Looking forward, it is anticipated that these challenges will continue. Through refreshing the council’s Medium-term Financial Strategy (MTFS), the organisation now faces an anticipated budget gap of £69.9m to 2023/24. This includes the savings of £17.3m already identified for 2019-20, plus a further gap of £52.6m to 2023/24.
The Barnet Tories, especially the new new breed would do well to make sure that such behaviour is consigned to the dustbin of history. As they are a large group, they have the ability to shape the way Barnet Council deals with the challenges. This is a key time for the Council, perhaps the most important in the next five years. A review of Capita is currently being undertaken. It is clear that the deal isn't working. The new councillors have an opportunity to make a big difference. I fully understand that they are Conservatives, but they should be aware that most Tory Councils have run a mile from Capita style mega deals. We have recently seen the CEO of Barnet John Hooton trying to sidetrack the democratically agreed decision of the PRC to get proper business cases for the three possible options for the way forward for Capita. New councillors should make it clear that this isn't good enough. If a business case can be made to demonstrate that Capita is the best option for Barnet, I would not criticise the new councillors for supporting it. If they meekly allow themselves to be steamrollered into approving a deal without proper numbers and proper scrutiny, then they will be as cuplable as the old guard. I run a business, I understand the need to take difficult decisions. I understand that sometimes you have to change the way you do things and this puts existing staff on the defensive. I also understand that this should only be done on the back of a robust business case. And it will only ever be done if I am happy with the numbers. So long as all of the new councillors can look the residents of Barnet in the eye when the decision is passed and say "I read the business cases and we approved the best one" then they will have done their job. That will go a long way to salvagining their reputation following the bins scandal. If they can't say that, sadly the people of Barnet will form a rather different conclusion.
---- Don't forget to make a date in your diary for The Barnet Eye Xmas party and Community awards at Mill Hill Rugby Club on Fri 14th December at Mill Hill Rugby Club at 8pm. We really hope you can come down and say Hi. Admission is Free.