Mrs Angry understands that some bashful Tory councillors still object to the idea that their behaviour in the council chamber or committee room might be subject to scrutiny from the borough's citizen journalists, residents and taxpayers, and are inclined to reject this impertinent proposal. Mrs Angry has therefore written to the Director of Corporate Governance and Mr Walkley, the Chief Executive, with a helpful suggestion in order to encourage the councillors in their difficult decision.
"Dear Mr Lustig,
I note that on the agenda for the Council Meeting of 12th July, item 4.4.2 refers to a proposal regarding 'Filming and recording of council and committee meetings'.
It is stated:
"The Committee are requested to consider the Council’s current
position on filming and recording of meetings and whether this
should be revisited in light of guidance recently issued by the
Department for Communities and Local Government."
A report supporting this item, presented by you as Director of Corporate Governance, includes Appendix A, a copy of the guidelines sent earlier this year by minister Bob O'Neill.
In view of the speech made yesterday at the CIPFA conference by Mr Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, I would like to suggest that you add Appendix B - Advice from the Secretary of State, as follows:
“I was shocked by a recent case in Barnet.
The council had hired a private security firm, MetPro, which included “keeping an eye” on the local armchair auditors and activist bloggers - at a cost of over a million pounds.
The contract had been awarded without a tendering exercise, without a written contract, and no proper invoicing.
An internal audit showed there “serious deficiencies in current procurement arrangements”, and there were no guarantees that against a repeat of such practices.
Irony of ironies - this misuse of public money was uncovered thanks to the determination of local bloggers and activists…
Including Barnet Eye. Mr Mustard. And Mrs Angry. (As she had every right to be)
Exactly the same people MetPro snooped upon.
I’ve got news for Barnet. Liveblogging from council meetings. Microjournalism. Call it what you like.
It’s here to stay.”
A useful addition to the report, as I am sure you will agree,
Yours as ever,
Mrs Angry (As she has every right to be)
cc Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government"