Friday 10 August 2018

Barnet Consultation 2024 - Make your views known and have your say

Barnet Council hae launched a consultation asking residents what they want the Borough to look like in 2024.  It is important that residents have their say. Here is what the council say about the consultation.

We want your views to help us develop our corporate plan for 2019-2024, which will set out our priorities for the next five years and how we will use our resources.

What we want to achieve
Our proposed focus is on three main outcomes which are set out below. This doesn’t aim to capture all that the council does, rather it provides a framework to guide us.
Click on the image below to read more about the outcomes and the priorities we have set for each outcome.

Barnet are proposing to focus on three main outcomes and ask whether you agree or disagree with these. I agreed strongly

Outcome 1: A pleasant, well maintained borough that we protect and invest in

Outcome 2: Our residents live happy, healthy, independent lives with the most vulnerable protected

Outcome 3: Safe and strong communities where people get along well 

Overall, to what extent do you agree or disagree with the main outcomes we are proposing to focus on for the next five years?

They then ask for comments. I added mine. I'd be interested to know if you agreed.

Although I agree with all of these objectives, I believe that Outcome three should be reworded to say "A safe and strong community where people get along"

They then ask questions about outcome 1. Asking residents to rate whether they agree with these objectives

1. Maintaining our environment by investing in efficient street cleaning services and weekly bin collections

2. Improving roads, pavements and transport connections 

3. Looking after our parks, protecting our green spaces and improving air quality 

4. Ensuring decent quality housing that buyers and renters can afford, prioritising Barnet residents  

5. Investing in community facilities to support a growing population, such as schools and leisure centres 

6. Delivering on our major regeneration schemes including Brent Cross Cricklewood which will deliver 27,000 jobs and 7,500 new homes 

I agreed with all apart from no 6. which I strongly disagreed with as I do not believe it will help achieve the overall objective. I am of the opinion that this has been snuck in to give the councils discredited scheme a figleaf of respectibility. Whilst I agree that something needs to be done with Brent Cross, the current scheme is poor on how it will address transport issues. Cycling, better public transport (including a better solution for the Brent Cross end of the West London Orbital rail scheme)    
For option 2 they ask.

1. Improving services for children and young people, and ensuring the needs of children are considered in everything we do 

2. Ensuring we have good schools and enough school places so all children have access to a great education 

3. Integrating health and social care, including support for those with mental health problems and complex needs 

4. Supporting our older and vulnerable residents to remain independent and have a good quality of life 

5. Encouraging residents to live well and take care of their health 

6. Helping people into work and better paid employment
I agreed strongly with all apart from 5. I left the following comment.

It is unclear to me what  "encouraging residents to live well and take care of their health means". In its classic usage "living well" means being over indulgent. I would suggest rewording this to say "encouraging residents to make healthy lifestyle choices including eating healthy diets and taking regular exercise". This policy should be backed with positive strategies for walking and cycling

For outcome 3, the following statements were made and asked for feedback on

1. Creating a safer community 

2. Tackling anti-social behaviour including crime that affects our environment, for example fly-tipping, graffiti, littering and dog fouling 

3. Celebrating our diverse communities and taking a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime 

4. Ensuring we are a family friendly borough 

5. Focusing on the strengths of the community and what they can do to help themselves and each other 

6. Supporting local businesses to thrive 

I agreed strongly with all apart from 5, which I strongly disagreed with. I stated

"I disagree strongly with "Focusing on the strengths of the community and what they can do to help themselves and each other" the priority should be to address the weaknesses in our community and to assist the weakest, most vulnerable and most at risk to lead safe and fullfilled lives. I also believe that it is a mistake to make no mention of the role of local arts and culture in helping to achieve these aspirations. "     

 They then ask

9. Please select the five priority areas that you feel are the most important: (Please tick five options only)

X -
X - 
X -
X -
X -

My response

"The council should prioritise the areas where it can make the most difference and direct its resources to those most in need. Whilst most of the priorities are worthy, the council should prioritise doing its job. Things like "improving air quality" is a prerequisited for "Encouraging residents to live well and take care of their health". Similarly "tackling anti social behaviour" is a prerequisite for "creating a safer community". It does not seem to me that this list is well thought through or the choices offered particularly logically organised."

 They then ask

We have set out below how we intend to deliver both our statutory duties and ambitions for Barnet within our financial constraints. We want to ensure that the tax payers money goes as far as it can.

  • Standing up for Barnet so it gets its fair share of resources including police and general funding
  • Effective management of resources and contracts to ensure we can keep Council Tax low and provide value for money for the tax payer
  • Focusing resources to deliver targeted extra support at those who need it most, while continuing to deliver priority universal services. 

  • Taking a commercial approach to generating income and looking for new opportunities to generate revenue from our estate
  • Making use of evolving technology and innovation to help us achieve better outcomes and become more efficient
  • Capitalising on opportunities from responsible growth and development to increase income and boost the local economy. 

  • Working with residents and the community to share responsibility to ensure Barnet thrives
  • Providing early intervention and prevention services so residents can live independently for as long as possible
  • Collaborating locally with health and the police to achieve better outcomes for Barnet. 

  • Reviewing the way that the council works and delivers services to make best use of resources, including strong financial management
  • Providing customers with the assistance they need at the first point of contact and greater access to online services and support
  • Ensuring that residents are treated equally, with understanding and respect, and all have access to quality services.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with the approach we have set out under each of the following? (Please tick one option on each line)

Question Title

* 11. To what extent do you agree or disagree with the approach we have set out under each of the following? (Please tick one option on each line)

 They then ask you to state whether you agree with these objectives.

1. A fair deal

2. Shared responsibility

3. Maximising opportunity

4. Efficient and effective council

I disagreed strongly with 1 and 3 for the following reasons.

"A Fair deal. I disagree with the definition of a Fair Deal as explained. The "standing up for Barnet" is confrontational language, of a type that has damaged the relationship between Barnet and the Mayor of London. The aspiration for Council tax should be to set it at the correct level to deliver services, whilst making sure money is not wasted and services are properly managed. The Council should not be seeking to "Maximise Opportunities" to charge residents stealth taxes, which is what this is saying."

There then followed a whole series of questions about where you live, your sexuality and your health.

I strongly urge you to complete this questionaire. It is important that we participate in our community and ensure the Council that they know what our priorities are. 


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