Thursday 4 October 2012

A Night to Remember: One Barnet - the Captain refuses to go down with the ship


Mrs Angry is obliged to interrupt the public broadcasting of her Manchester conference memoirs with a sad announcement.

Mr Nick Walkley, the Chief Executive of the London Borough of Broken Barnet, is leaving his post in order to become the CEO of (tee hee) Haringey Council.

As he told staff this evening:

I am writing to let you all know that earlier today I was offered the role of Chief Executive with Haringey Council and that I have accepted the post.

This is obviously a hugely challenging role and one I felt unable to turn down. There is still a formal appointment process to be completed but I feel it is important at that I inform you all personally.

I will send out details of transition arrangements, which are likely to take some months, as soon as I am able.


As the news spread throughout the corridors of North London Business Park, staff were openly weeping at their desks, inconsolable at the thought of losing the man who has done so much to facilitate the introduction of the One Barnet programme, and wishing him well in his new career, especially those who are contemplating the end of their own careers in Barnet, and the loss of their livelihoods as a consequence of the impending outsourcing which he has done so much to promote.


Mrs Angry understands that Tory leader Richard Cornelius has written to his colleagues to inform them of Walkley's resignation in terms that perhaps do not entirely reflect the sense of tragic loss that one might hope to hear. 

In fact, this move is hugely significant. 

Why now, at this crucial stage in the £1 billion One Barnet procurement process?

Is it because the job he set out to do, to introduce this massive outsourcing of services to the private sector, is finished? 

Has the Tory administration had a falling out with their CEO?

Has the Tory administration decided to take this council in a new direction?

Has the enormous focus of publicity engendered by, well all of us who oppose the prostitution of our public services to the private sector, and the huge unpopularity of the current Tory administration, required the sacrifice of a CEO?

Is he just fed up with Barnet? Understandable.

But surely only someone with a deathwish, or someone whoperversely enjoys the prospect of an impossible challenge, would willingly take on the role of Chief Executive of Haringey Council?

He says this new role is 'one I felt unable to turn down'. Yes: that may well be true, for all sorts of reasons.

Mrs Angry notes that the composition of Haringey Council is:
  • Labour – 34 councillors
  • Liberal Democrats – 21 councillors
  • Independent - 2 councillors
Can you spot the missing party?

Poor Mr Walkey: clearly had enough of Tory councils.

Who could blame him?

We look forward to Haringey's new model of local government, due in about, oh three years time, one would imagine.

And what now for Barnet?

Most amusingly, in today's Barnet Press story an unnamed 'senior Tory councillor' declared:

 “He was never really the right man for Barnet. In a way he came from a left wing point of  view. I think it is a little bit disloyal for him actually to leave at such a time.”

Too left wing for our Tory councillors! Oh dear. Of course Attila the Hun would have been seen as a dangerously wet liberal by certain of our 'senior' Tories. 

So: job vacancy for Barnet CEO. Tempting. One of the best CEO rates of pay in the country. Plenty of opportunities to engage with the private sector. Would suit outsourcing enthusiast. Hmm. Wonder what Andrea Hill's doing these days?

Been a lot of hits from worried bidders on the blog today, for some reason: Capita, BT, etc, and legal advisers Trowers & Hamlin.

And of course here is the most important question of all:

What happens now, with One Barnet?

Is there anyone left in this borough who has any faith at all in what is undoubtedly going to be the biggest disaster in the history of local authority procurement? 

With Walkley's departure, yes, we have the Captain deserting the sinking ship - but the iceberg is still right ahead. 

Can we change course in time? 


Mrs Angry has been contacted by an outsourcing expert contact expressing the interesting opinion that, and she quotes: 'One Barnet is toast' ...

Whether our Tory councillors realise this yet, is another matter.

You may recall the case of Suffolk County Council, and the fate of their CEO Ms Andrea Hill, a friend of Nick Walkley. 

The highly controversial outsourcing enthusiast Hill left Suffolk in a dramatic departure shortly before the implosion of their own massive privatisation plans, as the Tory administration began to panic at the impact of the hugely unpopular issue on their electoral prospects. 

Bearing in mind the added factor here in Broken Barnet of the chaos caused by the Joint Venture cock up, well ... what will happen next?


baarnett said...

Well, Haringey's web site is embracing Mr Walkley as a vital member of the team...

Mrs Angry said...

did you mean the link to 'dumped rubbish', barnett? Harsh. Funny though.