Friday, 9 November 2012

Barnet Question time - The full story

Last night at the Greek Cypriot Centre in Brittania Road, the leaders of the three political groups on Barnet Council held "Barnet Question Time" or #BarnetQT as the Twitter #Hashtag called it. Along with Richard Cornelius, Alison Moore and Jack Cohen, we had APSE consultant Andy Mudd as an expert and the meeting was chaired by BAPS member Barbara Horn-Jacobson. The hall was completely packed to standing and the audience comprised all manner of people. The event has also been videod for posterity and I do hope anyone who is interested has a look at these. My role was to provide a sound system and act as MC. I didn't participate in the debate, save for one short point, but made the safety announcements and carried the mic around. I was trying to think how best to summarise the night, and decided that rather than try and put my spin on it, I'd just print all of the tweets with the #Barnetqt tag. These give a very democratic flavour of what happened. Of course you can check these yourself on twitter. They have various links etc and I'd suggest you start at the bottom and read up. I will say this. Jack Cohen stated that this was the most well attended public meeting for 20 years. He recalled how when residents area forums had a proper format, hundreds of people would attend, to sort out their community. I do hope that the Tories who were present take on board the fact that local people are interested.

I was very surprised that no Tories tried to argue the case. It was interesting to see that Brian Coleman turned up. The comedy moment of the night was watching Helen Michael arrive and make a B-line for the spare chair next to Coleman only to realise who she'd be sitting next to. She made a swift retreat and sat at the other side of the hall. Sadly Brian did not enlighten us as to his views on One Barnet.

The other item of note was the film crew from the Guardian. If nothing else, they are now aware that the opposition in Barnet to the One Barnet project is not just "5 stroppy bloggers and the Unions" as Deputy Leader of the Council Daniel Thomas had told them.

One Barnet Question Time - Richard Cornelius
The star turn this evening was our chair, Barbara Jacobson, who worked hard before and during the meeting to ensure it went well.
- just got back from a memorable night. Packed hall & great debate
Cornelius unimpressive at . A bureaucrat whose mind is made up with no sense of accountability to residents.
: "Central government is bearing down on tax evasion." - Richard Cornelius
Tonight at getting to know the kind of cowboys that are running our council in well done for organising
Tonight excelled itself & won the respect it deserves as one of the leading community response campaigns in the UK.
As a much-removed employee of Cornelius and his ilk, I found his response to utterly demoralising ...
Thanks to all our panelists and our massive audience tonight and thanks to the Greek-Cypriot centre for hosting us.
Well that's all folks. Tonight's was a huge event for us and perhaps the biggest opportunity for a discussion with the leader.
Knows it's not the done thing to call into question the brainpower of one's opponents, so instead I shall simply cite as ...
RT : Cllr Cornelius admits he does not know what the confidentiality agreements with contractors will say - unbelieveable
Scary night at . Cornelius lacks the nous to do in two years what he's proposing in two weeks. £1bngamble not in trusty hands.
Yes agreed. I'm not an expert by any means but honestly ineptitude is the word that springs horribly readily to mind.
I don't actually object in principle, tho I agree with you re localism. I just object to this useless shower doing it.
The 'no guarantee' is great danger of doing so much at once. Barnet have a terrible track record of poor contracting
There are hidden costs at the sharp end re.opening new cases continuously. It's anti-localism too.
(pressed reply on wrong tweet, sorry) Anyway, yes; it can work, but there is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever
I've been on both sides of the fence, as it happens, altho admittedly not in public sector context
I mean the Conservative council. I'm sadly not at I've worked w outsourced resources and it isn't necessarily a saving
When you say "the panel", d'y mean yr followers (as I s/times do!) or literally the people at that meeting?
Cllr Cornelius claims NSL is generating savings - where is the evidence - in fact the opposite is the case
Have any of the panel worked with Capita or Serco outsourcing. Do they know how it works?
calls for the mad mad mad scheme that will bankrupt the Borough to be abandoned
No accountability and the cllrs can't question anything when private companies take ove, all panel agree expt Cornelius
Word of the evening "Disingenuous"
Cllr Cornelius admits he does not know what the confidentiality agreements with contractors will say - unbelieveable
I had been promised a right of reply after asking a question. Now its after 9 everyone's hungry and hot...and wanting to go home
Big problem with is how will cllrs have democratic control over the 70% of services outsourced. says
2 hours in to a call for Cllr Coleman to speak - will he?
Cllr Cornelius has not answered the question about why there was no in-house comparator.
A call for Cllr Coleman, who is in the room, to give his opinion on .... Will he?
and you can't bring people back in if jobs have been offshored
mudd says guaranteed savings in contracts are worth nothing at all
I think the real question no one is asking here, perhaps they are afraid ask, why are the ceiling fans not switched on?
"The two original authors of have left." Yes. CE Nick Walkley at the 11th hour, too.
"If the leader of the council is so confident residents of Barnet have been consulted then why doesn't he give us a referendum?"
We need proper evidence based decision making. And its not happening under says
mudd states Edinburgh example of councillor rejecting officers proposals even at last minute.
If is so good, why not allow scrutiny, transparancy and proper vote and consultation says local resident. Good point.
If last election in Barnet was a referendum on the Conservatives One Barnet Programme then we need to talk about Brunswick Park
mudd warns that when you contract for outcomes you can't determin methods. And if poor methods used council might not know
Cornelius actually understands the word "guts", then?
What would you ask Barnet Council Leader Richard Cornelius tonight about the One Barnet Programme?
Cllr Cornelius knows another organisation that has outsourced all its core parts - unfortunately he can't remember the name
absolutely, how many years has the leadership had the eye on only one ball, neglecting in house services.
Sounds like the good people of Barnet are ripping these OneBarnet plans to shreds. Take note Brent with your privatisation plans
"It does make sense to outsource parts of your organisation but it does not make sense to outsource the guts" resident says
what s the logic of outsourcing the guts of your operation to big companies who can take you to the cleaners ?
Andy mudd from APSE says there are better ways of doing things and is a bad plan and based only on ideology
Cornelius asked to give a successful example of a corporation outsourcing the "guts" of its operation
RT : "Central government is bearing down on tax evasion." Richard Cornelius < like Boris is on fares, ie doing fuck all.
Residents say doesn't make sense to outsource guts and core of organisation. No commercial sense. We totally agree!
"With Barnet Council's One Barnet programme the income gets shared with the private sector and out of borough" Andy Mudd says
mrreasonablesays he's read the data and people ate willing to pay more council tax for key services
Residents are prepared to pay more for key services says
Reading updates from reminded of my Tories "don't know their APSE from their elbow" gag: .
"You froze council tax but put residential parking permits up - effectively raising council tax by 18% for some" Alison Moore
RC asked how residents will benefit from One Barnet. He says council tax will not rise
says this wasn't in manifesto so don't use election as disingenuous excuse for consultation.
RC: Council is thinking about the disabled but also has to think about the tax payer who foots the bill
"Central government is bearing down on tax evasion." - Richard Cornelius
Rich Cornelius seems to confuse consultation with using consultants. Stop . is not for sale!
RC says that council is learning from the several failed joint ventures around the country
Richard Cornelius we are learning from the failure of other joint ventures. So why repeat the same mistakes.
RC berated for not consulting residents. He says last election was consultation
Cornelius says is learning from other joint venture failures. Comedy gold.
the people are irate not being consulted
Jack Cohen says finance is an issue, but also that legal action should be a last resort
What is and doing on ? . The campaign for Better Barnet is that response! Get involved!
Opposition councillors asked why they haven't taken legal action against the council
"Barnet has the worst council record for managing outsourcing in the UK" says Andy Mudd, Assoc of Public Service Excellence
1st question is where's the opposition been in all this process?
we have proven tonight that residents DO care. We have to stand up for what is ours ,our future and our money
Panelists tonight are Richard Cornelius (con) Alison Moore (lab) Jack Cohen (Ldem) and Andy Mudd (Local Govt specialist).
Welcome to our live tweeting event tonight. Over 300 + local residents are with us at with Council Leader. This is incredible.
Public services researcher Andy Mudd says Barnet is probably the worst contracting authority that he has ever come across
Incredible turn out for follow the hashtag. Loads of local blogers and journo's here.
Andy Mudd APSE consultant now speaking. "Barnet worst contracting authority I have come across"
Lib Dem leader Jack Cohen: residents councillors outside cabinet have been kept in the dark over One Barnet
andy mudd claims unison as client. And condemns Barnet as worst commissioner in country!
Jack Cohen "we are being kept in the dark" dead right jack. Total lack of scrutiny.
libDem Cohen negates privatisation. could be chucked out of party for repudiating coalition policies...
Alison Moore's (leader of labour group) opening speech at pretty much establishes her as the future council leader of Barnet.
AM suggests the council could save cash while avoiding mass outsourcing by cutting consultant fees & transforming inhouse services
says should be consulted on. Her speech is extremely well received.
Over 2/300 + at tonight's event with Council Leader. This is a powerful moment for
Happy to see so many people have turned up to go
Moore has so much to say she's rushing through her speech only to stop to let more folks in.
Richard Cornelius says isn't ideological. Really?!
Newly outed One Barnet sceptic sat at the back of the hall
Well last RT suggests the Greek Cypriot Centre hosting tonight's is packed and full to the brim.
Cllr longstaff alsoturnedup to
AM halted mid speech by latecomers demanding to be let into the main hall
On route to seems I will miss Cllr Cornelius speech - not sure he would have convinced me the is not a massive gamble
Richard Cornelius kicks off. Outsourcing not controversial oh yeh! Public won't notice changes.!!
cornelius stresses co-operation with other borough over privatisation
RC alludes to left leaning panel by remarking he feels "quite lonely"
Tory leader Richard Cornelius is one the panel, so is (Lab) and Jack Cohen (Lib Dems)
Council leader Richard Cornelius opens debate and is heckled after roughly ten seconds. They held it in as long as they could
At near david longstaff the room is full 2night richard c is talking
I guess the hashtags we are using tonight are and
Standing room only at the Greek Cypriot Community Centre
": Alison Moore & Jack Cohen just arrived. We now have a full panel for ."
Full house at where panel of party leaders and anti-outsourcing campaigners will discuss the One Barnet project
Alison Moore & Jack Cohen just arrived. We now have a full panel for .
about to start. Cllr Cornelius has turned up. Full house at the Greek Cypriot Centre. Barnet
One Barnet about to start. Full house and lots of cameras. National interest in One Barnet.

No comments: