Wednesday 12 February 2014

Leading environmentalist denounces Brent Council in resignation letter

Francis Henry, who has voluntarily supported the Brent Sustainability Forum, latterly as chair,for 6 years has resigned in protest at the sacking of one of the key environmental officers at Brent Council.

He has called on other members of the Forum to join him in  resigning and to consider making the forum website LINK independent of the council.

His letter to acting Chief Executive Christine Gilbert says:

I  have been the Vice Chair initially and subsequently the Chair of the Brent Sustainability Forum (BSF) since 2008.
Together with others we have worked hard to help Brent Council to deliver on important environmental issues. We always had great support from Marion who was truly dedicated to the cause.
I and others are appalled how Brent Council and your senior officers have treated one of our colleagues who has contributed so much to public engagement and the promotion of environmental issues.
It would seem that as an organisation Brent Council and some of your officers in Environmental Services will do everything possible to get rid of good and trusted officers who understand how to work with local people and who are truly committed to the cause.
I am so disgusted by the conduct of Brent Council and the conduct of your senior officers that I am resigning as Chair of Brent Sustainability Forum and ceasing my involvement with anything involving your Council.
You and the whole Council should be ashamed in the way you treat your valued members of staff who have the trust and respect of the local community.


Anonymous said...

Is this the same Francis Henry who is best mates with Lib Dem Leader Paul Lorber and who keeps writing to the Kilburn Times attacking Brent?

Anonymous said...

Even if it is, he has every right to complain to Brent's Interim Chief Executive if he feels that staff valued by the public for their service to the borough have been unfairly treated by Senior Officers, losing their jobs as a result. Unfortunately, such complaints, even if valid, are unlikely to get a sympathetic response from the Council.

I have been in a similar situation over a complaint to Ms Gilbert, part of which related to two long-serving and valued staff being made redundant (although replaced by two newly recruited and more highly-paid officers) as the result of a restructuring exercise which involved a "sham" consultation with them. The final decision on the restructuring had been taken before their views had been received by, let alone "considered" by the Senior Officer making the decision. Christine Gilbert's response to this aspect of my complaint was:
'To regard the consultation process overseen by Ms. McKenzie as a "sham", because the views put forward by certain staff did not result in a change to the proposal, is unreasonable.'

Good luck with the complaint, but don't hold your breath!

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

Well done Francis for making a stand.

Brent Council should be ashamed of themselves.

Is it the same senior officer Ms McKenzie at the heart of the library fiasco?

Something smells if so

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't resign ourselves (maybe I could phrase that better) to consultations being shams or to an acceptance of shameless responses like that of Ms Gilbert here. Show up the shams (brothers and sisters?) and attack them for it repeatedly so that either consultations become worthwhile or, alternatively, everyone sees them for what they are, laughs their head off at the very mention of the word and demands a genuine process which has some kind of objective integrity.

Anonymous said...

The answer to your question is "Yes".

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your support on this. You may have seen the "Soapbox" on "Respecting Brent's Constitution" which I gave at a recent "Brent Connects" meeting, and which Martin posted to this site on 5 February

I think it is Brent's best interests, and certainly in the interests of local democracy, if the Council does what it promotes itself as doing, "connecting" with its community. There needs to be a proper dialogue between Councillors, Council Officers and anyone in the community who has an interest in a particular subject and wishes to take part in the discussion, to help the Council pursue policies which have the broadest possible support.

The follow-up letter which I have given to Cllrs. Butt, Kansagra and Lorber (and also copied to Brent Green Party and Make Willesden Green) calls on them all to work together, to make it clear to their own party members and to Council Officers that Brent's commitments in its Constitution must be followed, and that Brent itself will benefit from doing so. I hope that the leaders of the three political groups on Brent Council will take this call seriously, and act on it. If I have any news on this, I will ask Martin to pass it on through Wembley Matters.


Anonymous said...

Speaks volumes.

Those at top are not taken to task While those at bottom take thé hit.

Anonymous said...

Brent Councillors

Rather than always listening to advice of your civil servants listen to people in community.

Thé people who ought to be released from their duties are à number of senior managers rather than frontline staff.

Anonymous said...

Philip (16.44)

How do you reconcile your support for Brent '"connecting" with its community' - with which I agree - with your objection to deferring the latest planning application for Kensal Rise Library until after the CID has reported? Kensal Rise residents' addresses were stolen and false names submitted with supporting comments for the developer's original application. Seems you're with Christine Gilbert and her senior officers on this one.

francis said...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous12 February 2014 12:38

Is this the same Francis Henry who is best mates with Lib Dem Leader Paul Lorber and who keeps writing to the Kilburn Times attacking Brent?


It would appear Mr Francis was right all along