Thursday, 31 March 2011

Barnet Council - A risk to Democracy?

From: "Lustig, Jeff"
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 10:26:02 +0100
To: All Members
Cc: Gearson, Vanessa; Kagan, Gaby; Robeson, Richard
Subject: Departures

Dear Members,

Whilst I do not normally write to you when members of staff leave the Council, I think it is appropriate that I bring to your attention that current departures include some of our Democratic Services Officers who will be well known to many Members.

Nick Musgrove retires from the Council today, having served Barnet since 1974. Nick has worked under 8 Council Leaders and also each of Barnet’s 5 Chief Executives and 2 Interim Chief Executives. Nick has been responsible for administering a wide range of Committees and other democratic processes during his long career with the Council. Since the inception of executive arrangements, Nick, as Senior Democratic Services Officer, has had special responsibility as clerk to the Cabinet meeting. Nick’s remarkable record of loyal service to the Council is one of dedication, commitment and the highest standards of professionalism.

Another outstanding contribution to Barnet has been made by Stephanie Chaikin, who is also retiring from the Council after more than 20 years service. In her time, Stephanie has acted as Democratic Services Officer to the Council’s Planning Committees, Licensing Committees, Area Environment Committees, Special Committee (Constitution Review) and Residents Forums. She played a very significant role when the determination of licensing applications transferred from the magistrates courts to local authorities. Stephanie has always been extraordinarily diligent and thorough in carrying out her responsibilities to the highest standard.

Also departing from Democratic Services this month have been Pauline Bagley, Jonathan Regal and Katy Lam. Amongst their other responsibilities, Pauline has most recently worked very closely with the General Functions Committee, Jonathan has supported the Cabinet Resources Committee and Katy, following return from maternity leave, has been dealing with Member matters and School Admissions. I am sure that, like me, Members will have appreciated the significant support and assistance they have been given by these officers in different capacities over several years.

There is a concurrent restructure within Democratic Services and Aysen Giritli will be circulating the details to you very shortly.

As part of the changes outlined in the budget report approved by Council and the staffing implications report approved by the General Functions Committee, eight other members of staff from Corporate Governance have recently left or will be leaving Barnet today or very shortly. Most of those staff will, perhaps, not be very well known to Members. However, I should mention Sian Hughes, Governance and Service Development Manager, who will also be departing but is staying for a little while in order to assist us with the Referendum. Sian has made a very significant contribution to Barnet in a number of different roles over many years and I greatly appreciate the support and assistance she has given to me during her time in Corporate Governance and before that, Law & Probity.


Jeff Lustig
Director of Corporate Governance
London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London N11 1NP
Tel: 020 8359 2008
Mobile: 07985 213283
Barnet Online:

Friday, 4 March 2011

Barnet CEO's Weekly broadcast

Members of Barnet Council staff have alerted me to the weekly email they usually receive at the end of the week from Nick Walkley. This week it was sent by consultant Andrew Travers the section 151 Officer and Deputy Chief Executive.

“As Nick is on leave, I am writing the weekly message. His one brief appearance this week was for the meeting of Full Council on Tuesday, which approved next year’s budget.

In stark contrast to other councils which saw violent protests and delays to meetings, Tuesday’s meeting, like Cabinet before it, went ahead at the allotted time and location with the public present throughout.  The people putting together BBC London’s ‘council cuts’ coverage must have been thinking they had chosen the wrong place to send their political editor. Understandably there were some protests but these never got out of hand and the democratic process was able to take place with residents present in the public gallery.

I would like to put on record my thanks to all staff on duty at the Town Hall on the night, especially those in Democratic Services who did a sterling job in ensuring members of the public were able to either watch or listen to proceedings in the chamber or the nearby committee room. Thanks are also due to all those staff across the authority who have been involved with consultations over various parts of the budget over recent months. The very public way in which we have discussed our challenges and asked the public to contribute to the budget setting process has also helped to defuse criticism.”