Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Barnet Council Libraries restructure - cock up gives the game away

Barnet Council are seemingly addicted to creating highly paid posts for senior managers. They are also rather addicted to not even bothering to read documents before they post them on the internet. Here is a list of all the people who reviewed the document entitled "Minor temporary changes to the Libraries Management structure "

1. Governance Service receive draft report
Name of GO Paul Frost Date 29/5/2012

2. Governance Service cleared draft report as being constitutionally appropriate
Name of GO Paul Frost
Date 29/5/2012

3. Finance clearance obtained  (report author to
Name of Fin. officer Debbie Edwards
Date 01/05/2012

4. Staff and other resources issues clearance obtained (report author to complete)
Name of Res. officer Veronica McCarroll
Date 12/04/2012

5. Strategic Procurement clearance obtained (report author to complete)
Name of Strategic Procurement officer Lesley Meeks Date 30/03/2012

6. Legal clearance obtained from (report author to complete)
Name of Legal officer Philippa Larbi Date 08/05/2012

7. Policy & Partnerships clearance obtained  (report author to complete)
Name of P&P officer Andrew Nathan Date 30/03/2012

8. Equalities & Diversity clearance obtained
(report author to complete) Name of officer Julie Pal/Andrew Nathan  Date 30/03/2012

9. The above process has been checked and  verified by Director, Head of Service or Deputy
(report author to complete) Name Bill Murphy Date 29/03/2012

10. Signed & dated report, scanned or hard copy  received by Governance Service for publishing
Name of GO Paul Frost  Date 30/5/12

11. Report published by Governance Service to website
Name of GO Paul Frost  Date 30/5/12

Officer reports:
12. Head of Service informed report is published
and can be implemented. Name of GO Paul Frost Date 30/5/12

Now that is a quite impressive reviewers list. Now presumably there is a purpose in each of these people putting their name on this document (and getting paid to put their name on it). One would expect that this would signify that they have actually read the document and were happy to have their name put on it. After all it is being put in the public domain on the internet. One would presume that this signifies a degree of quality control.

Here is the document - http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s4240/1686%20-%20Libraries%20Management%20structure_pubic_Signed.pdf
1686 - Libraries Management Structure_pubic_Signed

Scroll through the document to section - 8. BACKGROUND INFORMATION - read this carefully.
Now have a look at Section 9. LIST OF BACKGROUND PAPERS

You will see that it says "None" then repeats paragraphs 2 & 3 of section 8.1. It then repeats section 9.

Those of you who are eagle eyed will however notice that before the repeated paragraphs, there is an extra half sentence. We can only guess as to what went wrong, the first half of the document up to this section is electonically formatted, whilst this part is scanned. Even more interesting is that the cock up partially gives the game away about another brand new, highly paid executive job. As we don't see the first half of the sentence, we have to guess, but the second half says "the end of October 2011, and the evaluation placed the role within band 5, scale points 235 (£69,591) to 238 (£73,336), under the Barnet Hays system."

In short, this rogue half sentence tells us that this new post will be paying £69,591 to £73,336 per annum.

What is odd about this is that it contradicts the previous statement in section 5.1 - "Total costs attributable to the proposed changes are evaluated at £33,312.75 for the period April –December 2012".  In other words, section 5.1 indicates that the costs are lower than the actual salaried grade. Also rather interesting is the idea that they can get by with one person doing two jobs until December, but then they need 2 people to do it. Will the workload suddenly double?

All of these things can only be speculated on. So we have a document reviewed by eight different people, with some major errors in. It also contains detail that us poor taxpayers clearly weren't meant to see, and also details the fact that two peoples jobs may be adequately covered by one person. It also says in section 3.2 "Some minor adjustments will be required throughout the service to ‘back-fill’  positions vacated through the proposed management re-organisation.  These are outlined in section 5.  Low level risk exists where these posts cannot be filled." - oddly no talk of back filling posts is mentioned in section 5. The risk management section also fails to detail what these clealry identified risks are. Why? Surely that is the point of a risk management section.

In short a whole team of people have produced a document of appalling quality which does none of the things it says it should and has clearly not been reviewed properly by the people who are paid to review it.

If ever you wondered where our council tax goes, look no further.

Where does the buck for this stop? In my opinion, with Nick Walkley, the CEO who is supposed to ensure people do their job properly. It is clear that he is "too busy" to actually make sure his staff keep the show on the road. I wonder if it occurred to Council Leader Richard Cornelius that if he got rid of some of this bureacracy, he might be able to actually keep Friern Library open? I wonder if he is concerned about what his council actually does at all?

1 comment:

Mr Mustard said...

Hi Roger. As you know I read this load of nonsense which is supposed to be an informative report and wrote directly to the Assistant Director concerned (Bill Murphy) who has delegated the task of replying to me with the full facts and figures to a Head of Department. As soon as I have a sensible answer (it might take more thna one email) I will blog about it and send you a copy.

Every person whose name is on this document should be ashamed if it was like it is now when they saw it.