Saturday, 18 September 2010

Rag, bull

Tuesday night sees two Barnet council meetings of interest, both concerned with Future Shape/easyCouncil/One Barnet: the Audit Committee will look at auditor Grant Thornton's damning report on the lack of progress made in the "governance arrangements" for the Future Shape programme.

In another room, the Future Shape Overview and Scrutiny Panel (they haven't gotten around to renaming it) meets to review progress with the whole Future Shape programme generally. Generally, it isn't good.

Future Shape, Unison estimates, has cost £2.5 million so far, in consultants' fees, staff costs, etc. And another £2.5 million is being sought.

So what are we getting for our money? Reading between the lines, sod all. The report going to the scrutiny panel on Tuesday shows little progress in many areas. Since Future Shape is all about mass outsourcing of council services, that is probably a good thing, but all the time they are trying to do what is probably undoable, they are throwing more of our money away.

The report is a piece of management gobbledygook all through, but what I can discern is that in order to reach the deadlines they have set themselves, the Future Shape team are going to be sitting up late into the night over the next month. The code for progress made is Red, Amber, Green.

Red: Overall performance is significantly off trajectory, outside direct control of the Workstream Lead (WL) and Programme Director (PD) and requires Operational Group (OG) intervention.

Amber: Performance is off trajectory, requires substantial WL or PD attention. Some aspects may require urgent intervention.

Green: Performance is on trajectory under control and contained within normal day to day project management.
Of the five Future Shape "workstreams" only one - "People & Culture" - is currently "on trajectory"; the others - "Value for Money", "New Relationship with Citizens", "Commissioning" and "Leadership" - are currently "Amber".

Of course, we could probably decide whether to be worried or excited about these delays if we knew what the f*** they were talking about. Perhaps it's as well we don't. The only thing is, I wonder whether anyone at all in the council knows what the f*** they are talking about.

Future Shape: RAG or bull, you decide. I can't.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And this Monday night, the Planning Committee will give its usual cursory glance at the Brent Cross Cricklewood planning application.

Since the council is broke, it will do all it can, to sew up the matter. It will give one council officer the power to pass the thing, subject to enough dosh coming the council's way.