Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Barnet council - keeping up standards

I meant to pick up a copy of the Evening Standard this evening, on my way to the London anti-cuts groups meeting (more on this another day), but I forgot. No one in the meeting had one; no one in the pub downstairs had one.

It was late when I got on the Tube to come home but a few passengers were reading copies, although there were none lying around free.

I sat in the most crowded part of the carriage where three people were reading copies, ready to pounce when they were through.

The man to my right tore out some of the pages to wrap his leaky kebab in. The man opposite me sneezed into the centre pages of his copy and coughed all over it. The man to the left of me took his copy of the Standard off the train with him, possibly the first person in history to do this.

I was reduced to looking in a bin outside Burnt Oak station for a copy - not a task to undertake lightly, I can tell you. I found a copy, but was mildly gutted to find no article on the MetPro scandal. I think it would have been in there if the paper hadn't spent four pages blowing its own trumpet over its reading campaign.

Still, you can't have a bad news story about Barnet in the paper every day, once a week is enough, and yesterday they covered the lollipop patrol cuts. Colin Dowland, the head at Dollis Junior School, has done a good job of keeping this story in the public eye.

However, plenty of publications did cover the damning MetPro audit report (and the report was watered down, I understand), including the Times series, Barnet Press and the Local Government Chronicle.

"MetPro report sparks concern if One Barnet plan goes ahead", "Audit report slams Barnet Council over MetPro scandal", "Barnet panned over £1.4m contract fiasco" - with headlines like these, it's as well the Standard left Barnet alone for one evening.

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