On Monday, Barnet Council signed two contracts with Capita to outsource the provision of services for the next ten years. Capita have a proven track record of failing in the provision of services (Click here for just a few stories http://barneteye.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/Capita%20Week ) . Last week, the council admitted defeat in a court case brought by local residents, where the high court declared parking permit price hikes illegal. This week, the Barnet Eye disclosed that Barnet Council has just appointed a new head of childrens services, one associated with data protection breaches in Wales. One of the victims of the breach was reported as saying “It doesn’t show much regard for the kids when you have hired a social worker that has overseen a department that has released personal information about people who have been the victims of the worst paedophile ring in British history.”So much for due diligence in Barnet Council. The salary for the job is well in excess of £100,000. In fact Barnet Council have had a corporate restructure to create this post where one senior post with a salary of approx £135,000 has been abolished and replaced with three posts with salaries over £100,000. This is savings and cuts Barnet style.
So who's fault is this mess? Well sadly my friend, the answer is it is all your fault. Yup, you personally. I absolve myself of all blame for any of it. How can I say that? Well, I believe we all have a civic responsibility to care about how our council is run and how our taxes are spent. I discharge my civic responsibility to the best of my ability by writing this blog. I spend tens of hours writing and researching it. What do you do? This mess can be sorted out, but only if we all demand better from our local councillors. I spoke to one of the Mill Hill Councillors recently who told me that he rarely gets emails about how the council is run, so that means it is run well. Conservative Councillors tell me that on the doorsteps, people tell them they are doing a good job.
So I have to conclude that the vast majority of people don't care. If this is the case, I suppose that if the Capita contract goes the way of the Court translation service, Birmingham, Swindon..... contracts, then they won't complain. There is a council election in May next year. This offers an opportunity to try and fix Barnet Council. I happen to think local politics is broken, the system of party whipping for local issues doesn't work. The problem is that to stand as an independent will simply split the anti council vote allowing the Conservatives to continue to drive towards the edge of the cliff.
I've racked my brains. I've made films, written blogs, stood on street corners, handed out leaflets, emailed councillors trying to convince people to see sense. I can't do it alone. If you think you are not to blame, then prove me wrong. Get off you backside and start emailing your local councillors to tell them that this is unacceptable. Get out campaigning. When the politicians knock on your door, ask searching questions. Democracy only works if we all participate. If you don't, then I am sorry but I blame you for this mess !