Wednesday 17 December 2008

The London Borough of Barnet - The Zombie council !!!

I looked up the word zombie on the cambridge on-line dictionary.

zombie Show phonetics
noun [C]
1 INFORMAL DISAPPROVING a person who lacks energy, seems to act without thinking and is not aware of what is happening around them:
He just sat in front of the TV all day like a zombie.

2 a dead person who is believed, in some Caribbean religions, to have been brought back to life by magic

Both definitions brought to mind the "Future Shape" scheme. Remove all personal resoponsibility from staff, employ the lowest common denominator. If Zombies 'R' US tendered for the contract ("They're dead, they don't want to be paid") they'd win hands down. They may do a rubbish job, but hey they're cheap.

Barnet has experience of Outsourced contracts. Fremantle, Sodexho (meals on wheels). Does it bode well? Now I'm all for a bit of efficiency and lower tax bills (who isn't). It's just that Barnet has a history of not implementing schemes very well.

On my last blog "Andrew" left a comment saying that my FOI request had cost £150 to answer. Now I have no idea whether "Andrew" knows what he is talking about, but if he's correct it is a sickening indictment of the council. All of the questions were seemingly answered in a phonecall to the "media manager". Either the media manager is on a million pounds a year, Andrew is telling porkies, or they've lost the plot.

The trouble with Zombies is that they need an evil genius in control. Without that they are just glorified headless chickens. I'm sorry to say that from what I've seen of Mike Freer and his track record, the one thing you can't accuse him of being is a "Genius" (Mike, please feel free to post your certified IQ below should I be wrong - I'll even send you a box of ASDA mince pies as compensation for my slur).


Amanda said...

Now what a surprise you have'nt PRAISED the council for their reduced parking pricing policy over the festive season!

Why not? Well because it is positive and we can't have that now!

Rog T said...

I think it is a good idea to help retailers and residents. Well done for the initiative. It is quite imaginative. There you go

Having said that, as the council increased the cost of parking at Bunns Lane Car Park by 50% for commuters when the Tories were elected then put it up to £5, then put it back down to £3 when everyone started parking in side roads, the temporary reduction doesn't go very far towards compensating commuters for the average £230 a year increase that the Tories costthem in stealth taxes.

Rog T said...

I should add that having read Dan Hope's comments in the Times, he is correct that the £1 all day rate is likely to be counter productive as this will result in commuters etc hogging all the parking spots. I think the cheap short periods are a great idea.

A good idea yet again ruined by poor implementation and lack of discussion and no attention to detail.

Anonymous said...

lol... I was about to comment on my comment! You beat me too it.

There is a way bigger story here about parking. The problem with the Council's parking policy is that they really do have to charge those rate (in most places) as parking is so scarce. Go to most town centres and there aren't empty pay and display spaces.

The problem is lack of parking spaces (I know RogT is less of a car fan than me). If the Council laid on more parking then, and only then, could it lower charges.

My prediction is a bit of pandemonium over this 'eye catching initiative' from Freer AND lots of parking tickets handed out to people who couldn't find space... Can you imagine what Xmas Eve will be like...!

I really, really want cheaper parking ie like Edgware Broadwalk manages.. but this isn't the way...

Rog T said...

I have major issues with Barnets general policy on parking. i'm pro small trader and I agree about car parking spaces being too scarce.

The original plan for the Bunns Lane Carpark was that it was multi Storey. If they worked with Network rail & a developer, they could easily generate revenue and solve the parking problems.

By the way, I'm not anti car per se, my folks ran MacMetals, a crash repair business for 40 years, so I guess I even owe a bit to bad drivers. I just disagree with you about road safety & speed humps. Having spent my childhood years looking at crash wrecks, gave me a perspective on what happens when you go too fast that maney people seem to lack.

Anonymous said...

A bit extra...

"3.1 Traffic flow may become an issue over the proposed period, due to maximum waiting restrictions being lifted.However, surveys are being carried out during the process to ensure that our traffic management duty is adhered to."

"3.2 ...An application is being made to Transport for London (Network Assurance) to agree this initiative in a shorter timescale on the basis that the changes are being effected under an experimental Traffic Management Order, which can be rescinded at any time should congestion and delay occur as a result of these parking control changes."

"5.4 In addition to the costs of re-programming machines there will also be costs associated with changing of signage both before and after the period in question. It will also be necessary to vary the traffic orders, which involves placing adverts in the local press.

5.5 It is estimated that the cost of these actions will be around £50,000..."

"8.3 It would not be possible to offer free parking for all pay and display as this would lead to impeded traffic flow and would raise concern regarding our statutory traffic management duty as a Highway Authority. The P&D machines cannot in any event be programmed to operate in this way and we need to have a parking control system that encourages turnover of spaces to the benefit of the local economy."

How can they write this but have £1 all day parking!?

Doesn't look that well thought through, does it?