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Brian Coleman: 'One Barnet should be scrapped'
Thursday, 01 November 2012
Brian Coleman: 'The time has come to dump One Barnet'
Suspended Conservative councillor Brian Coleman shares his views on the One Barnet outsourcing programme
Something has happened in the last few months in Barnet. Residents have been taking an interest in the way Barnet Council is proposing to operate in future , the so-called One Barnet scheme.
One Barnet, if it goes ahead, would fundamentally change the way the council is run. It is a New Labour idea - however, the concept of council, police, fire brigade, NHS and the voluntary sector delivering services jointly fell apart as the cuts agenda focused minds and turned opinion against grandiose reorganisation.
However Barnet Council ploughed on regardless of the changing political environment.
The opinions of sceptical Conservative councillors were brushed aside by promises from officers (and the revolving door of endless consultants) of massive savings.
The fact that most Conservative councillors had their doubts was lost as the trade unions bombarded councillors with emails attempting to protect their members terms and conditions. This campaign just drove Conservative councillors into the arms of the officers on the basis that if the unions were against it the scheme must be good news.
Council leader Richard Cornelius, a One Barnet sceptic, met with officers in January and the promise of savings seduced him. The rest of the Conservatives, including me, fell into line.
Then in August came the bombshell of a possible of a joint venture, something never mentioned before, and the leader of the council's anger could be heard all the way from his holiday home in France.
Then followed the unexplained sudden departure of Barnet's chief executive Nick Walkley. Why leave if One Barnet is going to be a stunning success?
Many Conservative councillors feel they are powerless to stop this officer-driven juggernaut or as one senior Conservative put it - we are lemmings heading for the cliff.
The council needs to dump this flawed scheme and introduce a proper strategy which assesses where services belong, whether that is the private sector, shared services with other boroughs, the voluntary sector or indeed occasionally in-house - a mixed economy is what is needed. For example, I don't know any councillors who agree we should privatise the planning department.
Conservatives are pragmatic and anyway the concept of One Barnet is fundamentally un-Conservative and ignores localism. It is totally New Labour, in fact.
The time has come to dump One Barnet and return to core local government values and make sure this particular turkey does not see Christmas!
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Comments on this news item:
11 comments on this news item
Posted by : Ed, Lodon | Monday 03/Dec/2012 | Report this comment
Ha ha ha. Mr Coleman deserves all he gets. He is an arrogant selfish self serving man. Now he is snivelling to try and get back in favour. He messed up the London Fire Brigade with ill planned and rushed through privatisation. He deserves everything he gets from these criminal proceedings. How the (supposedly) mighty have fallen.
Posted by : Ron, London | Friday 02/Nov/2012 | Report this comment
Was it Victor Meldrew who famously said ’I don’t believe it’? I find that particular catchphrase rather pertinent given the above article. The last time I trusted someone as little as Brian Coleman was when a rather young double glazing salesman telephoned me with an ’amazing offer’....you get the picture.
Posted by : All, Whetstone | Friday 02/Nov/2012 | Report this comment
Brian Coleman is right to speak out. There would have been an overwhelming response to the opposition from all residents sooner, had the initial voices not merged with Labour Party opportunism. The parking disaster still hangs heavily around Brian Coleman’s neck, but giving credit where it is due, well done for speaking out. Now let’s get Our Barnet back and ONE BARNET out!
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