Thursday 19 October 2017

Chaos at the Council - The Freedom of Information systems goes haywire!

Yesterday, the Barnet Eye tried to check up on a few Freedom of Information requests. The first we looked at was one concerning expenses around council hospitality for dignitaries from Morphou in Cyprus.

This is the request and the link
3929896Hospitality costs for Morphou visits03 October 2017

Rather bizarrely, the link takes you to this request

Granville Point Building Control Application F/10/09886

We tweeted the issue to the council, who acknowledged the problem and are investigating. Since Barnet Council outsourced its IT systems to Capita there have been repeated cock ups, malfunctions and problems. These have been raised in audits and recovery plans have been drawn up to resolve the issue. A couple of years ago, we even saw the CEO of Barnet Council, Andrew Travers, get the boot following a spectacular IT failure the resulted in botched voters list being sent to polling stations on Election Day.

There is a simple reason for all of this. Changes to council systems and procedures are not being properly tested. Anyone who has ever worked in IT will know that if systems are properly designed, built and tested, they work well. If corners are cut to save money, they go spectacularly wrong and cost far more. If you have handed control to your supplier, they actually make more, as you have to pay them to fix it. You also have the reputation damage and the inconvenience to taxpayers. We have a council that is badly run by complacent councillors. The FOI system cock up is just the latest chapter in the litany of shame that Barnet Council IT has become.

No comments: