This morning I sent the following email to every Barnet Councillor. I wonder how many will have the good manners to respond.
Dear Barnet Councillor
On Saturday morning, I attended a Mill Hill ward councillors surgery, with two of my ward Councillors, Sury Khatri and John Hart. It became apparent that Councillors Khatri and Hart, had not been fully briefed on all of the risks and issues with the One Barnet program, or as to the viability of the alternatives. I am not criticising the councillors, as they were open to reasonable discussion and seemed genuinely concerned about some of the points raised by myself and other local people.
As Councillor Hart is perhaps the most experienced in Barnet and Councillor Khatri is one of the most intelligent (no disrespect to anyone else), it is clear that officers are not sharing all of the information necessary to make an informed decision. Indeed I was rather shocked that as a blogger, I seemed better informed about the risks and downsides than our elected representatives. Councillor Khatri expressed the view that there were other councillors within the Conservative group with reservations about the process.
It is clear to me that many other councillors would have reservations, if the full facts were discussed in a proper manner in a calm and rational manner. Fellow Barnet blogger, John Dix, is an expert in the matter of outsourcing, and worked for a major firm involved in this business for many years. As we approach the time when a decision is required, I would strongly suggest that Mr Dix gives all councillors a full private briefing as to the risks. That way, the Council could make a properly informed decision.
Mr Dix is not a member of a trades union or a natural anti council campaigner. He is well informed and can explain many of the problems, which it is clear have not been fully discussed.
I ask you to consider the fact that Barnet Council CEO Nick Walkley has left the council suddenly, for a far less high profile and less well paid job. This cannot be seen as anything other than a most ominous sign that he has no faith that the program would be the glistening high point on his CV, that he had previously assumed.
Barnet Council states in the One Barnet guiding principles that consultation with the community is a major principle of the program. Surely the way to demonstrate this is to invite Mr Dix in to address you and discuss the problems he has diagnosed with the program.
As I explained to the venerable Mill Hill Councillors, my family moved to the London Borough of Barnet in 1937, we have run businesses in Barnet since 1946, my children attend schools in the Borough and my parents and grandparents are buried here. I am writing this purely out of concern for the wellbeing of my home town. I am highly concerned about handing over huge amounts of control to multinational companies who purely see Barnet and its taxpayers as a cash cow to be milked.