Wednesday, 21 December 2011

The Barnet Eye writes to all Barnet Councillors asking for a meeting to explain the ongoing Metpro scandal

Every Barnet Councillor was sent this email today concerning the issues related to the onging Metpro Scandal. We will keep you posted as to what response we get.  Quite coincidentally, Mr Mustard reports that Barnet Council have been awarded the title of Legal Bullies of the Year by Private Eye magazine. 
The article mentions the Metpro scandal.
Dear Barnet Councillor,
Please see FOI response below from Barnet Council. The facts of this could not be clearer. Metpro were operating without a contract, had gone through no procurement process, were charging over the top rates and were providing services which were totally unnecessary. They were paid over £1.4 million.
There are many questions still unresolved, more than 9 months after the scandal was first uncovered and following the audit of the "contract".  The recent disclosures about RM Countrysides agreement shows that this was not a one off. In these times of financial difficulty, it is clear that the taxpayer cannot afford to be taken for a ride like this. I call on you all to demand an emergency council meeting ASAP and to get answers to the following questions.
1.  How many other "non contracts" such as the Metpro arrangement are still operating within Barnet Council?
2. How many services are Barnet Council paying for, which are totally unneccessary?
3. Who within Barnet Council is authorised to allow such agreements to exist and what controls are in place to monitor and regulate them?
4. Where such arrangements are in place, what evidence is there that Barnet Council are receiving "best value"?
5. Who was responsible for agreeing the unnecessary work carried out by Metpro? What other work have they authorised?
6. Given that Barnet Council have now admitted that an unlicensed and unregulated company was operating without contract and supplying unnecessary services, surely the Corporate Anti Fraud Team or the Police should be invited to investigate the arrangement, to assess whether there was criminal activity?
The job of Councillors is to oversee the executive and ensure that the taxpayer is getting value for money. It is crystal clear from the Metpro fiasco that this has not happened in Barnet. The audit report was a first step in this process, but it seems that there are still issues being uncovered. With the recent issue of RM Countryside emerging, it is time for a full council debate on the subject. I would suggest that the CEO Nick Walkley and the Borough Solicitor Jeff Lustig should be asked to account for themselves as both the business process and the legal aspects of the Metpro arrangements were found to be sadly wanting.
This issue cannot be ignored.
Finally may I wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

Roger M Tichborne
PS. May I take this opportunity to remind you that it is the last day to respond to the Barnet Eye survey of councillors. For each returned survey, I will be donating £5 to the Mayors Charity. I will be publishing a full report on the survey including the names of all councillors who couldn't be bothered to respond and help the Mayor raise money for charity.

No comments: