would take 1/2 an hour (being charitable) of a junior FoI clerk's time. How can that cost £228? I've submitted 6 FoI requests in the last year. Three were answered after the legally required 20 day period. 50% late.

As I explained yesterday, the blogs of Barnet have saved the taxpayer hundreds of thousands, if not millions of pounds by making the council do their job properly. I for one welcome the council starting this debate. It can only be good for residents and taxpayers

1 comment:

Mrs Angry said...

The unfortunate truth is that the Barnet Tories are panicking, because the Barnet bloggers now exert such a powerful influence and are damaging the Tories' shameless exploitation of the responsibility invested in them when they were elected.

As for the idiotic statement by John Thomas: perhaps he should calculate the real cost created by the amount of effort senior officers put into obstructing responses to perfectly valid and straightforward FOIs - see the MetPro emails for proof of this - or the more recent request as to how many senior officers have accepted hospitality from BT, one of the four shortlisted tendering companies vying for £750 million worth of business from Barnet. This question was ignored for months and then blocked. Why?