Tuesday, 17 July 2012
Council Cabinet Member Sachin Rajput declares One Barnet outsourcing flawed !
I have just returned from the Barnet Council Cabinet meeting. During a long answer about closure of day centres, Councillor Sachin Rajput took time out to have a swipe at the former Labour adminstration of Barnet, who signed a ten year contract with Freemantle for provision of day centres and care homes. He stated that long ten year contracts are inflexible and not suited to the fast changing modern world.
Hello, earth calling councillor Rajput. You are a member of the Conservative cabinet that is hoping to sign up for the ten year long, one billion pound One Barnet Contract. That is TWENTY times bigger than the Freemantle contract.
After the meeting, the Council Leader rushed around to engage Councillor Rajput in conversation. One can only ponder what they were discussing.
I agree with Councillor Rajput. Ten year contracts are too long, too restrictive and are not suited to the modern, changing world. We will have some footage to show you of this in the not too distant future. This blog has been criticised for saying that Rajput seems to be one of the saner and more competent members of the cabinet. Whilst he is not Mother Theresa, he certainly seems able to see the basic problems with the council.
Now we only have the other ten of them to go and we'll get the whole fiasco dropped.
Later on at Cabinet Resources, we had the sight of Jack Cohen reducing the committee to silence, as he pointed out why the sale of Hendon Football Club had proceeded. Jack did something almost unique for a Barnet Councillor. He did his homework. The Leader looked deeply troubled. When faced with compelling evidence that they were going to make a lousy decision, the Cabinet ground to a halt. I have never seen anything like it. Jeff Lustig and Nick Walkley looked like they'd had their testicles slammed in a cupboard door. They were not happy at all. It is quite clear that if Barnet Council proceed with the sale of the football club, there will be a huge legal case and Barnet will lose. It is also clear that they will alienate the local Jewish community who are backing a a bid, which offered more money and didn't breach any rules. There is a clear need for more school places and the school backers have a solid plan. I don't support the closure or moving of any football club from the Borough, but if we are to sell off the ground, then lets at least get the best deal for the taxpayer and if it can improve the quality of local education, even better.
Nobody who witnessed Jack Cohens interjection will be left in any doubt as to the problems with the current preferred bid. We will post a video of it tomorrow. Councillor Hugh Rayner also interjected as head of the committee responsible for reviewing the bid. He stated that he was most unhappy at the attempts to bounce his committee into rubber stamping the bid.
It is fair to say that Cllr's Cohen, Rayner and Rajput tonight all spoke with a degree of common sense, which I have not seen for a long time in Barnet Council. I hope that this is infectious.