Private v Public

I read with interest this evening that John Dix writes on his blog that,

“Conservative Councillors labour under the belief that all private companies are good and all public sector staff are bad”

This is simply not true.

I can’t speak on behalf of all Conservative Councillors but this one believes in this tough economic times – better services for less money. Hence why the One Barnet project is looking at all our services and looking at better and cheaper ways of running our services.

The library service is a classic example of this.

By making changes to the way our service is run, moving Friern Barnet library and North Finchley library into the Arstdepot and letting the community run HGS library ( an offer which friern residents were given in Friary House) we are able to,

Spend more money on books
Put literacy at the heart of everything we do
Open our libraries longer
And make every primary school child a library member.

Other services will be outsourced and some will be merged with other boroughs – all to make the services better, cheaper and keep council tax down.

And our recycling service has been outsourced for years with out any problems!

But you will not read that on his blog!


Is this the end of tax payer funded union work?

Guido reports here that the consultation on tax payer funded unions has been launched.

Whilst appreciating the excellent work they do in supporting their staff, and whilst I do not agree with everything they say or do, I have never believed that we should fund their work.

As Guido reports, the Government is

“ seeking to review and rebalance the amount of paid time off provided to undertake trade union duties, and to review the level, frequency and cost of providing paid time off for trade union activities. This consultation covers all types of trade union representatives but does not seek to change the statutory basis for these duties and activities. We also wish to review the use of  facilities by trade union representatives e.g. telephones, photocopying and use of office accommodation, to ensure it is appropriate and represents value for money for the taxpayer.”

Handing over the keys!

I have just helped hand over the keys to a new ambulance that was funded by the Big Society Innovation Bank.

Below are the few words I said at the start of the event.

“I am delighted to officially hand over the keys to this vehicle for use by the London Ambulance Service Volunteer Responder Group.

This is a project to set up a ‘blue light’ emergency medical response service manned by off duty doctors and police officers and was funded by our Big Society Innovation Bank.

It is one of nine projects to successfully bid for a slice of the £200,000 on offer in the first round of applications for Innovation Bank funding. We awarded £28,000 to pay for the vehicle and to train the volunteers who will staff the service.

These volunteers are off-duty doctors and police officers who will work in their spare time to provide a blue light emergency response on top of those provided by the London Ambulance Service.

This is a fantastic example of how some financial support, coupled with the commitment of volunteers can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

Town Hall Protestors – they did themselves no favours

If you take time the read the so called “barnet blogs” you will be painted a one sided picture of events of the full council meeting on Tuesday. The reality was very different.

Yes there was a small protest outside – the same people we see most full council and cabinet meetings.

Yes there was lots of heckling – again by the same people but this time it was embarrassing to themselves and did their argument no favours at all. It was so over the top and we ran out of time debating the one barnet motion – which was a real shame.

At the break I met with John Burgess of Unison. He introduced me two of his colleagues whose names sadly I have forgotten. I hope they don’t mind me saying that they looked embarrassed by what was going on and one of the ladies tried to point out to me that not all the members of their union were like this.

I passionately believe that what we are doing is the right thing – and it is obvious that they are passionate in their views – but Tuesdays performance by a small group of people did themselves no favours.

It must be remembered that we are in this situation and forced down this path because of the former Labour Government – whom I am sure many of the protestors supported.

One Barnet – Something a bit different!

Last night as part of my one barnet speech to the full Barnet Council I talked about our community coaches scheme which is working with some of the most ‘troubled’ families in Barnet.

This is a One Barnet scheme we are now moving into the second phase after a successful pilot and is developing real results.

A recent analysis of a set number of case studies showed a 45% reduction in chaotic behaviour of families following the intervention of a Community Coach. This coach coordinates work from across the council with the family as well as offering support and help. The coach comes directly from the community.

These results and other evidence have helped to create a business case to continue this already successful programme into the future, which is having a real impact on some of the most ‘troubled’ families in the borough.

I questioned why we need a referendum on projects such as this.

A fisk of Roger Tichbourne

I have had some rubbish written about me over the last few years, mainly by one person who I don’t think I have said more than five words to in my life – but today has hit an all time low. So I am going to fisk his article about me.

My comments are in bold

Yesterday Robert Rams posted a tweet proclaiming his great happiness at the demise of Council housing.

No I did not, I tweeted that I was happy to see the end of the guaranteed council house of life for new tenants. What is this world if we do not want to help people get out of the dependency culture and free up more council housing for those who really need it?
This silly little berk (in the classical sense of the word),
As ever, if you lose the argument – insulting someone is where you go next, well done Roger!
who clearly was born with a silver spoon shoved somewhere the sun doesn’t shine is fast becoming a complete embarrassment.

You know nothing of my upbringing – but needless to say your insults towards my father and my late mother yesterday on your blog, really were disgusting. Nevertheless, your well-worn obsession with penetration, scatology and my parentage say a lot more about you than about me.

He has been caught out time and time again for misleading the general public, in small matters (tweeting he was at Mill Hill Library when he wasn’t)
I was there – just because you got there after I had left and I did not make myself known to the staff – you really are a sad little man for making this up.
to large matters (wasting six months of Friern Barnet library campaigners time inviting bids to keep the library open, when he’d already decided to sell the building and pocket the capital receipt).
Funny cos we now have a community bid with which we are working – is it tiring constantly being proved wrong?

Politics is a game of trust and no one who knows Robert Rams trusts him.
Perhaps we should just add this to the list of unsubstantiated nonsense that I can’t be bothered to rebut.

This blog regularly has comments left by a former Tory councillor who lives in Havering and knows Rams through the GLA. Even he doesn’t trust him and has said so publicly.

This is a man who is upset with me because I had to intervene in a private matter between himself and an Assembly Member and his response was to describe me as a Nazi. As someone who lost family to the Nazi this is the worst thing you could ever say.
When I read Rams comments, I was reminded of when I was about 18 years old. I met a rather lovely young lady who lived in Henley on Thames. I went up to see her and we spent an afternoon in the pub. At one point a group of disabled young people arrived and embarked in some boats. We were having a beer and I commented that it was really nice to see them having fun. Almost as I said it a group of about 15 young men in rather extravagent suits walked past. One spied the group and shouted “look, there’s a bunch of mongies in the river”. They all stopped and started pointing an outrageous volley of abuse was launched. One of the group then made a gesture imitating a rifle. He exclaimed “Harpoon the disabled” and the group lined up like an imaginary firing squad. They then lost interest and sauntered off down the road. I was absolutely stunned by their crass attitude. I have a cousin who suffers from Downs syndrome, I am taking her on holiday in a few weeks. I cannot possibly explain my disgust. The image has stuck with me since. The comments of Rams reminded me of that.

Can you stoop any lower?

The sheers gloating about an attack on people less well off and less able to cope. Rams is of courser entitled to his views. He’s entitled to gloat on twitter if he wants. If I was Richard Cornelius, I’d sack him for his poor judgement.

So, Roger, lets be clear, you insult, imply and make things up – and you think I have a trust issue!



Update on the first round of Barnet’s Big Society Innovation Fund

This was posted today on It is an update on the first round of Big Society Innovation Fund which I chaired last year.


There have been some exciting developments from our round one award winners from 2011:

Jesus House/ Elevation Networks

This exciting project is now being set up and will be launched at a public event. Watch this space for more details!

Energise Barnet

This green project has just completed a three-month research period, working with the council; Barnet Homes; other social housing providers; local community organisations and businesses; potential Green Deal partners; and other local authorities and stakeholders.
They have developed marketing concepts to promote the Green Deal and are identifying new methods of reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency in the borough.

Age UK Barnet

Age UK Barnet are working with people aged 55 and over to increase awareness of healthy eating. Phase one of the project ended on 30 June in which volunteers were recruited and trained to work with clients in their own homes. Age UK Barnet hope to start working with their first eight clients later this month, July 2012.

London Ambulance Volunteer Responder Group

There will be an official hand over of the vehicle on the 12th July 2012 at Hendon Town Hall. Watch this space for pictures!
Barnet Federation of Allotment and Horticultural Societies
They have appointed a Development Worker who is busy working with all of the allotment societies across the borough to support them in becoming self-managing.

Barnet Voice for Mental Health

This project will create a self-help programme for people with mental health problems in the Borough and will be staffed by volunteers. They are currently in ‘phase one’ of the project in which volunteers are identified and trained and suitable venues are located. This project will launch publically in August 2012.

Haley Blackman

Haley’s project will deliver training for first time tenants to help them manage their finances, their tenancies and to live independently. The first workshop was held on 12 June 2012 and more will follow.

Barnet Community Projects

Barnet Community Projects proposed to develop a home decorating and maintenance service for the vulnerable and disadvantaged within the Borough to provide work opportunities for young, unemployed people. This project was piloted earlier this year at the Rainbow Centre on the Dollis Valley Estate, where four young offenders on reparation orders helped to redecorate the premises.

However, Barnet Community Projects has been unable to secure a contract to provide regular work opportunities and this project has had to be abandoned. Their award will now be returned to the ‘pot’ to fund projects in Round Two, 2012 of the Program.

Barnet Community Projects has confirmed its commitment to work with young people struggling to find employment and training through alternative projects including developing a community café and job club at the Rainbow Centre.