Saturday, 24 September 2011

One Barnet, up for sale: Welcome to the House of Fun

Well, then: here is good news.

Barnet employees were sent an email, at the end of this week, by the senior management of Broken Barnet, informing them of the latest developments in the pimping of council services to would be private company contractors.

Here is an extract. Mrs Angry's comments are in red:

"We’ve now finished our first round of dialogue meetings and the whole dialogue team is enthused about the energy and commitment that bidders have put into the process so far...

Why, you might wonder, would bidders not be brimming over with energy and commitment to a process that will throw an abundance of profits into the laps of the successful applicant? Ah: unless ... let's see ...

Round two begins next week and will focus on financial and commercial issues. The first round of due diligence meetings also finished this week. At these meetings, bidders asked James Wills-Fleming detailed questions about how the corporate programmes function is structured and run.

Cast your mind back, citizens, to the recent strike, the letters sent to staff by senior management, the giant posters installed, Big Brother style, in council offices: at the end of that week another 'market day' took place attended by companies interested in tendering for Barnet outsourced services. Is this a coincidence?

Interestingly, Mrs Angry has had endless numbers of visits to this blog by certain outsourcing companies keen to learn more about the state of play, here in Broken Barnet - and, ha ha - researching the profiles of certain senior officers involved in the outsourcing process ...

As mentioned previously, seven bidders were invited to participate in the dialogue process. We now have four bidders because three - Avarto UK, CSC Computer Sciences UK and IBM - withdrew prior to their first meeting.

Oh dear: three bidders dropped out ... was it something we said?

Funny about IBM, especially. Is it that One Barnet is really becoming too toxic for some companies to touch? But don't worry: there are still four clients sitting on the sofa, waiting to see what we have to offer their jaded appetites ...

The four we met with this week are BT, (well f*ck me, who would have thought it?) Capita, (never!) HCL Axon consortium (who? Tender fodder? Ah, seems they are awfully keen on SAP systems - you're in luck here in Broken Barnet, friends ...) and Serco (yawn ... no surprise there ... ) While the withdrawal of any bidder is regrettable, it is common in competitive dialogue. (Running away as fast their little legs can carry them ...) Their decisions were strongly influenced by the amount of time, commitment and resource that companies have to commit to the competitive dialogue process, and other competing commercial opportunities. (Aha. Mmm. Didn't want to risk their spotless reputations for a night of passion in Broken Barnet.)

Each of the three companies gave the council positive feedback about the way we have run the process." (Thanks, but - oh, look, is that the time, suddenly remembered a prior engagement - made their excuses and left, NOTW style.

Please: Tory councillors of Broken Barnet, those of you that still retain any integrity - wake up and see what is happening, right in front of you.

When Richard Cornelius was elected leader of Barnet Council, some people were under the naive impression that his mistrust of the One Barnet programme would encourage him to take action to stop it, and save us all from being a hostage to the fortunes of outsourcing, seeing our local services torn away, out of our control, in the name of 'savings' that we know will never materialise. We hear now, however, that Tory backbenchers wanting to discuss this issue with him have not been given the opportunity, and are becoming ... rather resentful. Oh dear, Mr Cornelius ...

Who, in fact, is responsible for the disaster waiting to happen that this massive externalisation of services represents? Just a handful of Cabinet members, whose lack of judgement stems entirely from their lack of experience in business, in politics, in life: ideologues with no common sense- and no political instinct. Oh - and Brian Coleman, whose loss at next year's GLA elections will, we predict, be nicely assisted by his failure to stick a spanner in the works of the One Barnet machine ...

When the next local elections come around, if One Barnet and the massive scale of outsourcing goes through, many of the Tory councillors currently failing to speak out against the programme will face the consequences and lose their seats. Residents will by then be seeing the results of the externalisation of services they have always taken for granted as the reponsibility of the local authority. They will be paying the increased charges, and worrying about the future of their family's well being in a world run to the benefit of profit, at the expense of everything that is in the best interest of our community.

The Tory councillors of Broken Barnet still have the chance to do something about the dreadful fate ahead of us all. Clearly they care little about, or fail to understand, the implications of all this One Barnet shite for the residents of our borough, but if they are worried about their own futures, perhaps even they may see that it is time to stand up and be counted. Are they going to wrest back control of this borough from the senior management team they employ to administer this borough, or are they going to sit back and write their own political death warrants?

Let's see, shall we?

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