Barnet London Borough Council

All of the seats in Barnet were up for election this year. Find out more about these elections.

Election 2018 Results

CON GAIN FROM NOC
Party Elected in 2018 Total councillors Change

PartyConservative

Elected in 2018 38 Total councillors 38 Change+6

PartyLabour

Elected in 2018 25 Total councillors 25 Change-5

PartyLiberal Democrat

Elected in 2018 0 Total councillors 0 Change-1
Councillors change compared with 2014

Most Recent

Improvements still needed at Barnet Council since £2m fraud

Local Democracy Reporting Service

“Significant improvements” are still needed to bring the running of the council up to standard more than a year after it fell victim to a £2 million fraud.

Barnet Council’s internal audit team could only give a ‘limited assurance’ that risks to the council were being adequately managed in 2018-19 – the same overall rating as the previous year.

Despite some improvements, the internal audit team said there were still weaknesses in the council’s framework of governance, risk management and control which “put the achievement of the organisation’s objectives at risk”.

The findings sparked a debate at an audit committee about whether the council was being given enough scrutiny – particularly in light of a recent move to limit questions from members of the public.

Committee members also raised concerns about how the council could ensure the culture of firms providing outsourced services was up to standard.

Trishul Shah, a former employee of outsourcing firm Capita, was jailed last year for defrauding the council of more than £2 million.

Barnet recycling rate drops

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Barnet’s recycling rate has dropped after the council stopped collecting brown food waste bins from doorsteps.

The borough’s recycling rate was 32.6% at the end of the third quarter of 2018-19 – 10% below target.

It is also down on the 36.1% rate achieved during the same period in the previous year.

Barnet Council controversially suspended separate food waste rounds in November last year as part of a bid to save money by making changes to ‘outdated’ collection routes.

A report discussed by the environment committee yesterday said the fall in recycling was “due to a weather-related decrease in garden waste and the food waste recycling suspension pending service review”.

Labour environment spokesman Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “The rate is going in the wrong direction. It needs to be increasing. What plans do we have to turn that around?”

Jamie Blake, the council’s strategic director of environment, said: “We said that the recycling rate would reduce when we removed food waste collections.

“We are still one of the top performers in north London.”

Barnet had the 10th-highest recycling rate out of 32 London boroughs in 2017-18.

Mr Blake added the council was carrying out a consultation with the Greater London Authority “to look at the financial viability cost associated with future food waste collections”.

Brown bin collections could be brought back after the review has been carried out.

Call for 'more ambitious' housing targets in Barnet

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Opposition councillors have called for more ambitious housing targets to help less well-off groups to rent or buy homes.

Members of Barnet Council’s Labour Group called for half of all homes on new developments to be classed as affordable at a meeting of the housing committee last night.

Their comments came during a discussion of the council’s new five-year housing strategy, which includes plans for more than a third (35%) of homes on developments of 10 units or more to be affordable.

Cllr Paul Edwards, Labour member for Underhill, said: “By and large there is some good content in here, but from the Labour perspective this is not ambitious enough in relation to targets.”

Labour councillors called for the target to rise to 50% – in line with the Mayor of London’s affordable homes target.

But Conservative members defended the targets set out in the five-year plan.

Cllr Dan Thomas, Conservative member for Finchley Church End, said lowering the affordable rent target could affect the council’s ability to boost the housing supply.

He said: “We are reliant on social rents to build more homes. It is all very well people getting lower rents – but then we are getting fewer homes.

“I would love rents and mortgages to be more affordable, but realistically, how are we going to build more homes?”

Fury over 'punishing' Barnet parking scheme

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Residents and businesses are furious over a “punishing” parking scheme they fear could hit visitors and customers.

Parking restrictions in part of North Finchley have been extended to Sundays and will now run well into the evening due to the roll-out of an “experimental” controlled parking zone (CPZ) from tomorrow.

The CPZ, covering streets near High Road from Torrington Park to Derwent Crescent, was designed to protect residents’ parking from visitors attending the newly built St Barnabas Church at Solar House.

But residents are angry about the new hours of operation, which run from 09:00 to 21:30 all week – a big hike on the previous hours of 09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Saturday.

Grandmother Andrea Kon said the new rules mean her grandchildren, aged four and two, will She said: “This cannot go ahead – it will affect everyone’s lives. It’s not been thought out at all."

Stephen Wells, who manages White Rose Motors in High Road, suggested the church should not have been given planning permission if it had such a big impact on the area.

He said: “Why should everyone suffer? It is discriminatory on a certain area. No-one goes to church Monday to Friday in the evening.”

A Barnet Council spokesman said: “North Finchley is a very busy part of our borough, with a long-established CPZ.“We have been informed by the church that there will be regular weekend and evening events in the newly built St Barnabas Church at Solar House.

“Local residents have raised concerns relating to the operation of the church and so by preventing church visitors from parking in nearby roads at these times, we are protecting parking spaces for residents and their visitors.”

Barnet facing £62m budget gap 'by 2025'

Local Democracy Reporting Service

Barnet Council is taking urgent action to get its finances under control after revealing its budget gap is expected to soar to £62m by 2025.

At a meeting of the policy and resources committee last night, Labour councillors called for an overhaul of financial reporting after the latest medium-term forecasts turned out to be significantly worse than those made before the local elections on 3 May.

Just three months ago, the council predicted a balanced budget for the current financial year and a gap of just under £6m between spending and resources by 2020.

But the latest forecast shows the budget gap for the coming financial year is expected to be £9.5m, climbing to more than £19m by 2020.

Labour called for the borough's strategic finance team to be brought back in house instead of being outsourced to private service provider Capita.

West Finchley councillor Ross Houston said: "We went through a local election thinking council finances were under control, and, quite clearly, they were not under control - and, quite frankly, I think the public had a right to be informed of that before the election."

Political blogger John Dix, who lives in New Barnet, also expressed incredulity that officers and councillors were not aware how bad the situation had become. He said: "You sat on this committee six weeks before the election and you had no clue as to the problems? You are right, things do change - but hang on a minute, all that huge difference did not crop up in the six weeks before year-end?

"Voters hold you accountable, but are you getting the information to make those decisions?"

Barnet Council's director of finance Kevin Bartle said officers were getting a "clearer position" on the financial situation in early May - after the local elections had been held.

Mr Dix suggested the council adopt a financial reporting system that is updated on a monthly or weekly basis to give a more accurate picture of its position.

The business planning report states that: "Chief Officers are continuing to work to mitigate this pressure (the £9.5 million funding gap) and recognise their responsibilities to do so under the authority's financial regulations.

"Additional possible actions include control and review of all agency placements and a potential vacancy freeze within the organisation."

In response to Labour's request, Conservative members of the committee said options to bring the strategic finance team in house would be included in the budget update at the next committee, which is due to meet in July.