Barnet Council has been heavily criticised by its auditors, Grant Thornton. Their report, which is being presented to the Audit Committee on 16th December, is a damning indictment of Mike Freer’s reign as Leader of the Council and Cabinet Member for Resources.
After six years of Freerconomics, the council has attained only Level 2 in the following five categories, where Level 2 is defined as meeting the bare minimum requirements.
- Understanding costs
- Commissioning and procurement
- Environmental management
- Internal control
- Asset management
The findings, regrettable as they are, come as no surprise to Don’t Call Me Dave who has highlighted on countless occasions the council’s failure to cut costs and safeguard taxpayers’ money, for example:-
- £27.4 million deposited in failed Icelandic banks just as other councils were getting out
- £11 million overspent on the Aerodrome Road bridge project
- £1.4 million spent on obsolete lap top computers
- £90,000 spent on audio visual equipment - including £14,000 on flat screen TVs for chief officers
- £31,000 spent on a room booking system which could have been bought for £2,000
- £5,000 spent flying our glorious leader business class on a junket to America
It is somewhat ironic that the Auditor’s report is being presented to the Audit Committee the day after Mike Freer steps down as leader of the council, so it looks as if other councillors will once again have to carry the can for Freer’s failures.