Tomorrow, the councillors of Barnet have been invited to a seminar featuring a presentation from Andy Mud, who works for an organisation called The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE). Who are APSE? Their website (http://www.apse.org.uk/) says this
APSE (Association for Public Service Excellence) is a not for profit local government body working with over 300 councils throughout the UK. Promoting excellence in public services, APSE is the foremost specialist in local authority front line services, hosting a network for front line service providers in areas such as waste and refuse collection, parks and environmental services, leisure, school meals, cleaning, housing and building maintenance.
APSE are engaged by many councils to advise on efficiency and are highly regarded by both Conservative and Labour councils committed to efficiency up and down the country. The seminar has been organised by UNISON. It may seem strange that a Trades Union should organise such an event, which may presumably result in efficiencies, which could result in job losses for Union members. I asked the branch secretary, John Burgess to explain "We live in a world where cuts to public services are a fact of life. The government has removed huge chunks of finance from local government. It is no use burying our head in the sand. If we have to have changes, we must all work together to ensure that these are done in the least damaging way possible". John emphasised that whilst opposing such cuts is a vital part of the work of Trades Unions, when faced with a Conservative government and a Conservative council, with two years until the next council elections, a pragmatic approach to efficiency was needed. An organisation such as APSE, with a track record of delivery and a highly respect reputation, clearly represent an opportunity to get the best out of the existing and shrinking resources.
What concerns me is the fact that the One Barnet program, which Barnet Council are promoting, which is the wholesale privatisation of the whole council, is viewed as an extremely high risk option by APSE. This was the reason for John Burgess engaging them. APSE believe that far lower risk approaches to efficiency are the way forward. As the Union have clearly bought into these, there is no risk at all of industrial disruption as a result. It is the job of the councillors to ensure that the council executive are kept in check and to listen to viable alternatives. Failure to do so, amounts to negligence. There is absolutely no reasonable excuse for any councillor who can attend such a briefing to miss it.
The Barnet Eye is today emailing all Councillors to ask whether they will be attending the seminar. If they are not, we will ask for the reason. The results will be published on this blog. If your local councillor cannot be bothered to attend a free seminar, detailing ways to save your money, given by a highly respected and trusted organisation, I would suggest that they really should not be doing the job.
I believe that failure to attend, without good reason is tantamount to negligence.
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The Barnet Eye Age UK 10K Challenge Run.
This blog has committed to raising £500 for Age UK Barnet. We are asking our readers to sponsor us donating £2 each to this great cause. Click on this link to donate
If we do not reach our target by 3rd March, we will cease publication of this blog. So if you don't like us, tell all your friends to ignore this appeal !
We the Undersigned, are totally opposed to the closure, sell off or downgrading of the Library service in the London Borough of Barnet.
We believe that Libraries are a vital part of the Borough and recognise the importance of having trained Libraries run by trained librarians. We believe that it is vital to have "quiet space" for students to study.
We believe that closure of the service would cause untold damage to the citizens of Barnet and is totally opposed by the vast majority of the population.
I got into blogging about politics by accident. I had intended to blog about local music.
I've run a music recording & rehearsal studio in Mill Hill, North West London since 1979. I play in a band called The False Dots, over the years we've played all over Europe, but now we mostly just play local shows as we're all too old and lazy. We play up tempo punky tinged rock, tinged with a very dark humour. We've bene joined on stage by various friends over the years such as Boz Boorer (Morrissey's Musical director) and Huw Lloyd Langton of Hawkwind.
I've organised many charity gigs with artists such as Kate Nash, Chris Spedding & Lee Thompson from Madness.
I also help organise many local festivals. I love a good row !!!! Oh and I did a blog on the Edgware Times for a while.
The Barnet Eye is always pleased to publish contributions from guest writers. Just CLICK HERE to email me your story.
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If you have received a penalty fare at a Thameslink Station and you sent an appeal off to the Independent Penalty Fare Appeals Service, did you notice that this says at the bottom of the letter you got back "London and South Eastern Railways T/A IPFAS". In other words, it's not independent, it's an arm of a train company. They actually run Blackfriars station.
I believe that it is a scandal that this service calls itself independent, but there is no right of appeal and it's run by one of the train operators. I believe that the penalty ticket scheme is a scam to generate extra profits for these companies.
A little tool to help you defeat the invisible men
I've added an IP address lookup tool. If you get an email or you have a stats counter on your blog, you can see who it is and where they came from using this. If you've got an email from someone, view the email. Click on File, then click on properties, then click on details. Now click on message source
You will see some text as follows :- X-Originating-IP: [184.108.40.206]
Where I've put 220.127.116.11, cut and paste this number into the IP lookup and hey presto, you know where the email came from.
If it says it's from your bank, but the IP address is Freds chipshop, you know it's a scam.