Sunday, 26 June 2011

Barnet's week in the press: more bad headlines

Despite a budget larger than the GDP of the Maldives, Barnet Council has less than five full time auditors – and they spend most of their time highlighting serious concerns about the way council contracts are handled.
The report in the Ham & High of the Barnet council audit committee meeting on 16 June pulls no punches. The reporter, Georgia Graham, has written a lot about the MetPro scandal, and now sinks her teeth into the latest disgraceful failings revealed in the Internal Audit Annual Opinion.

Meanwhile, the Times Series picks up on what many of the bloggers and anti-cuts campaigners have noticed: the anti-democratic farce of the new-style residents' forums. Report of the Chipping Barnet residents forum here, and this is a report of the same meeting by a guest blogger writing on Mr Reasonable's blog.

The Barnet Press covers the bloggers' reaction to the MetPro scandal, and quotes yours truly and Mrs Angry. I reiterate what I said to the Barnet Press:
"There could be many more MetPros, but the amount of vigilance we have had to do in this one incident has been quite exhausting really.

“It would be nice if some of the councillors did the work to protect the interests of the residents."
At the end of a week where I had to pay proper attention to my day job and have found scant time for blogging or attending meetings, I feel that keenly. Councillors spend some time running surgeries to deal with residents' individual issues, but they are claiming £9k a year allowance. For that, they also need to address the big political questions that residents are no longer being allowed to raise at residents' forums - the MetPros, the One Barnet Programmes, and the library cuts.

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