Sunday 3 October 2010

Leaked email from Barnet CEO Nick Walkley to all staff on the subject of this website

I am immensely proud of the professionalism with which staff in this authority carry out their work and provide support and services to our residents.  Maintaining that professionalism requires a commitment from us all to behave in a way which respects colleagues’ work.

Earlier this week, a copy of a council document relating to a One Barnet project was published on a blog.  It was a fairly unexciting document showing officers getting on and doing their job.  But I am deeply upset about this leak - not because of its content, or its impact in the wider world. But by what it says about the attitude of at least one member of staff to their colleagues and employer. Leaking a document suggests to me that at least one employee thinks that trying to undermine the work of colleagues will shift how the council deals with challenges we need to confront if we are to continue to provide good services at a time of extreme financial stringency. Instead it simply illustrates a lack of professionalism which undermines us all.

That lack of professionalism contrasted strongly with a group I encountered having an end of season beer whilst I was on holiday. They regularly give long hours at high personal risk for little or no financial reward and were being rightly thanked by their community for their work and their contribution to local life.  Of course the lifeboat men of St Ives are all volunteers but no one doubts their professionalism, or the valuable role they play. At the time that got me thinking about the balance between what the Council does and what the Community do - a One Barnet theme. I hadn’t expected it would also cause me to reflect on the professionalism (or lack of it) of some of our own staff.

I know that the vast majority of staff show their commitment to our standards and values on a daily basis and I trust everyone will take pause to think carefully about the impact that they have on their colleagues as well as the Council as a whole in the difficult times ahead.