Full Council report….Life of Brian

“What did the Roman’s Council do for us?”

I was minded of the scene from the Life Brian as councillors lined up to give their view on what Barnet Council does for Barnet residents. Barnet staff your ears should have been burning as councillor after councillor stepped to say what a fantastic job you do. The Leader stating we have the most efficient, low cost back office service (barring Bexley) in London.  

It struck me that I hope the Future Shape report going to Cabinet reflects not only the efficiency and expertise of the current council workforce but their ability to respond to ever changing face of local government.  

The usual banter between the parties ensued as ever, I wonder when we will start filming these meetings. It seems a natural progression. Technology is moving at a hermetic pace, to try and engage residents the council needs to look at the ways it consults.  

The Leader Cllr Mike Freer opened up with the proposed Budget followed by an alternative budget from Labour Group Leader Cllr Alison Moore, followed by Lib-Dem Leader Cllr Jack Cohen.  

Minutes from the meeting will be online but here are a few comments  

Cllr Freer “Year on year starved of funds. 5th lowest grant in London.  £272 per head, Islington £800. Most efficient back office cost in London only Bexley is cheaper.”

Cllr Moore:“In a time of recession Council Tax increase is unacceptable…other boroughs are going for a council tax freeze. Fees and Charges above inflation. This Budget is going to have a devastating impact on the most vulnerable, elderly and disabled.” 

Cllr Cohen:“Spoke about the Icelandic Bank which he felt had not been sufficiently explained. He believed there was a real possibility the tax payer will have to pay. He mentioned the purchase of Plasma TV screen, lap tops which were now hidden away as example of waste.”

He then thanked Barnet Bloggers

Roger T Barnet Eye http://barneteye.blogspot.com/

Don’t call me Dave http://www.notthebarnettimes.co.uk/

Statler and Waldorf  http://www.barnetcouncil.net/ 

From the reaction of the councillors, these BLOGS were well known. 

 

What about the Public?

 

The public gallery was full of angry residents, they were here about two issues in the budget. The deletion of the sheltered housing service and the withdrawal of funding for the Stable Project for adults with Learning difficulties.  

As they heard their issues being discussed you could not help but feel their anger & frustration about the lack of engagement and understanding of their concerns. Unfortunately for those unfamiliar with the current bureaucratic rules governing public involvement in local democracy these meetings will often be the first and last they will want to go to. If government really wants to reflect the views of communities it needs to seriously look at resident access to local politicians.

The decision about the Future of the Welfare Rights Unit and the Sheltered Housing Schemes will be made at a future Cabinet meeting.

 

Stop Press – Barnet Elect a New Mayor

 

There were two nominations this evening

Brian Coleman (Con) & Linda McFadyen(Lab)

 

Brian Coleman was elected Mayor 

 

 

 

Barnet Council Nursery Nurses say ‘No to Term Time Pay ‘

‘Fair deal for nursery nurses campaign’

This afternoon saw the launch of the ‘Fair deal for nursery nurses campaign’

Over the last five years schools support staff have been taking on increased roles and responsibilities as part of the governments workforce remodelling agreement.

This afternoon a joint UNISON & GMB meeting agreed unanimously to oppose the proposal to move nursery nurses to term time pay.

Our members were informed that renewed negotiations will take place on 4 March. UNISON has carried out an indicative ballot with an overwhelming vote to oppose term time pay. GMB reps explained that they would be balloting their members shortly.

Nursery nurses were clear and unequivocal that they were not prepared to be moved to term time pay.

Pay 2009/10. 10 good reasons why Barnet local government staff should have a pay rise

10 good reasons why Barnet local government staff should have a pay rise.

 

  1. Because we deserve it. (this should be enough of an argument alone)
  2. The economic situation is not of our making, we did not cause this crisis, so why should we have to pay for it.
  3. The economic situation is unstable some would say chaotic. So we need a pay rise which is not just above inflation, but has a sufficient buffer above inflation to protect our real incomes against the wild fluctuations that are coming our way.
  4. Our bills have gone up and are due to go up even more. FUEL Average household bill rose by £381 to £1,293 last year. FOOD Prices rose by 11% last year[MSN Money] COUNCIL TAX Bills could rise by 3.5% on average [Local Government Association]
  5. Government measures of inflation (CPI and RPI) systematically under-estimate real price inflation as experienced by working people. The highest price rises are for essentials such as food and utilities, and we spend much more of our income on these things than higher earners.
  6. The demands on our wages are not being ‘moderated’ because of the recession. Landlords are not saying “I’ll let you off your rent this month, what with the economic crisis”!
  7. A low pay rise would have real and distressing consequences for us. Local Government workers would/could face stress, home repossessions, debts, and will struggle to support ourselves and our families.
  8. If the government can afford billions of pounds to bail out the banks, then it can afford to pay public service workers such as ourselves a decent wage rise.
  9.  The Gordon Brown/ Government policy is to stimulate an economic revival. They want us to spend more. To do that, we need more money. Lower pay rises will work against this policy
  10. Self-sacrifice on our part will not save a single job in local government or any other industry.

Branch Annual General Meeting

Barnet UNISON members please come along

THURSDAY 5 March 2009

3.30 pm onwards

Conference Room

Building 2

NLBP

Guests

Professor Dexter Whitfield—Future Shape

Barnet College students – performing a piece aimed at first time voters and the dangers of the BNP

 

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