Saturday, 12 October 2013

Guest Blog - Are Barnet Council lemmings lead by lemons by Big Ronnie

By Big Ronnie,

I came across this blog a couple of months ago Googling dyxlexia after seeing the Shane Lynch program on the box. What Rog writes about dyslexia is quite interesting and reminds me of my own days at school. I had a rotten time at school and couldnt wait to excape. When I left I felt liberated and with a handful of o levels started to run my own business as I found an area where there was easy money to be made. There is an old saying that where there is muck theres brass and I found that to be true. Whilst Rog seems to be a socialist and keen on the state running the show I believe in self sufficiency.

As i read his blogs about subjects other than dyslexia I got rather pissed off at the left wing agenda that he seemd to relentlessly push about Barnet Council and the One Barnet project. I live in Barnet and I have always found the council to be OK. My bins get picked up my kids had good schools and the parks are well maintained. When I read about One barnet I thought its just unions trying to keep there members jobs, why should I care. I saw a cuple of guest blogs so I thought I'll write one and put the otherside of the story. Why shouldn't the council outsource. Like Rog if I get a bee in my bonnet I have to do something.

So I thought I'd find a few riproaring outsourcing successes where the council tax has tumbled. Afterall that is what it is all about. So I Googles council outsourcing saving money. This produced a big long list of places where it didn't save money and a few places where councils have just recently signed contracts making big claims. In fact the top item was a story about nine outsourcing failures. Much to my surprise, my own council Barnet was number 2 in the list! My search hadnt got off to a good start.

So I Googles council cut council tax  outsourcing to see if there is any evidence there. Do any of these say theyve cut it because theyve saved money by outsourcing? I mean if you did a great job youd tell the world wouldnt you? I found it rather odd that nothing seemed to come up at all to show this worked. So then I Googles big council tax cut.  Surely there must be a local council somewhere that has made a big council tax cut because theyve outsourced? again nothing.

So what does this tell me? Theres only 2 possible things it can tell me giving how politicians like to boast when they dont cock things up. It tells me that either outsourcing doesnt save money so they have nothing to boast about or that if it does they are so useless that they waste the money they save somewhere else andso they keep quiet about it.

Then I read that the Barnet Council is planning to cut council tax with all the money it saves. Now this is good but all of the other stories of outsourcing dont save money. As we saw in the first Googles I did even Barnet had cocked up and lost money when they thought theyd save it before. So they are making cuts with money they havent saved.

Now Rog likes to share things in his blogs about the lessons he learned at school and the things teachers told him. I done well since I left school. My business has made me millions and so I reckon I know a thing or two. At school my teacher said to me Ronnie you are an idiot you surround yourself with idiots and you play the fool you will do nothing with your life. So I thought about this and thought well i may be an idiot but i dont have to surround myself with idiots. When i started running my business i thought i will get the best people i can and i'll hang on to them. So i found that if i pay them better wages than the other firms i get better staff. Then i find that if one of my competetors has better staff than me i can pinch them if i pay them more. It costs me more money but they do better work and they know if they screw up they will lose out big time. And then I look at my customers. I think if they have a problem, i want me or my staff to sort it out, so they know they are being looked after. So even if we screw up they know that if they take there business away they will get worse service somewhere else. So over the years my business has gone from strength to strength and all of the main local competition has gone. This is because we run our show properly. I may be an idiot but i am not surrounded by idiots. I have a great workforce and i pay attention to the small things. The people who work for me know i may turn up at any time at any place. I still jump in a truck and go out on jobs sometimes especially if there is a problem. In the office i will check invoices. I will read the mail. I will ring up customers if there is a problem. I don't fob people off if we screw up. Its called running a tight show. My customers rely on me. I rely on them. That is what makes us tick.

So I think about Barnet Council and what they are doing. They are moving the jobs out of Barnet. Will people in Blackburn care if something goes wrong. They are paying less wages. Will people take pride in their job and worry that if they get the sack, they will think they can only get a worse job if they leave. Is the man at the top of the council surrounding himself with superstars or idiots. and you know what I have had to admit. After voting Conservative all my life I have to admit that it seems like they really dont know what they are doing. As I started writing my guest blog I read more on this blog and other blogs about what has been going on in Barnet. It seems to me that there is potential for huge savings at the council. This wont come when people say to another firm who take jobs out of the area and pay peanuts. It will come when the people at the top start running the show as if they were running their own business and spending there own money. If the leader of the council and his mates took an interest in the day to day running. Turned up unexpectedly. Went out on jobs. Queried invoices and paid people more if they were giving 100% and delivering great service then we'd soon see real savings and real cuts. In my firm i found that ten good workers do the work of fifteen or twenty lazy ones. If I pay them 15% more than the going rate I get more work done for less money than my competetors. Do the maths. I encourage them to use their brains and  this saves the company money. Let me give you an example. We have a lorry that has to go to Chesham and to Peckham. When we load it, the first drop goes at the back and the second at the front. If we do Chesham in the morning and Peckham in the evening, we are going against the traffic both ways. That way the driver can leave at 8am and be back by 5pm. If we do it the other way, he'll get stuck in the rush hour and will not be back till six or seven. That will add 2-3 hours wages and 25% more fuel. if my staff dont care about how they schedule the runs then that costs me big bucks. Because they do, we all do well. If one of my staff has a good idea and it saves the firm money, if its a small amount I'll give them a few quid. If its a big amount, I'll pay for them to go away for the weekend. That way they know they are appreciated.

Does the workforce at Barnet Council have any sense of appreciation if they do good things. I can guarantee that if they don't they wont deliver. When I started my business, my biggest local competetor had  anear monopoly. They gave rubbish service and they used to regularly let their customers down. The staff were surly and they simply didn't care. The management dismissed us when we started up. Used to call there management the lemons and the staff the lemmings. From what I've seen that seems to be the case at Barnet. The difference is that there is no competition. It is our cash and we really have no idea where it goes.  When I stated out writing this, I thought i'd say something different. It hasn't worked out like that.
Big Ronnie is a local businessman and runs one of Barnets most successful firms. Guest blogs are always welcome.

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