Tuesday 18 December 2018

Barnet Council reveal their utter contempt for local taxpayers and residents

There are many things I could write a blog about this morning. Jose Mourinho has been sacked as Manchester United manager, the cabinet are discussing a "No Deal Brexit" and last night I went to an amazing gig at Le Crazy Coqs to see Jazz pianist Ian Shaw. All of these are interesting in their own way. However, I have just received an email that left me speechless. A Barnet resident emailed the Council about a matter of concern. The resident has a long running dispuet with the council, and rightly or wrongly feels most aggrieved. The response he received from a senior council officer was the most disgraceful response I've seen to date to a resident from a paid officer

From: Tatlow, David
Sent: 18 December 2018 07:23:10
To: N******** D****; Tsangari, George
Cc: Charlwood, Andrew; Gaudin, Fabien; Hooton, John; Cornelius, Cllr Richard
Subject: Re: 3 Sunny Gardens Road, Hendon, NW4

Please do not respond as advised previously. His complaint is closed.

I have blanked out the name of the recepient for privacy reasons. What is 100% clear is that the leader and the CEO of the Council have been copied so will have seen this crass act of rudeness. Most interestingly, I recently emailed the leader and CEO of the Council about a matter of utmost urgency.  

To: John.hooton@barnet.gov.uk ; Richard Cornelius ; Cllr Daniel Thomas ; Cllr Anthony Finn
Cc: John Dix; Derek Dishman ; Theresa Musgrove ; John Burgess;
Sent: Thursday, 13 December 2018, 11:05:52 GMT
Subject: Urgent - Capita Response to Grant Thornton reportr

Dear Sirs,

I read in disbelief the response from Capita to the Grant Thornton report. This response, in effect calls Grant Thornton incompetent and unprofessional.  (Financial controls - barnet.gov.uk)

The response states
"Capita statement in response to Grant Thornton report

Capita wholeheartedly refutes the conclusions of this highly caveated and limited report, which Grant Thornton themselves admit is not a comprehensive formal audit.

The report’s conclusions regarding financial controls across the council and Capita’s CSG and DRS contracts have not been independently verified, are not underpinned by clear evidence, and in many instances seem to be based on opinion and hearsay.

Capita accepts that this case highlighted failings, which we have worked in partnership with the council to overcome. All the actions raised as a result have already been delivered by Capita and are in the process of being audited. We are committed to continue working with the London Borough of Barnet to deliver all of the activities in its rectification plans to achieve improved financial controls across Re, CSG and the Council.  "

There are only three possible conclusions that can be drawn from this statement.
1. Grant Thornton are incompetent and Barnet Council should commission a new report from a company that is recognised as capable of doing the job and not presenting "opinions and hearsay" as fact. If this is the case, Capita should demand that a new report is commissioned by a company that can be deemed "independent". If this report exhonorates Capita, Grant Thornton should pick up the tab. If it confirms Grant Thorntons findings, then Capita should issue an apology and pick up the tab.
2. Capita have issued a defamatory statement that is both misleading and libellous. If this is the case, then presumably Grant Thornton will sue Capita (and possibly Barnet Council) for publishing it. No potential customers of Grant Thornton could possibly consider working with a company that has such serious doubt cast on its professional integrity. In this case, the Council should call time on the Capita Contract in short order.
3. Both Grant Thornton and Capita are equally culpable. Capita have failed to deliver the services that they were commissioned to provide and Grant Thornton have failed to provide a competent assessment of the failings. The only way that this can be proven would be to commission a new, independent report. Should this be proven, then both Grant Thornton and Capita should pick the tab up between them.
It is clear that Barnet Council need to take this accusation seriously. Unless Grant Thornton seek a retraction and apology in short order, a new report is required that is beyond reproach. At a recent Audit meeting the chair assurred me that Grant Thornton were a professional company with great integrity. Given that Barnet Councils chosen partner and procurement agent have issued such a scathing assessment of their work, this assessment has clearly been called into question. I seek your assurance, as  council tax and business rates payer that Barnet Council will take immediate action to ensure that residents can have confidence in the management of the Capita account. Following this statement, there can be none until either Grant Thornton are exhonourated or a new report has been published.
Roger Tichborne

I can only assume that the recepient of the email from David Tatlow was never supposed to see the response and was sent due to gross incompetence. The only other possible explanation was Mr Tatlow simply wanted to be rude. Either is inexcusable. This leads to the question as to whether there is a blanket policy of not responding to residents. This morning, prior to receiving a copy of this email, I'd actually emailed Leader and Ceo of the Council asking for an explanation as to why my communication had been completely ignored. I assumed that this was probably just down to workload, but in light of this latest development, I must now conclude that there could be a far more sinister reason. 

At a recent Council meeting, a Council officer told a blogger that asking questions was a waste of everyones time. It now seems that the Council no longer feel that they are accountable to us. I believe that this is a result of the Barnet Conservatives receiving a massive majority in the May Council Elections. They no longer think they need to bother about us, the voters. I had previously believed the Council Leader to be a basically decent and affable chap with impeccable manners. There is now evidence that his administration holds the general public in contempt. 

I would suggest to Mr Cornelius and his cohorts that this is an exceptionally bad policy. There is likely to be  General election sometime soon. Whilst I am sure he believes that the local Tory MP's are unassailable, that is often what happens just before out of touch political structures are toppled. As a blogger, this only inspires me to shout about what I see on a daily basis even louder than I would otherwise. 

Earlier this year, I made a short movie about how Barnet Council are more interested in serving the shareholders of Capita than the general public. Many of these comments resonate even more loudly in light of this latest revealation. The Current regime is totally uninterested in ordinary residents. The executive are purely interested in their own jobs and making sure no one rocks the boat. They are no longer even bothering to conceal their contempt.  I wonder how many other residents are on Mr Tatlows blacklist.

1 comment:

Ghosted said...

The Leader and the officers are a law unto themselves.

If they decide to help you, they will leave no stone unturned.
If they decide not to fight for your cause,rights or issues, you will firstly be placated, then roundly ignored if you do not agree with their actions or reasons.

Deplorable and inexcusable way to run whole departments and the council.