Tuesday 25 January 2022

Barnet Council deliberately circumventing public scrutiny of key issues - The Proof

Next Tuesday, in a weeks time, there is an important meeting of the Barnet Council Finacial Performance and Contracts committee. One of the key items is the review of the Capita Contract. I logged in today to review the papers and saw this in the order of business.

I was hoping to review the papers for Item 7, review of Capita Contracts and provide my feedback to the council. According to the constitution, this has to be done by Thursday morning - the papers say

"In line with the Constitution’s Public Participation and Engagement Rules, requests to submit public questions must be submitted by 10AM on the third working day before the date of the committee meeting. Therefore, the deadline for this meeting is Thursday 27 January 2022 at 10AM. Requests must be submitted to Salar Rida 020 8359 7113 salar.rida@barnet.gov.uk "

In short, I do not have enough time to exercise my right as a resident and council tax payer to properly scrutinise and provide feedback to the council in regards to this matter, which I have followed on this blog since it's inception. I will be writing to the Council CEO John Hooton to ask that this meeting be postponed and the council discharge their duties to local people properly. I have a full time job, so when the council do not provide papers in good time, it is impossible to properly review them.

I also note that the details of the Chief financial officers report has not been provided and that the Sarancens Loan Review and Brent Cross review are deemed to sensitive for the public to hear. This is how we do democracy in Barnet.

In short, the public are held in contempt. I just hope that in May, when we have an election, we get a council that is not so scared of the public that it won't let them see what they are up to. 

***** Update *****

We have secured an extension to the deadline for comments for this item from the CEO of Barnet Council following our email. Here is Mr Hooton's response




I am aware that these reports are due to be published imminently. We will give flexibility on the deadline for public comments if reports are published late. I have copied Andrew Charlwood on this who will be able to keep in touch with you and ensure that your comments are included in the meeting.


Kind regards,




John Hooton
Chief Executive

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