Saturday, 30 November 2013

Your Choice Barnet - The Whitewash in words and pictures

I thought I'd collate all of the evidence to demonstrate just how much contempt Barnet Council and the Board of Your Choice Barnet have for the people they are meant to provide services for.

Firstly look at conclusion 6.5 from the task and finish report

6.5 The Task and Finish Group Review of YCB was initiated partly in response to public concern around its long-term financial sustainability. Ultimately, beyond the issues explored above, the Your Choice Barnet Task and Finish Group review found no evidence to support the call for services provided by YCB to be returned in-house. The Group recognise that the May 2011 Business Case had projected net losses for Year 1 and Year 2 (5.1.5 Table 1 above) and that the projections were revised by The Barnet Group Ltd. in the November 2011 Business Plan (5.1.7 Table 2) to state that a surplus would be achieved. The subsequently reported losses for 2012/13 (5.1.9 Table 3) have not given confidence in the financial planning or understanding of the business. However, the Group did not support the notion put forward by UNISON and CADDSS that the rationale for transferring services to a Local Authority Trading Company arrangement was in itself flawed.  (the full report is embedded below).

My question is this. What sort of idiot sets up a company with a business plan that involves running at a loss? If I went to the bank with a plan for a new business venture, which was set up to run at a loss, they'd laugh me off the premises. I cannot contain my disgust at what has happened with regards to Your Choice Barnet. I believe that Councillors from both Parties have badly let down the vulnerable people of Barnet. It would be easy to make excuses for them allowing themselves to be duped into applying the whitewash, but it would be dishonest to absolve them of blame.

For the record, the Councillors who put this report together and reached this conclusion were

The membership of the Group (as appointed by the Conservative and Labour Group Secretaries) was as follows:

Councillor Maureen Braun (Chairman)
Councillor Brian Salinger
Councillor Sury Khatri
Councillor Barry Rawlings
Councillor Arjun Mittra

Substitutes were:

Councillor John Hart
Councillor Rowan Quigley Turner
Councillor Kathy McGuirk
Councillor Gill Sargeant

You may wish to note that none of the members of the committee dissented from the views expressed in the report or issued a minority report on the paper contradicting the findings. We must therefore conclude that all members of the committee are fully supportive of the findings. We must also conclude that the Labour members of the committee did not support the view of UNISON or CADDSS that there was a compelling case for returing Your Choice Barnet to being run in house, despite the wealth of evidence available. Just for the absence of doubt, let us remind ourselves that prior to Your Choice Barnet Ltd being set up, these services were provided to budget by the in house teams and achieved high ratings according to external auditors.

You may also want to see the videos of the public question time. There are some rather interesting exchanges.

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