Sunday, 26 February 2012

Guest Blog - Local Authority Trading Companies and Conflicts of Interest - by John Sullivan

By John Sullivan,

Enid Blyton gave us the Famous Five and the incompetent Barnet council driven by dogma and ideology have given us the Fabulous Five bloggers. Without the crass behaviour on so many fronts, the fabulous five bloggers that look out for the interests of the people of Barnet,( which incidentally is what the Barnet councillors are supposed to do ) would probably not exist. They continue to expose the dodgy goings on that are being carried out in our name.  Without them we would not have a clue at to what the council were up to up to and just how incompetent they are (so well done the Fab Five). As stated by Roger in his recent blog. Barnet Council is like a ship heading for the rocks, the problem is all of us in Barnet are likely to drown under the potential financial disaster and destruction of services we will almost definitely experience due to this mania to privatise at all costs.

 Barnet councillors like to be known as the Ryan Air Council, the pathfinders in modern ways to run councils, sadly they have only earned the right to be called the Laurel & Hardy council.  Like this famous pair they go from blunder to blunder and error to error driven on by stupidity and incompetence, added to the mix the Barnet councillors  hunger for dogma & ideology and a mania to privatise. Whilst repeatedly ignoring the siren voices of anyone, that raises a genuine concern with their direction of travel.

The most recent matter to be exposed by the Fab Five is council workers forming a company in order to direct education contracts that are being privatised by their bosses to line their own pockets. The Fab Five have exposed this behaviour on the basis of "conflict of interest " on the part of these council employees,  who have been suspended whilst the truth or otherwise of their alleged activities are investigated.  Without this privatisation mania , dogma & ideology that is at best a gamble and at worst a potential disaster for vital support services in Barnet, I would not be writing this blog.
In his blog Roger points out he had no idea about the new LATC that will cater for many disabled people in Barnet, and questions privatisation as a concept . I wish to raise both the issue of privatisation along with the issue of "conflict of interest " where it might possibly be related to the forming of this LATC.

Mania for privatisation . How do I define it?  As the parent of a daughter with learning difficulties ( she has down's syndrome ), I find it immoral and perverse, that on the one hand you have a councillor namely loud mouth Coleman abusing his office and publicly denigrating disabled people in Barnet. Because in his opinion and presumably that of the council he does not think that "THESE PEOPLE" ( the disabled ) have the right to the provision of transport to get them from  A to B, a service they have enjoyed since year dot. But at the same time he and the council feel it is perfectly right and proper to form an LATC , to make a profit from the disabled.  The only possible way that profit can be made from the disabled is by the Destruction of Disability Support Services, therefore whilst destroying the lives of many disabled people in the name of profit is considered a moral aim, the long enjoyed provision of transport is deemed immoral and perverse.
As the parent of a disabled daughter I find the desire to make a profit from the misfortune of the most  vulnerable people in our community, along with the destruction of their services to maximise that profitability to be sick, perverse and immoral . Therefore the driving force behind it is greed , avarice, dogma, ideology, and a mania for privatisation and that is how I define this particular aspect of privatisation the aims of this particular LATC and I will tell you why .
Conflict of interest, " how do you define it "
Roger asks five questions  about this LATC, but are they the only questions I think not. There are many more questions that need to be answered with regard to the privatisation and the destruction of support services for disabled people at the altar of profit. There are many questions to be asked about the manner in which this privatisation was forced through, and who benefits from forcing this privatisation through. Whether or not anyone doing the forcing and the driving had a possible "conflict of interests" ,or have or will benefit personally from their efforts currently or once this LATC becomes fully privatised which for me as a layman constitutes a possible or potential " conflict of interest ".

This is to important an issue to attempt to cover it all in one blog, so I will work on the five questions posed by Roger and invite any and all contributions in order that my response to the five questions posed will be based on a broad section of opinion rather than the  dogma, ideology and the ignoring of public opinion that is the hallmark of Barnet Council. I am currently engaging in meaningful consultation with others that are affected by the forming of this LATC before I respond, naturally the concept of meaningful consultation is an alien phenomenon where Barnet council are concerned it is something they preach but blatantly fail to engage in.

You also have a "choice" as to whether or not you wish to engage with me in my search for bona fide responses to the five questions posed.  Choice being another concept that is alien to Barnet Council yet another concept they preach but fail to engage in, they afforded no alternatives therefore no " choice ", yet believe it or not they had the neck to call this new LATC " Your Choice Barnet ".

I cannot attempt to cover the enormity of the volume of questions being raised and the detrimental impact it has had and continues to have on so many disabled people,( I hasten to add not all) in the run up to the forming of this particular LATC in one blog. It would be to the detriment of disabled people in Barnet, and unlike Cllr Coleman  and his fellow councillors. I am not in the habit of doing anything that is detrimental to the well being of disabled people in Barnet. I do not see them as an unacceptable drain on council resources as certain senior councillors clearly do . Keep watching this space, because this is the first in a series which aims to explore these questions.
Guest Bloggers are always welcome at the Barnet Eye. Blogs can be submitted via the email link in the Top right hand corner of the blog. John Sullivan is a Barnet resident and carer for his daughter who is an adult with learning difficulties. 

You can see John tell his story in the forthcoming film - A Tale of Two Barnets (click to visit film website) which will be premiered at the Phoenix Cinema on Monday March 19th at 6pm Tickets are £1.

Purely for clarity, the questions John Refers to are posed in this blog - 


Morris Hickey said...

Contrary to what you appear to be saying, Mr Sullivan, "Ryan Air Council" really is rather apposite.

Ryan Air states a price (the fare) and then makes so many additions (use of credit card, checking in at the desk, luggage, drink, wheelchair, toilet on board, etc) that in my book it is Ripoff Air. So Barnet Council???

Zoe said...

Birmingham City Judgement says....

ANY decision made by a Council that affects those with protected characteristics which include the disabled must favour them. Barnet sent a memo out when this ruling was made. Barnet have a habit of banking on getting away with unlawful decisions because Judicial Reviews tend to be off limits to most people. The five bloggers have to be congratulated on their tireless efforts to give us a chance to change what is rotten in this Borough. I too have a disabled son. I was not consulted on this, he was. Who has to pick up the loss of services to maintain the quality of life and stimulation for Adults with learning disabilities? The families and Carers. Barnet consulted just 22 individual members of the public who care for or who are disabled re the closure of the Garden Centre Yes just 22, yet I spoke to 100's of Elderly and Disabled members of the community. Barnet who fund these services effectively gag them from speaking out for fear of losing funding, it's in their contracts. It’s OK seemingly to have to now bus students to far away places to be able to deliver their services than to be able to add the benefits of independent learning skills by planning their journey using public. Public transport and in using it naturally integrate with the community in which case the destination needs to be local to be able to chaperone the more vulnerable members of our community within the hours that these valuable resources work i.e. if the journey is part of the exercise then it can only be of benefit but if the Journey is in a mini bus what value can be attributed. “ these people” are not a cost to be counted. We (who have the privilege to know or care) have a duty and the ability to ensure that wrongs are put right and wrongs are not made. Keep going John. Our children have rights enshrined in legislation, one would have thought that Barnet would have used their resources to pay due regard but sadly it seems they cross their fingers and hope they get away with it. There is no one size fits all but all are equally important.