Friday, 20 January 2012

Mrs Angry registers her interest in the councillors' register of interests

Updated: see below

For some time now, Mrs Angry has been trying to assert her right to see the withheld declaration of interests of several of our Tory councillors, and has asked also to see the updated versions of the interests available online, which are now a year and a half old. Mrs Angry was under the impression that these declarations are meant to be updated and signed every year, but perhaps she is mistaken.

This process involves a visit to North London Business Park, where, in the interests of transparency, openness and public scrutiny, such documents, containing information which is meant to be in the public domain, is kept under high level security and released for view under conditions similar to released archive material held by security agencies in the States. You may look at the declarations only under the strict supervision of a council officer, and you may not ask for copies of the information. This is Broken Barnet, after all.

Mrs Angry has sent several emails, and made several phone calls, in order to try and see the interests. No one has replied, for some reason.When she spoke earlier this week to a switchboard operator about the problem, the poor girl had never even heard of the register, and ha ha, oh dear, put her through to CAFT, the Corporate Anti Fraud Team. Just imagine Mrs Angry's amusement!

This morning, at last, Mrs Angry managed to catch an officer offguard, and extracted a stuttered promise that it might be possible for her to be allowed into North London Business Park in order to exercise her right to inspect information which, yes, should already be in the public domain, (if we did not live in Broken Barnet).

Apparently we are now actively considering mutually convenient times:(somewhere in December, 2014, probably), and plans are being made for a welcoming reception by the Director of Corporate Governance, with coffee, some light hearted banter and a plate of suspiciously flavoured biscuits.

Mrs Angry is waiting by her inbox, breathless with anticipation.


Oh dear, naughty naughty London Borough of Broken Barnet: you promised you would reply today about seeing the register, didn't you? But you were fibbing, London Borough of Broken Barnet, and now Mrs Angry has lost her patience, and has been through the available councillors' interesting interests with a fine tooth comb, and found some amusing discrepencies.

Stand by.

Happy Birthday Joe, from your doting mama xxx


Anonymous said...

keep breathing

Mr Mustard said...

Please do let the Director know Mrs Angry that your paramilitary security escort prefers tea.

Mrs Angry said...

er, Anonymous, would you like to identify yourself, as one might be forgiven for thinking that is a slightly sinister message? Many thanks. I have got a bit of a cough, as it happens.

Mrs Angry said...

and Mr Mustard, how long have you been offering your services to ladies as an escort? How much do you charge? You will have to submit a bid, along with five other interested parties, or get a DPR signed by Ms Pam Wharfe.

Mr Mustard said...

can't we just do it and sort out the paperwork later, that is the Barnet way - if they even bother with the paperwork at all.

Mrs Angry said...

I believe it is not the paperwork, Mr Mustard, so much as a cultural problem. (That is the usual excuse for One Barnet naughtiness, is it not?)A culture of obsessive secrecy and a reluctance to be scrutinised by armchair auditirs and citizen journalists. We are not welcome at NLBP, it seems. I feel quite hurt, I must say. Anyway, in the meanwhile I shall make do with the interesting online declarations, which are rather out of date but still very entertaining.

Cneifiwr said...

This is strangely reminiscent of the time just before Christmas when I took time off from contemplating the shearing season ahead and went to our very own County Hall with Jacqui Thompson. We were escorted through what seemed like miles of corridor and put into a very small cell-like office (it used to be a prison after all) with the head of democratic services and an assistant. Tea and biccies were not offered. There then followed an excruciatingly embarrassing hour or so of wading through paper files, making written notes, all the time with the officer seated inches away pretending to work.

The things we bloggers do with our lives.

Mrs Angry said...

hello Cneifiwr ... does sheep shearing require a lot of contemplation beforehand then? Zen and the art of sheep shearing: there's a blog in there somewhere, I think.

Yes, your experience sounds exactly the same as mine in the days when I was not barred from the council offices. A council officer kept her beady eye on me throughout, though when she turned away for a few seconds I shoved one of the declarations in my Barnet blogger drawers and smuggled it home.

Note to the Director of Corporate Governance - and anyone else who is easily confused by Mrs Angry's satirical mischief making - This is a JOKE, and you are welcome to frisk me on the way out of NLBP if you want to.

Mrs Angry said...

You may need to warm your hands on a One Barnet/Sustainable Communities Strategy radiator first.

Anonymous said...

On a serious note. If council staff, especially the most senior, were made accountable as are nurses, schoolteachers etc., it would bring more transparency to the table. Eric Pickles should be on his soap box paving the way for legislation making accountablity the norm within our councils. Council staff of all people whose pay is from the taxpayers purse, along with all decision making, meetings, hospitality trips etc. coming from the taxpayer. How on earth did it ever come about that councils are accountable to no-one?