Tuesday 19 January 2010

Barnet Council have learned nothing from the Iceland fiasco

As ever, the devil is in the detail. There is a rather telling exchange detailed in the latest cabinet questions session (question 36), between Alan Schneiderman and the former Leader of Barnet Council. Labour Councillor, Alan Schneiderman had asked why meetings of the Local Strategic partnership were being held in private and what the Council had to hide. He got the following response.

Answer: Leader of the Council
Absolutely nothing. If Councillor Schneiderman actually turned up for some of his Officer briefings, in the past year he actually had half a dozen meetings with Chief Officers, he could actually ask the questions himself. If he actually did the work that he is paid an SRA
Let us remind ourselves of the excuse for Barnet Council losing £27.4 Million pounds in Icelandic banking investment cock ups. When telling Mr Schniederman to ask Council officials he clearly forgot his own excuse for losing the money :-

'Trusting some officers to do their jobs was a mistake'

Read this article in the Edgware Time  - CLICK HERE - for the full story. In it, the former Conservative Council Leader says the following :-

“Sometimes you get let down and you have to learn from the experience.
“If officers can tell me the truth, however problematic that is, you can deal with it. If they don't tell you and it comes out, you have to chop their legs off.
“If you have a finance director and an assistant finance director who are very highly paid and they tell you the procedures have been followed you have a right to rely on them.”
The first sentence is the key. Have Barnet learned from the experience? If the former Council Leader, having lost £27.4 million of our money, because he asked officers questions and they told him porkies, hasn't learned, what hope is there for the rest of them. Schneiderman is right to want to attend the meetings. That way he'll ALL of the information, not just the bits Officers want him to hear. It's called transparency. It works because it helps people to ask proper questions.

I don't care who asks difficult questions at Council, Tory, Labour or Lib Dem. Anyone who wants to stifle debate is no acting in the interests of the people.It is clear to me that until Council Leader Lynne Hillan implements a truly transparent regime at Barnet Council, we will continue to have cock up after Cock up.

Hat Tip to Don't Call Me Dave at Not The Barnet Times foran, Barnet Council, Councillor Lynne Hillan,  highlighting this exchange

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Barnet Council is about as transparent as a thick mouldy soup with a bitter taste when it comes to explaining itself about the money it lost in Iceland, tax payers money. Its leaders have shown no remorse, but believe that by considering privatising it they can gain the money back. Barnet Council is incompetent with the fiscal management skills of a greedy reverse spend thrift scrooge.