Barnet Council notes

by Andrew Taylor

I thought I would show a little example of just how helpful Barnet Council can be when you send an email to the First Contact email address there.

I sent the following email:

I am worried at the decline of the pound and lack of interest being paid on my savings so I am going to get involved with stocks and shares.

Can you tell me the best library for directories of companies, directors and anything else to do with investing?

My nearest library is Finchley Central and North Finchley is marginally a little further away and Hendon is a bus ride of around 20 minutes.
Andrew *Ampers Taylor* – London UK – Editor of The Finchley Arrow

Within a few days, I received the following extremely helpful email. Although we are not a political newspaper I feel, as nobody knows Gilbert’s political persuasion, we can safely include this as it is non-partisan. In other words, this is a member of staff writing to me and not the council.

Reply by Barnet Council

Our Ref: 90118824

Dear Mr. Taylor,

Thank you for your e-mail.

You can visit your local library for the advise.

We hope you find this information helpful and if we can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact us or visit for more information about Council services

Yours sincerely,

Gilbert Caspa

Customer Services Officer
Chief Executive Services

Now I don’t know about you, dear reader, but this is not the sort of reply I consider very helpful. This man is an “officer” of the council but personally I would consider him as an “other rank” and for those who have served in the army, perhaps a GD (General Duties) man?


3 Responses to “Barnet Council notes”

  1. davlew Says:

    I don’t think you should complain. First, at least he addressed you as “Mr Taylor” and not as “Andrew” or even “Andy”, so you got some respect. Secondly, if his non-reply delays your debut as a DIY investor by only a few days, he will probably be doing you an enormous favour.

    • David Lewis Says:

      It’s a good idea to trial an investment strategy the way you’re doing. I did the same with commodities about 14 years ago, lost money on paper, and gave up. You do need to take into account the trading costs, as these have a much bigger impact than you might think, and you can be “nickle-and-dimed” by them much like newspaper costs or taxation.

  2. Ampers Says:

    Not necessarily. I have spent the last two years checking out my ability by starting out a “pretend” portfolio of £4,000 and turned it into £24,000 (not taking trading costs into consideration) although now I am doing it for real I don’t expect to do anything like as good! My advice to anyone thinking of doing this is to “play” at it for two whole years before risking your savings. Also, run a spreadsheet listing all your costs – not forgetting the Financial Times costs or the Investors Chronicle costs. AT £2 for the FT and £4.10 for the IV, it is surprising how costs can escalate.

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