Monday, 4 July 2011
Over the Hill - and Far Away
A sad farewell, then, to Andrea Hill, CEO of Suffolk County Council, who is quitting her post, it was announced today, after an extended period of 'gardening leave' (it's been a good year for the roses, Andrea, hasn't it?) - and weeks of speculation. She departs, we are told, by mutual agreement, and holding a big fat cheque for £218,000. Oh, and a handful of lovely photos, and some warm memories ... was it really a year ago, that £600 plus three night stay, courtesy of Suffolk tax payers, in the four star Haven Hotel, in - yes - Mrs Angry's favourite getaway, Sandbanks, in Poole? (Do you remember, Brian: just you, me, and the moonlight? ... )
Mrs Angry hopes that the significance of Ms Hill's departure will resonate here in the corporate management suites of Broken Barnet. Suffolk, of course, has had many things in common with Barnet. Not just a CEO paid an extraordinarily generous salary - poor Nick Walkley is on a comparatively miserly £201,000, of course - but Suffolk was also considered a pioneer, a - yes - a flagship, in the Tory outsourcing intiative that their private sector chums have persuaded them to sell to local authorities. In Suffolk this master plan was called the 'New Strategic Direction': in Barnet it is 'easycouncil', 'futureshape', and now 'One Barnet' - new name, same old shite.
Both authorities have also been blessed with the close attentions of one Mr Max Wide, who belongs to BT, but is kindly farmed out by them to so many local authorities around the country, to encourage them in their endeavours, as an act of charity, in the same community spirit which underpins their 'Vital Vision' programme for easily impressed, no no, Mrs Angry - up and coming figures - in the public sector.
Mrs Angry sits back and waits for interesting visitors to the blog. Hello friends.
Meanwhile, far away in the land of make believe, a man by the name of Andrew 'Black Hole' Travers, who claims to be the Deputy CEO and - ha - Chief Finance Officer of the London Borough of Broken Barnet, has also been busy today. In Public Finance journal there is a marvellous article, referring to the £750 million tender that was rushed out the day after the MetPro meeting.
"Andrew Travers, Barnet’s deputy chief executive and chief financial officer, told PF: ‘We are getting our day-to-day procurement sorted out as MetPro has shown problems. We have an action plan that we are rigorously seeing through. ‘The problem was lack of adherence to controls. We have a perfectly sensible set of rules but they were not being followed. There was very poor practice.’ But he said the outsourcing tender was ‘important to us in responding to the challenge of resources going off a cliff, we need to be radical in response’."
Hmm. Mrs Angry has a perfectly sensible set of rules in regard to senior officers who are paid £1,000 a day by the tax payers of Broken Barnet to oversee the financial management of our beloved borough.
Rule number 1 states: 'if any senior council officer is found to have have been in charge of the borough's finance, but failed to notice an endemic culture of incompetence and widespread breaches of the regulations regarding financial control, commissioning, procurement and contractual enforcement, he or she should have his or her overpaid a*se kicked in the direction of the nearest job centre, without any further ado, and without a big fat cheque with their name on it.'
Sadly, Mrs Angry's rules appear to find no favour with our Tory administration, which is remarkably forgiving when it comes to the whimsical eccentricities and hilarious, accident prone antics of our lovable senior officers.
Mrs Angry is concerned to hear, by the way, that there is a new challenge of 'resources going off a cliff'. Presumably this refers to the lemming like death wish of the cute little furry animals disguised as Tory councillors who are so obstinately set on following the totally discredited programme of mass outsourcing.
The article concludes with an interesting report:
'Meanwhile, a similar mass outsourcing plan has bitten the dust at Bury Metropolitan Borough Council, after Labour ousted the Tory administration last month. Bury, which must save £32.4m over the next four years, has now adopted a plan to provide services with less money. Leader Mike Connolly said: ‘The [Conservatives’] transformation strategy – or, as I call it, the privatisation charter – is dead in the water.’'
Dead in the water.
Jumped off a cliff?