You may not be aware of this yet, but if you live, work, study in, visit or even just travel through Barnet you will be affected by something called the 'One Barnet' programme. 'One Barnet' is the local council's plan to 'transform' services by either charging you more for them, cutting them, or selling them off to someone else.
The 'One Barnet' programme affects every section of the community regardless of age, gender, income, religion, race, occupation or any other factor.
Have you noticed the parking charge increases of up to 300 per cent that have been causing misery for residents, traders and visitors for the last year? That's 'One Barnet'.
Had you heard about the plan to cut funding for affordable child care, putting at risk the future of children's centres, and making it harder for parents to return to work or increase their hours of work or study. That's happening as a result of 'One Barnet'.
Did you know the council will cut funding to older people's day services with the likely outcome that some day care centres will close. This is being done under 'One Barnet'.
Under 'One Barnet' the council has already closed Friern Barnet Library, the Church Farm House Museum and eight children's centres.
These are just a few examples of what is happening to our local services in the name of 'One Barnet'.
If you don't drive, don't own a business, don't have children, don't have elderly friends or relatives, don't borrow books from Libraries and don't visit museums, it may be that none of this concerns you.
Something that should worry all of us, however, is the latest 'One Barnet' plan to gamble £1 billion of council tax-payers' money by selling-off 70 per cent of critical council services, like planning, licensing and environment health to two large private companies.
This will remove direct control of these services from elected councillors, it will mean residents may have to pay more for a whole range of things like land charges, pest control, burial fees and planning charges, and if the whole thing falls apart it could result in massive increases in council tax to put things right.
The 'One Barnet' sell-off is not a straight privatisation or outsourcing of a contract, because the commissioning and monitoring of services will also be handed over to a private, for-profit company. No-one knows whether One Barnet will deliver better or cheaper services because it is completely untried and untested on the scale that is being proposed. The case has simply not been made. It is quite literally a gamble with one billion pounds of council tax payers’ money, and with crucial local services that affect people’s everyday lives.
So, it affects everyone in our community, and it is being done without any proper consultation of local people.
We need to work together to try and stop the 'One Barnet' process and develop a better way of delivering the services that local people need. We don't have much time, as contracts with the two companies selected to take over your services will be finalised by the end of the year.
We have created this website as a resource for the whole community to use to try and put as much pressure on the councillors running Barnet council as possible, and to get them to really think about the consequences of this rather risky plan.
We hope you will sign the petition calling for a referendum on 'One Barnet', email your local councillors to ask them to oppose 'One Barnet', and join with us to campaign against it.
Together we can create a Better Barnet.