Sunday 31 January 2016

Sweet Nothings: or - Mrs Angry's guide to outsourcing.

For all the tweeting Barnet Tory councillors, including the leader Richard Cornelius, and deputy leader and aspiring London Assembly member Dan Thomas, who appear not to understand the basic rules of outsourcing, which may be the reason why they will not answer her requests for evidence of the 'savings' our two whopping Crapita contracts are meant to deliver ... here is:

Mrs Angry's 'Outsourcing for Dummies':

Dick likes sweets.

He uses his £1 pocket money, every week, to buy a bag of Inequality Street chocolates, and then hide them under his pillow, as he is going to grow up to be a Tory councillor, and is rather greedy.

Look: there is a new boy in Dick's class, called Peter. 

Peter is a very clever boy, who has a lot of pocket money, but no sweets. 

Dick is not a clever boy. 

Peter says: Dick, if you give me half your pocket money, I will buy your sweets for you.

I can buy my sweets myself, says Dick.

But if you let me buy them, you won't have to walk to the sweetshop, says Peter.

And Dick, I can buy you even nicer sweets, and save you money

Also, I will give you one of my sweets, if you let me get yours too.

Dick is quite a lazy boy, and this seems like a good idea. 

Alright, Peter, he says: here is half my pocket money

Peter goes to the sweet shop.

Here you are, Dick, says Peter, on his return, and gives him a couple of sweets. 

Now you owe me fifty pence, Dick, says Peter. And you promised me one of your sweets

But I gave you half my pocket money, says Dick, and you said I could have one of your sweets

And look, Peter: you have given me only two sweets. I want more!

No, said Peter. The sweets cost more than I thought

And that means now you have to give me one of your sweets, and reward me with more money, for my efforts, in the form of gainshare payments. 

And by the way, I need a loan to buy some new shoes, in order to keep walking to the sweetshop for you. 

Hand it over, Dick, and be a good boy.

But that's not fair, says Dick, crying. 

And: these sweets are horrible, and I have no pocket money left, and Mummy will tell me off.

Serves you right, you great eejit, says Peter. Next time  someone makes you an offer that seems too good to be true, read the fucking contract, son - and listen to Mrs Angry when she tells you not to sign it ...


Now just look at this picture.  A memorable day, in the forgotten history of Broken Barnet, that is to say, the history that your Tory councillors would like you to forget, but Mrs Angry intends to remind you about, at every opportunity.

'Saving Barnet's taxpayers £126 million'. Got that? 

£126 million.

Of course, what you cannot see in the picture is that Tory leader Richard Cornelius is signing the contract with a magic pen.

Mrs Angry has one of those pens. It really is a magic pen, and writes in invisible ink, impossible to decipher, if you are a Tory councillor, for at least two and a half years after use.

So, anyway. 

Fellow blogger Mr Reasonable, who unlike Mrs Angry is numerate, and a very sensible chap, you know, has been following with a keen eye the progress of the two massive Capita contracts we have been lumbered with, here in Broken Barnet, since 2013.

He has just posted his latest assessment of the state of play, so far: see here ... and in his opinion, well: things are not quite working out as our Tory councillors assured us they would, are they?

According to Mr Reasonable:

"December supplier payments are out and Christmas clearly was a season to be merry. Capita billed £18,264,588.36 in December on both the Re and CSG contracts. That brings their running total for the financial year to £61.26 million, £10 million more than the whole of 2014/15 and a total of £168.3 million since the start of the contract two and a half years ago. While certain Councillors keep repeating the mantra "Capita are saving money" I keep asking them to show me the evidence because the amount of money we are paying seems immense compared to the core contract value".

Yes, councillors: where is the evidence?

Mrs Angry has asked some of them, via the medium of twitter, to explain to her how it was that we could possibly be making savings, when we are giving such vast wads of cash to Crapita, in the form not just of fees, but in 'hidden' costs, extra payments. 

Not one councillor has replied.

Now then. Mrs Angry is not very good at adding up, although this has never been a disadvantage in her career as a local government auditor, which really only requires the ability to detect the slightest whiff of ... bullshit.

Still: if only the infant Mrs Angry had paid more attention in maths classes at school, and spent less time in the corridor, or in detention, and thank you, Miss Bender, she might have been able to assess if indeed the Crapita contracts are saving us, the residents and taxpayers of Broken Barnet, the bucket loads of cash that we were promised.

As it is, well, readers, especially you, Tory councillors: already spending £168 million, in only two and a half years of a 10 year contract meant to save erm ... £126 million: how does that work out? 

That works out, Mrs Angry thinks, readers and Tory councillors, as a 'saving' of £126 million, over ten years, set against projected expenditure of ... £672 million? 

Or possibly more, if costs rise incrementally, over the ten year contract period.

Oh dear. 

No wonder they don't want to comment, our Tory councillors.

What could they say?


Anonymous said...

Well done Mrs A . I must admit to laughing out loud when I read your blog , I pridicted in public that on year 5 , this borough would be bankrupt without a massive injection of public money. & yet I can't see any of our incompetent councilours being held responsible! After all they do make the rules , I had to raise a wry smile to a Barnet poster up in north Finchley proclaiming that they have created hundreds of new jobs ( what they forgot to mention is everywhere else but Barnet )

Mrs Angry said...

Laughing out loud? I start by trying to make a serious point, Anon, but it always goes wrong, somehow. Still: I too suffer from a tendency to wry smiles at the sight of these self congratulatory posters appearing at bus stops all over the place. And in the run up to an election: very timely. There is one in Finchley Central which boasts about 20,000 new homes: again, not homes that any residents of Barnet can afford to live in.