Thursday, 8 May 2014

Eric Pickles urged to investigate Brent Council over handling of fraud allegations

Ex-union activist Nan Tewari has written to Eric Pickles, Secretary of Stae for Communities and Local Government, raising a number of issues concerning the handling of allegations that Cara Davani, Brent's Director of Human Resources misused her Brent Council Oyster Card.  The letter is written at a time when Brent Council has dismissed 11 workers over alleged serious breaches of financial regulations and the staff code of conduct.LINK

In the long and detailed open letter Nan Tewari states:

Now after more than a year later [after the initial investigation of the Oyster card issue], it appears that there is only a draft internal audit report of the investigation in existence. Why was the report never finalised? Might it be because the treatment of Ms Davani has been unduly lenient in comparison with others and would therefore not stand up to scrutiny? The audit committee minutes of March 13 notes that it was highlighted that 18 cases of internal fraud were found, resulting in five dismissals and 10 resignations before action could be taken. Ms Davani presides over, and advises on these very disciplinary and dismissal cases and it is difficult to see how her position can remain tenable given what she has done. She is at the head of the council's workforce and as such must be an exemplar of the highest standards of behaviour expected of every person employed to work in the council or provide services to it.
The internal audit report, which is available below, was written about a period of considerable turmoil  in the Council and tensions in the relationship between officers and leading Labour politicians. Following Muhammed Butt's election to Labour and Brent Council leadership, in succession to Ann John,  disagreements developed between him and Gareth Daniel LINK , Chief Executive, which eventually led to Daniel leaving his post. Members. The CMT (Corporate Management Team, had written a letter in support of Daniel.  Fiona Ledden, now head of Legal and Procurement stepped in as Interim Chief Executive.

The audit report is heavily redacted but gives a picture of events. CMT is Corporate Management Team. XXXX indicates redaction.



185 comments:

  1. Ah, it takes you back doesn't it. Brent allowing Davies to do his own audits for Copland, I.P.Patel's international hospitality. Friends in high places. Governors' meetings in friendly restaurants. Blind eyes turned. Mutual back-scratching strategies. Jumpers for goal posts.
    Great days, great days .........

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  2. Ms Davani was employed via a company, but was also issued with a Brent Council Oyster Card for travel. Given this arrangement it would be my humble view she should not have been issued with anything and would have to pay expenses from the contract payment from Brent Council to her company.

    This whole practice of Brent Council employing people via a company has to stop. Either people are employed by Brent Council or they are not.

    Councillor Roxanne Mashari cried poor last night at the Preston Library hustings blaming everything on the Tory cuts.

    Lets get Brent Council in order and stop the leaking of money first, before we start trying to blame others for Brent's total lack of financial management.

    I am sick of Labour always saying it is not their fault they have to make the cuts.

    As one small business owner in Preston remarked last night to Councillor Mashari, when his business suffers, he has to change the way he does business. He simply gets on and makes the adjusts to survive.

    Brent Council should learn from the many small business who constantly have to change and adapt to stay afloat.

    Get your house in order Brent

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    Replies
    1. Mmmm. Not quite sure we've got our perspectives correctly calibrated here..........

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  3. Fair comment Anon @8 May 2014 21:50 BUT working in Local Government albeit at a different authority ir is a fact that the Tory / Lib Dem savage cuts are having a significant impact on the delivery of services by Local Councils.

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  4. Quick reference to main point

    "Cara Davani is an interim, employed through her company Cara Davani Ltd. She was
    initially contracted (although no written contract exists) by the ex Director of Finance
    and Corporate Services, Clive Heaphy. The initial engagement ran from 6"^ March
    2012 to 31^'October 2012."

    She did not seem to even have any kind of documented contract and should not have even been paid. Big business get away not paying contracts when there is not a signed contract and Brent Council should not have paid her if there was not a signed contract.

    Simple as.

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  5. I have read the draft Brent Internal Audit report with interest. It appears that Ms Davani was able to get away with simply repaying the cost of her private travel, which had been charged to a Brent Oyster Card, because of the weak actions of a fellow Senior Council Officer.

    How many other Senior Brent Officers are actually "interims" working on contracts with their own private companies? Cara Davani's company was paid £700 PER DAY for her services to Brent (with no verification evidence available for when she actually turned up to work), but without any extra for expenses.

    The report makes clear that, although the terms of Ms Davani's contract were basically from the same template as that for Christine Gilbert, whose private company receives £200,000 a year for her services as Brent's interim Chief Executive, there was one big difference over expenses:
    '2.13 Paragraph 5.3 of the Interim Chief Executive contract contains the following
    provision:
    "5.3 The consultant may also claim and be paid for any expenses incurred by the
    consultant in performing the services under this agreement..." '

    So what extra expenses have Brent paid for Christine Gilbert's expenses, on top of the £200k a year, and have these been thoroughly checked by Internal Audit to ensure that they are proper expenses? And who (Ms Davani?) authorised a contract so loosely worded as to allow 'any expenses incurred...' without some restriction, even the word 'reasonable', on those expenses?

    I agree with Anonymous, 8 May 21.50: 'This whole practice of Brent Council employing people via a company has to stop. Either people are employed by Brent Council or they are not.'

    Philip Grant.

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  6. WOW she was paid £700 per day !

    The unseen contract was for 4 days per week. Ie £2,800 per week she was paid. This is more than most people make in a month.

    Yet Brent Council say they do not have any money.

    If Brent cut out the slush funds like the one exposed they would have plenty of money.

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    Replies
    1. Actually she also seems to have been paid for a fifth day per week whilst working from home!, thus £3,500 per week. Under the Council's Standing Orders there should have been some form of competitive process - Ledden & Newby GUILTY of GROSS MISCONDUCT.

      Delete
  7. LEGAL ACTION THREATENED

    In an e-mail to me today, the Director of Legal and Procurement, Fiona Ledden said:

    " I am considering appropriate legal action in relation to the release of the documents and I request that you do not pass these further."

    So there!

    The masters at Brent council are blithely unaware of just how deeply disgruntled the slaves, sorry, staff, are that a culture of wrong-doing at senior-most levels of the authority is now not only the norm but is held up and rammed down their throats as good practice.

    And woe betide the minions who disagree because they will find themselves unceremoniously turfed out. Ledden et al can hardly bring themselves to believe that their brainwashing has failed to deliver a properly intimidated set of forelock tuggers several of whom who have had the temerity to pass on information to me, though sadly all anxious not to be named.

    Our elected councillors seem powerless to act and root out corrupt practices, so to paraphrase the old saying, if you want a job done at at all, do it yourself.........

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  8. Well, it looks as though HM Government sits up and takes notice of Wembley Matters, at least.

    I send letter to HMG on Wednesday morning, receive no reply. I chase HMG at 16.42 today (Friday) with forwarded reference to Wembley Matters and a mere 50 minutes later I receive an acknowledgement.

    There is an object lesson in there somewhere. I too have previously donated anonymous information to the site protect sources. So, thank you to Martin Francis for devoting the time to providing this helpful resource.

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  9. Well done, Nan. great work. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance etc etc. Keep at them, keep at them, keep at them. Their motivation is more immediately potent than ours: greed, money , power. But with examples like yours (and with Martin's indefatigable nose for their stink) they'll find it a lot less easy to debase the standards of our public life to the squalid levels of their own personal morality.

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  10. I thought this was the type of disguised employment that IR35 was supposed to stop. HMRC should be asked to investigate too

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  11. This matter seems to be brushed under the carpet by Brent Council investigators and so its time for the Media to report this to the general public and show the botch up of so called Brent Council elite

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  12. £700 per day. Is that what they mean my making Brent a Living Wage borough?

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  13. Surely these types of contracts at the very least should go to public tender ?

    Either an employee is employed as per normal job description at set rate of pay or if there is good reason for contract work for it to be tendered with the ability of a range of providers to offer their services.

    It seems back door tendering without any scrutiny.

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    Replies
    1. I always thought previous planning enforcement manager Nigel Wicks being brought back for enforcement cases was strange. His company, enforcement services limited, iwas ncorporated while he was enforcement manager. Public money, nothing like it.

      Delete
  14. These things have been going on far too long .We the taxpayers of Brent are paying for all these highly paid non contract employment it has to be stopped and now

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  15. Brent Labour were in charge while this all happened.

    Seems like jobs for those well connected.

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  16. Officers seem to be a law unto themselves no matter who is “in power” and, (as we see) regardless of the Service they are employed to run. The trouble is that Councillors etc. are forced to rely on them. I don't know what is more worrying the budget report notes or …a leading Manager earning a potential £2,800 pw and unable/unwilling to pay £40 for travel!!!!

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    1. We need Councillors who start questioning top management !

      The whole system is corrupt with main parties being whipped so No Councillor speaks out !

      Normal workers have to pay their own way and why at the top they earn mega bucks and still want extras such as travel expenses etc. Even when they do a bad job they still get paid.

      The consultant who drafted the Brent library transformation for example should have been paid on delivered results, based on a number of metrics, not just cost savings.

      Inequality is just getting worse and this all happened under Brent Labour !

      Well done to the Whistleblower

      Delete
    2. The Logical extension of this is that committed by Dawn Butler, Prospective Labour Canddiate for MP in Brent, who when last in Power didn't want to pay the travel from Brent to Westminster so charged the general public for a 2nd home!

      Delete
    3. I have been trying to get something done about the dubious actions of Senior Council Officers for the past six months.

      1) I put in a formal complaint to Christine Gilbert (copying in Cllr. Roxanne Mashari) about three top officers in Environment and Neighbourhoods in November 2013. This was because Sue Mckenzie was insisting on going ahead with a staff restructuring at Museum and Archives, when this should have waited until after a consultation on Brent's Museum and Archives Strategy had shown what staff would be needed to deliver that Strategy, and her "consultation" with existing staff (who lost their jobs as a result of it) had been a sham. Jenny Isaac and Sue Harper refused to stop these actions, as did Christine Gilbert, who should at least have put the restructuring "on hold" while my complaint was being dealt with, but refused to do so. My complaint was never resolved - Christine Gilbert supported her officers actions, against the evidence and without actually answering the key points raised, and said that I could appeal to the Local Government Ombudsman, which I will not do because the behaviour of Brent's Senior Officers is Brent's problem, and Brent needs to deal with it.

      2) I made a "soapbox slot" presentation about "Respecting Brent's Constitution" at the Kingsbury Brent Connects meeting on 4 February, and followed this up with a letter to the three Party Group Leaders on the Council giving a number of examples of how Senior Council Officers had ignored Council commitments given in its Constitution in recent years, and asking them to take action jointly to bring Officers into line. Cllr. Lorber tried to get the matter discussed through Brent's Constitutional Working Group, but this effort was blocked by Fiona Ledden. I have received no reply to my letter of 4 February, even thought the follow-up notes to the Brent Connects meeting incorrectly state that 'The Leader's Office has responded to Mr Grant'. When I said that this was incorrect, and that I had not received a reply, at the next Brent Connects on 9 April, I was told by a Council Officer on the platform that three separate Council Officers had replied to my letter, and that she would show me the evidence in the refreshment break! It turned out that none had actually written to me about my letter of 4 February - was this a misunderstanding or deliberate misinformation? I wrote to Councillor Butt six weeks ago to say that the minutes were wrong, and would he or his Leader's Office please let me have a reply, but I have not even received the courtesy of an acknowledgement.

      3) On 8 May I sent an email to Cllr. Butt, and the other two party leaders Cllrs Kansagra and Lorber, headed "Brent councillors need to hold Senior Council Officers to account". This included a link to my recent "guest blog" on the Barham Park Library Planning Appeal, and drew attention to an (anonymous) Officer trying to mislead Brent’s Planning Committee in order to obtain a change of use of the former library for the benefit of the Council’s preferred tenant. It also referred to a Senior Officer restricting the options available to the Trustees, and perhaps manipulating them into choosing the appeal option by offering them a party political advantage.

      So far, no reply, and no acknowlegement from any of the top local politicians, nor from Christine Gilbert or from her office, to which it was copied. I am sure that our local Councillors are too busy trying to get themselves re-elected to deal with serrious issues like this. Hopefully, someone will after 22 May, but on past experience that may be a feint hope.

      Well done to Nan for making this public, to Martin for posting it on "Wembley Matters" and for various anonymous contributors for bringing further dodgy aspects of Ms Davani's case to our attention. I hope that the local and national press will also get their terrier teeth into this story.

      Philip Grant.

      Delete
    4. Well said Philip

      The voting public deserve better than "Silence" from our leaders.

      Funny how last week they all come out in force at Preston Library Hustings claiming they can save the day, but when it comes down to it, they all scurry away and don't reply to any communication

      We need leaders who can stand up for Truth and Justice and not hide away in shame.

      Delete
  17. I recall that acting chief executive Christine Gilbert was also 'employed' by her own company Christine Gilbert Associates from September 2012 until March 2014. it's been suggested that she's now on the council pay-roll - if so, it'd be interesting to know why. An attempt to deflect possible further criticism away from the handling of Ms Davani's case...? Ms Gilbert's job description is given as statutory Head of Paid Service at Brent - clearly, irony is not yet dead

    http://www.brent.gov.uk/your-council/about-brent-council/council-structure-and-how-we-work/corporate-management-team/the-chief-executive/

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  18. Why was acting chief executive Christine Gilbert paid via a personal company - Christine Gilbert Associates, perhaps? - at the rate of £200k a year?

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    Replies
    1. Indeed. And who sanctioned these payments through personal companies - certainly not the electorate?

      I understand Fiona Ledden wanted to have this blog taken down, arguing that the audit report will be evidence in a forthcoming employment tribunal and shouldn't have been released. Martin Francis has argued that the information is in the public interest. I agree.

      Ms Ledden's request smacks of a lese majeste attitude and links directly with Anonymous' 23.34 comment above, on the power of senior officers. The present model of local government is past its sell-by date - democracy must always be a work in progress lest it ossify into top-down anti-democratic structures. Two immediate suggestions:
      - local residents, randomly chosen from the electoral register of their respective boroughs in the same way jurors are selected, need to sit on local-authority appointments' panels;
      - a right of recall is urgently needed whereby elected members can be held to account between elections. This procedure is also needed at national level. Unfortunately, a recent private members' bill to do precisely this failed to garner the necessary support, though the idea is now firmly on the grassroots' political agenda.

      Delete
    2. Because she's greedy.
      Because that's the way these people validate themselves.
      Because she could.
      Because they let her.
      And to quote Lord Davies of Copland: 'Because I'm worth it'.

      Delete
    3. Just to clarify that I have taken down the document as a result of a rather less imperious approach by another party, not Fiona Ledden. I am currently without broadband but hope it will be repaired tomorrow so that I can uploaded an amended version of the document.

      Delete
    4. On December 18, 2012, Cara Davani posted a comment on the leader of the council's blog on Fariness. She stated:

      "It is not unusual for organisations with a large and diverse workforce to employee temporary staff on occasion. Using temporary staff helps the Council to manage fluctuations in its workload, meet the demands faced by departments and cover hard to fill vacancies. It also means we can employ people who have specialist skills extremely quickly when a particular demand arises. Temporary staff are not covering roles that could otherwise be undertaken by a staff member at risk of redundancy. That said the council is taking action to keep the costs of temporary staff to a minimum and has recently made the decision to cease using Comensura, the agency that currently provides most of the council’s temporary staff and instead use Adecco which will be more cost effective for the council."

      So it's reassuring to know that Clive Heaphy was able to bring in a 'specialist skill extremely quickly' because of his personal acquaintance with Cara Davani. Was she interviewed for the assignment, and if so, by whom?

      And what of Christine Gilbert? Who was able to bring in her 'specialist skill extremely quickly' ? It may well be coincidence that Davani and Gilbert had previously worked together in Tower Hamlets and at Ofsted.

      The council is required to adhere to very particular standards of transparency in its procurement processes. Bringing in 'specialist skills extremely quickly' without any reference to open and rigorous procedures might well be normal operating practice in the dog training world but it has no place whatever in a public body.

      Oh, and on the subject of standards, since when were officers permitted to demonstrate political allegiance in the council they work for - in this case by posting on a local councillor's blog ?

      Delete
    5. LOL! What 'specialist skills' is Ms Gilbert supposed to possess? Her response regarding the deferral of the planning application for Kensal Rise Library until after the police have reported - repeated mantra-like by senior officers - has been underwhelming. Regarding posting a comment on a councillor's blog - surely that breaches standards of political neutrality demanded of officers?

      Delete
    6. Enjoyed the 'dog-training world' bit.

      Delete
    7. ' Martin Without Broadband'! Pardon my paranoia, but ................

      Delete
    8. What bureaucratic clap-trap from Ms Davani - and how insulting to the electorate! Who do these senior officers think they are? They reference only themselves and the existing structures. The sooner the fresh air of grassroots democracy blows through these ossifying top-down structures, the sooner we can wave a long goodbye to the 'we know best' attitude of bloated six-figure salaried officers.

      Delete
    9. Who is looking into all the other consultants that have been engaged by Cara Davani, most of them had worked with her in Tower Hamlets and some have been put on the payroll and others are still or have been until very recently been paid as consultants.
      During the last restructure, why were some staff made redundant and new jobs created, which were then only covered by consultants all personally known to Cara Davani.
      Jobs were created specially for these people and sometimes tasks / duties have been created just to keep some people engaged as consultants on PROJECTS.
      It is common knowledge that all staff have been afraid to speak up, as they feared that if they spoke up they would be suspended.
      Many staff have been 'bullied or mistreated' to the extent that they just resign, this is basically CONSTRUCTIVE DISMISSAL, is this is acceptable behaviour?.
      This is not just happening in Human Resources but in other departments across Brent Council. No one has addressed this act of bullying, how long should bullying be allowed in the workplace?

      Delete
  19. For Ms Davani to have been employed on a contractor's wage for such an extended period of time is ridiculous and for her to then misuse her Oyster card at the tax-payers expense is tragic. All this and she is Brent's Director of Human Resources?! I think it makes a mockery of the Council. Thank you Nan for your efforts in bringing justice to the hard-working tax payers of Brent.

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    Replies
    1. Not sure about the justice. Sir Alan Davani waited 4 years and then got a guilty verdict and a slap on the wrist. What terrible fate awaits Ms Davies, d'you think?

      Delete
    2. Re Davies. He got one year suspended. I think a life sentence should mean life and a suspended sentence should mean exactly that.

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    3. There is no denying that the majority of council staff have the public interest at heart and are doing great work. However this and the council's reputation are quickly eroded by what has been uncovered. There is discrepancy as he said she said re Davani's expenses, however considering her position, she signed the contract, therefore it's a done deal and shouldn’t she be bound by the terms and conditions! Shouldn’t any changes/variations have been documented? It is tragic and absolutely sickening that one could use public funds to travel to and from work. With council services being cut and Brent residents just being able to make ends meet, earning £700 per day and using public funds for travel - come on!! Where was the senior management when all this was going on and it was brought to their attention - nesting their own exit pay-outs I suspect...or could it be that the Chief Exec's own husband was also done for misuse of MP expenses, and therefore they thought that they could bury and ignore this matter? Surely all of their positions are untenable. As a Brent resident, to say the least I have lost all confidence in the council's leadership....in connecting the dots has anyone made the connection that Andy Potts is Davani's partner? It’s all too cosy and feels like Brent has returned to the days of old. Well done Nan for sticking with this. ....hmmmm I feel like taking a taxi into work tomorrow - Canary Wharf, in the absence of a council oyster card, I wonder if I could fund it by not paying my council tax?...

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    4. The cross-overs between these personal/professional lives makes this more sickening by the moment. Imagine if this were happening in another country? It would be headline news in the UK media. Let's hope some folk wake up sufficiently before next week to make their feelings known at the ballot box - and at next's years general election.

      It certainly sounds as if there were/are two factions amongst senior officers: those on Ann John's side, those on Muhammed Butt's. And it forces the spotlight once again on to the closure of six of the borough's libraries - still unfinished business, of course, with Cllr Mashari last week promising Preston Library ACV status, while boasting about her role in getting a (provisional) deal with developer Andrew Gillick and All Souls College, Oxford for space in the former Kensal Rise Library (KRL) building. If a line is to be drawn between Cllr Butt's regime and Ms John's, why didn't Ms Mashari offer that the council would compulsory purchase the Mark Twain building? That would have been a deal to be proud of.



      Delete
    5. Fully agree.

      A compulsory purchase is the only decision Brent could be proud.

      How ridiculous having a Labour party split between an Ann John camp and Butt camp.

      I thought they were all on the same side ?

      Just goes to show a vote for Labour this time is a wasted vote. If they can't agree amongst themselves, how can they lead the Council ?

      Delete
    6. And are those on the side of Ann John running in next week's election.....Nooooo!!! Say no more

      Delete
  20. It seems the powers that be want to keep the electorate in the dark.

    Funny how Labour can spend £120 million on a new Civic Centre and hand loads of money to contract staff and yet claim there is NO MONEY and blame all the cuts on the Conservatives.

    People need to know the truth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great to see that £120 million buys an award for the best building to work in.

      A new meaning of a "Green Building,"

      " It grows money, but the rich pickings only drop to a luck few, who climb to the top of tree."

      Delete
    2. One of the points in this specific Brent tragedy is, who exactly are the Powers That Be? As referenced in Anonymous 10 May 2014 23:34 above, and certainly in my 30 year knowledge, Brent has had the reputation of being officer-run.

      These officers have not got to the top of the greasy pole by being entirely dim, and whilst they might run things, they also know that they have to keep some key councillors on side. This is because, as there will always be the tiresome few who insist on doing that quaint thing of actually representing the people who elected them, their respective (political) peers are needed to keep them from being too much of a nuisance (and to marginalise them into the bargain just for good measure).

      I don't know much about the civic centre project inside story but it has all the hallmarks of being an officer generated initiative that had councillors sleep walking in its wake like zombies .......... and with all the money paid to private companies to project manage, etc, they still cocked-up something as basic as disabled access - you couldn't make it up.

      I vote we leave the running of the council in the safe hands of the Powers That Are the Gilberts, Leddens and Davanis of this world and save ourselves the cost of local elections. All those in favour, please show.......



      Delete
  21. Speaking of the Civic Centre, with its much-vaunted new mega library - according to today's BBC1 Sunday Politics prog, it seems Brent is the only London borough to have closed any libraries.

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  22. A few important points.

    1. Why when mainstream agencies where canvassed and advised the going rate of £600-£650 why was she offered £50 per day above the top rate ?

    2. A total of £334 of telephone calls using a mobile phone when on holiday for August 2012 was charged on top of £700 per day. Does she not know how to use Skype with Free calls if she is connected to Wi-Fi ? Most holiday resorts if that is where she was staying have Free Wi-Fi

    Surely if Ms Davani chooses to go on holiday while contracted for 4 days she can't also claim telephone costs while on holiday.

    What would be interesting to know if Ms Davani was on holiday, did she claim the £700 per day as she could not justify claiming her contracted 4 days per week if she was on holiday, can she ? This would be even more alarming than the oyster card use, if Ms Davani was on holiday, but still claiming the £700 per day.

    The whole thing needs a full investigation and not swept under the carpet like normally happens

    There seem far too many people at the top, "on the take."

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  23. The initial difficulty here is that it seems, in the entire local government sector, in the London boroughs and beyond, there was/is, apparently, no suitable, recruitable officer with the requisite public-sector experience considered able to contend with the rigours(?) of this job. Which brings us neatly onto the second difficulty, namely the inane assumption that recruitment and personnel, is some sort of brain-defying rocket science, requiring someone with highly specialised knowledge and skills, to be able to manage it on £700 a day, when not so very long ago, non-specialist staff were managing the same function, perfectly well, on £700 a month.

    Neither of these two assumptions is true.

    Just to put this in some sort of perspective - someone on Job Seekers Allowance needs ten weeks to see seven hundred pounds, and would require rigourous documentary evidence of interviews, in order to reclaim the travel allowances to which he or she is actually entitled. Documentation, or the lack of it, seems to be the outstanding characteristic of this sorry affair.

    The whole thing does very effectivle highlight another, potentially far more serious problem though. That travel costs in London have soared to such dizzying heights, that even someone on twenty-eight hundred quid a week needs a to be subsidised in order to be able to afford it.

    Now, where's that Boris Bike...?

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  24. What I'm concerned about is that I'm sure that Brent councillors are aware of the 'ethnic cleansing' taking place in the various parts of the world without paying any attention to the similar thing taking place within their own authority!  Are any of them concerned, aware or paying the slightest attention to the number of black, Asian & other minority staff that have 'disappeared' from their workforce?!  I'm sure they're appalled as we all are about the tragic disappearances of the young school girls in Nigeria, however closer to home countless numbers disempowered minority employees in Brent are disproportionately targeted for the chop!  Brent councillors it's time for you to stand up for your community and stop being in awe of executive managers who have no connection, compassion or loyalty to the people they serve or employ, take heed or your people will not forget or forgive!

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    Replies
    1. Where did all the Black, Asian & other minority staff go? How many at Brent are directors?...and how many are earning £700 a day?

      Delete
  25. The initial difficulty here is that it seems, in the entire local government sector, in the London boroughs and beyond, there was/is, apparently, no suitable, recruitable officer with the requisite public-sector experience considered able to contend with the rigours(?) of this job. Which brings us neatly onto the second difficulty, namely the inane assumption that recruitment and personnel, is some sort of brain-defying rocket science, requiring someone with highly specialised knowledge and skills, to be able to manage it on £700 a day, when not so very long ago, non-specialist staff were managing the same function, perfectly well, on £700 a month.

    Neither of these two assumptions is true.

    Just to put this in some sort of perspective - someone on Job Seekers Allowance needs ten weeks to see seven hundred pounds, and would require rigourous documentary evidence of interviews, in order to reclaim the travel allowances to which he or she is actually entitled. Documentation, or the lack of it, seems to be the outstanding characteristic of this sorry affair.

    The whole thing does very effectivle highlight another, potentially far more serious problem though. That travel costs in London have soared to such dizzying heights, that even someone on twenty-eight hundred quid a week needs a to be subsidised in order to be able to afford it.

    Now, where's that Boris Bike...?


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course Ms Davani didn't 'need' to be subsidised. She wanted her travel costs paying. Simple. Without wishing to stray too far from the original point of the blog, the 'costs' matter links to currently perhaps the most serious crisis facing Londoners - the cost of housing. Bloated six-figure senior-officer salaries help maintain the obscene property-price inflation set by bankers and international money, at the same time local authorities are dealing daily with the fallout as London becomes increasingly habitable only by oligarchs and the super-rich. The weekend's 'Rich List' shows that Britain now has more billionaires than any other European country.

      What I'd like to ask Ms Davani and Brent's other senior managers is why they think they should be paid so much? A proper answer, please, not simply because 'We're worth it'.

      Delete
  26. This all reminds me of what has now become of our leading private enterprise cousins. The stakeholders, ie shareholders in private enterprise can't touch senior management. The same is now true for our Local Councils ie the Councillors, who should be acting in the interests of local stakeholders, can't touch senior management and challenge very few decisions.

    Change ! Change !! Change !!!

    If you want change, you have the opportunity to vote for change on 22 May.

    Vote for candidates who will challenge decisions of senior executives.

    A good starting point would be the conflict of interest in the recent decision to accept and approve the transfer of Copland school to Ark Academy, without any scrutiny or questions asked !

    Toby Chambers
    Sudbury Independent

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    Replies
    1. Good on you for standing up to the "Fat Cats"

      Public servants used to serve the country, now they are the biggest benefit thieves.

      Or is it because when suddenly working via a private company it legitimizes the rich rewards claimed by the few ?

      Delete
  27. This reliance on so called "top managers " could be as a result of the poor annual allowance of £7,947 paid to Brent Councillors in comparison to other London Boroughs.

    Perhaps significantly reducing "Top Manager pay," but increasing the allowance of Brent Councillors might actually attract better quality candidates.

    As the old saying goes, "Pay peanuts get monkeys."

    Sadly for us all it seems like we have a bunch of monkeys running things at the moment, with the top brass feeding them bananas, to keep them all quiet. So far, not even a word from standing Councillors. Silence speaks louder than words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, silence from candidates seeking constituents' votes, echoing the zipped lips regarding deferral of the latest planning application for change-of-use of the Kensal Rise Library pending the outcome of the ongoing police investigation.

      Delete
  28. Well, well. It seems Brent's head of HR, Cara Davani - profile here courtesy of The HR Lounge

    http://www.thehrlounge.co.uk/index.php?category=12&sec=55&page=109 -

    is the founder and co-owner with the above-mentioned Andy Potts - also a Brent Council senior officer - of the Kebulak kennels in Ipswich - link here

    http://www.kebulak.com/about_us.

    Dog-breeding isn't mentioned on Ms Davani's HR profile but I wonder if the income-generating business was mentioned when it was agreed that she would be hired through her own personal company at a rate of £700 a day for her publicly funded Brent HR role?

    Claiming for across-London travel looks like the grasping behaviour of the petit bourgeois.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All together now - '£700 a day'... Whisper it, say it out loud, whatever... Repeating it only makes this daily rate paid out of council-taxpayers' contributions to the council even more obscene. Who agreed this rate, and how was it justified? Disgraceful, utterly disgraceful, as was/is Ms Gilbert's £200k a year. Wish there were a hustings on the issue of private companies.

      Delete
    2. Great detective work.

      I wonder if the named business owner attended any dog shows etc on either of the 4 days per week she was contracted to be at Brent Council ?

      The Website lists the following as Champions and it is highly possible the breeder / owner was attending these Dog Shows ? (The whole matter gets even worse ?)
      Champions



      Here are our champion terriers in the UK and abroad




      Kebulak Champions:

      Please enquire if you are interested in buying one of our champions as they may be available for suitable show homes abroad.

      2014 Ch Kebulak Rockin Robin, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder)

      2014 Ir Ch Kebulak Filthy Love, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder)

      2014 Aust Ch Kebulak Kiss Chase, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder)

      2013 Ir Ch Kebulak Sixty Minute Man, Lakeland Terrier (breeder)

      2013 Ch Kebulak Kiss This, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder/co owner/ co handler)

      2013 Ir Ch Kebulak Lady Madonna, Lakeland Terrier (breeder)

      2013 Ch/Ir Ch Kebulak Trigger Happy, Welsh Terrier (breeder/owner), gained UK title 2014

      2013 Ch Kebulak Striptease, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder/owner/handler)

      2013 SA Ch Kebulak Filthy Angel, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder)

      2013 Dutch Ch Kebulak Killer Heels, Lakeland Terrier (breeder/co-owner)

      2012 Sw Ch Kebulak Born to Rock, Kerry Blue terrier (breeder)

      2012 Ch Kebulak Man After Midnight, Lakeland Terrier (breeder/owner)

      2012 Ch/ Ir Ch Kebulak Dirty Harry, Jnr Ch, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder/co-owner)

      2012 Ch Kebulak Agent Provocateur, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder/owner/handler)

      2012 Ch Kebulak Born To Tease, Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder/owner/handler)

      2012 Ir Ch Kebulak Lady Marmalade, Jnr Ch, Lakeland Terrier (breeder)

      2012 Bel Ch Granemore Maximillian at Kebulak, Jnr Ch, Kerry Blue Terrier (owner/handler)

      2012 Bel Ch Kebulak Wheels On Fire. Kerry Blue Terrier (breeder/owner)

      Delete
    3. In view of one her dogs she could not have possibly be spending the amount of time on Brent Council business. It would seem Brent Council has been funding her lifestyle of dog shows and

      Below is a further list of events, one of her dogs attended and given there is photographic evidence of dog and owner, she can't really claim she was not in attendance.

      A full investigation is needed as it really seems she could not possibly have been dedicating 4 full days per week during the contract period given the sheer volume of Dog Shows that were attended. Dog shows

      Ch Kebulak Man After Midnight, WW13



      Welcome to 'Vegas' gallery



      Date of birth: 16 January 2011

      Sire: Ir Ch Kebulak Bad Moon Rising

      Dam: Spinkeen Lightning Flash

      Breeder: Cara Davani

      Owner: Cara Davani

      Wins:

      Best Puppy Dog and Reserve Best Dog City of Birmingham Ch Show 2011

      Best Puppy and BOB London & Home Counties Terrier Club 2011

      Best Puppy in Show and RCC Midland Lakeland Terrier Club championship show 2011

      Best Puppy in Show Lakeland Terrier Society Championship show 2011

      UK's Top Puppy 2011

      Best Puppy in Breed Crufts 2012

      Junior winner & CC National Terrier 2012

      RCC Lakeland terrier Club 2012

      RCC Birmingham National 2012

      CC Scottish Kennel Club 2012

      CC Windsor Ch Show 2012

      CC Leeds Ch SHow 2012

      RCC Southern Counties 2012

      CC Border Union Ch Show 2012

      Best Dog Blackpool Ch Show 2012

      CC & BOB Welsh Kennel Club 2012

      CC & BOB LKA 2012

      Group Winner Boston Ch SHow 2013

      CC & BOB Manchester Ch Show 2013

      Res CC Crufts 2013

      CC, BOB and RBIS National Terrier 2013

      CC &RBIS Lakeland Terrier Club Show 2013

      CC Birmingham National Ch 2013

      World Winner & BOB World Dog Show 2013

      Interra Winner & BOB 2013

      CC & BOB Scottish KC Ch Show 2013

      CC Southern Counties 2013

      Group 2, CC & BOB Border Union 2013

      CC, BOB and group 3 Windsor 2013

      CC, BOB and group 3 City of Birmingham 2013

      BOB and group 3 Belfast ch Show 2013






      Take a look at Vegas' pedigree

      Delete
    4. Well, we can also add conflict of interest to this sorry tale. Potts is the partner, business and otherwise, of Davani. So, as Brent's senior employment lawyer under the leadership of Ledden, why on earth was he permitted to give legal advice in cases where Davani's actions as HR Director were being challenged? Why too, did he have anything to do with arranging her contract?

      Where was the leadership and vigilance that Ledden and Gilbert were being paid to exercise, on behalf of the Mayor and Burgesses (which I think includes the great unwashed) of the London Borough of Brent?

      Delete
    5. Don't forget that Gilbert is a former colleague of Davani's, so the answer to your final question is, perhaps, one of guards guarding the guards.

      Delete
    6. This made me smile!
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-suffolk-27486722

      Delete
  29. For the month August 2012, Ms Davani claimed £334 of telephone calls, claiming she was on holiday. If she was attending the below dog shows, should she really be claiming she was on holiday ? It seems more like she was moonlighting to secure "Top Dog" and her breeds would then be worth a great deal more.

    Seems like Ms Davani has literally been taking the, "Dog Biscuit"

    From the website http://ulsterkerryblue.webs.com/news.htm it states

    Aug 2012

    At a lovely venue the sun shone at Bangor Show. Maria Salminen officiated and awarded GSB and BOB to Barbara Ferguson’s EDBRIOS DOLCE VITA (Jun Ch). The GSD winner was Cara Davani and Cathy Neill’s CH KEBULAK DIRTY HARRY (Jun Ch). Dolce Vita also topped the Group under Maria.

    GSD and BOB at the All Terrier Association Show under Pat Molony was Cara Davani and Cathy Neill's Ir Ch Kebluak Dirty Harry. The GSB winner was Barbara Ferguson's Edbrios Dolce Vita (Jun Ch), handled as always by Philip O’Brien. BPIB and ultimately BPIS was John Weatherhead's Hallsblu Fibber Magee.

    ReplyDelete
  30. It is fairly clear now why Ms Davani needed travel subsidy, as it was helping to funding her own Dog Loving Lifestyle.

    It makes me sick, that many of us a working extremely hard for very little money and some people are creaming from society.

    My lifestyle has gone backwards in the past few years, as I can't afford the little luxuries anymore.

    Yet others having been taking all they can get.

    This whole matter now goes much deeper than simply £140 of oyster card claims.

    ReplyDelete
  31. You are a real Hero Nan Tewari !!!

    You should be given community champion reward

    We can all now see why the "Powers that Be" have tried to keep a lid on this.

    This is scandalous and is much bigger than simply a few hundred pounds.

    What do our Councillors now say about this whole matter ?

    Silence as usual !

    ReplyDelete
  32. There will always be thieves and we pay the police to prevent them or to catch them. There will always be thieving chancers. But we’d be more than irritated if we found that the police were not just rather poor at catching burglars but were actually going round dodgy pubs announcing which houses contained readily sellable stuff and which occupants were currently away on holiday. In the same way, who at Brent Council is being paid by us specifically to PREVENT the paying of ludicrous amounts of money into a tax avoidance scheme for the benefit of this shameless little chiseller? It must be easy to identify the person(s) responsible. Are they going to make up the losses resulting from their negligence? Will their incompetence affect their career trajectory in any way at all? When Brent Council were found to be complicit in the £2.6 million scam at Copland their reaction was to go looking for the people who had uncovered their negligent enabling of the fraud ; the consequent hostility to the school’s staff and structures and a series of utterly clueless management appointments aimed at ‘sorting them out’ led to the ghost school the place has now become.
    If the honourable people involved in the disclosure of Brent’s idiocy in the Davani case are themselves employed by the council, they might be well advised to take their holidays a little early this year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 2,8 of the internal audit report says that there was an investigation into Davani's appointment. The investigation is referred to in 1.5 (redacted by the council) of the report but we don't know what it says. However, if it was as full of holes as the Oyster investigation, it probably bears a greater resemblance to the grand canyon than to the proverbial sieve.

      Delete
  33. 'Cara Davani is a strategic leader and decision maker with significant change management expertise' (it says at something called 'HRLounge').The world divides into people who can read this sort of crap without weeping and those who can't. Unfortunately the important decisions about where your money goes (and into whose pockets) are usually made by the second group.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Apparently she made a name for herself in 2003 in Tower Hamlets being only 30 years old and was appointed HR Manager of 10,000 people.

      She swept in new management practice and was a rising star

      Not sure why, if she was that good she did not simply stay on ?

      Perhaps the real workers had enough of her type !

      If she was that good she would have ensured her own contract was water tight, by crossing the T's and dotting the i's !

      Delete
  34. You would not read about it, below Statement On Brent Council Website

    http://www.brent.gov.uk/muhammeds-blog/posts/2012/december/3/my-priorities-1-fairness/

    Muhammed's Blog My priorities: 1. Fairness
    Monday December 3, 2012
    Over the past two months I have written here about the kind of future I want to see for our area, and about some of the problems we face in making it happen.

    Over the next few months I would like to talk in a little more detail about my three priorities:

    making Brent a fairer place
    fighting for jobs and growth
    and strengthening our community.
    Today I want to talk about fairness. Politicians often shy away from using words like fairness, equality and justice. They consider them to be problematic as they can often mean slightly different things to different people.

    However, I believe that there are a set of basic values which are broadly shared by everyone in our Borough. These form our sense of community and shape our society.

    As a council we have a responsibility to fight for these values on behalf of our residents. It is unfair that so many people in Brent go to work for 60 or 70 hours a week, often working two jobs, but still have to choose between paying the gas bill or buying food at the end of the month.

    A fair day's work deserves a fair day's pay. That is why in January, we are aiming to become one of the first 'Living Wage' Boroughs. We already pay all our employees the London Living Wage, and will begin extending this to contractors from January.

    We are also appointing a councillor as our Living Wage Champion who will work unapologetically to persuade businesses in Brent to do the same. It is unfair that energy companies with a monopoly on the market are increasing your heating bills year on year at a time when they are making record profits.

    Too many people in our community live in fuel poverty - unable to afford to turn the heating on over Christmas. That is why we will launch a Brent Collective Switching scheme.

    This will use bulk buying to force the energy companies to give our residents a discount on their bills. Anyone in Brent can sign up, and you could save hundreds of pounds off your annual bill. This should help to make heating more affordable in time for the worst bits of winter.

    It is unfair that even though we live in a borough with some of the highest rental prices in the UK, too many homes in the private rented sector are so badly maintained that they are dangerous to the health of the people who live there.

    We do not live in the Victorian era, it is not fair that we still have slum housing in 21st century London. That is why early next year we will bring forward plans to make dramatic improvements to the standards of privately rented homes in Brent.

    Finally, it is unfair that while times are hard for everyone in Brent, and we are having to manage huge cuts to our budget, a very small minority of people still think it's OK to make fraudulent claims for benefits and services.

    This is simply unacceptable. It's unfair to those people who need help and can't get it, and it's unfair on the majority of people who work hard and don't break the rules. That is why we will not tolerate false claims for benefits and services and will crack down on fraud.

    There is much more that we can and will do to make Brent a fairer place in the future, but these measures will make a big difference. If you have any ideas about what you'd like us to do to make Brent fairer please do let us know.

    Next time I will be writing about what we are doing to bring more jobs and growth to the borough.

    Written by Cllr Muhammed Butt at 18:10

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just goes to show pure rhetoric ! These leaders say a lot, but are full of hot air, would use another word, but thought restrain myself !

      Empty words and promises.

      Just like last weeks Preston library offer and recent push to accept Kensal Rise redevelopment for recent examples of the hot air that comes out just to secure votes.

      Delete
    2. So very true.....

      It’s the sheer greed of this woman that disgusts me. Raking in £700 a day, money funded by tax payers and then went on to suck out even more cash from this ‘cash strapped’ council. It’s like someone winning the lottery and still claiming benefits.

      At a time when people are struggling to pay for the basic necessities FOOD, SHELTER, WARMTH AND CLOTHING how can Cllr Butt let her stay? She has to go.

      In the words of the man himself ‘it is unfair that while times are hard for everyone in Brent, and we are having to manage huge cuts to our budget, a very small minority of people still think it's OK to make fraudulent claims for benefits and services.

      This is simply unacceptable. It's unfair to those people who need help and can't get it, and it's unfair on the majority of people who work hard and don't break the rules. That is why we will not tolerate false claims for benefits and services and will crack down on fraud.’

      I agree Cllr Butt, so what are YOU going to do about it?

      Delete
    3. Is she still on Brent contract and getting £700 per week for What Exactly ?

      Eat Humble Pie Councillor Butt and get rid of her.

      Particularly if she is running around at Dog Shows this is an insult to the hard working people of Brent.

      She does not even live close to Brent so any money she might earn is very unlikely to stay in Brent.

      Delete
    4. Correction above £700 per day.

      Delete
    5. Re what is Cllr Butt going to do about it - 12 May, 21.56 above. Well, he has done what any other political leader would have done and distanced himself by handing the matter over to Gilbert, to do what she is paid to do - then again, her contractual terms probably don't include a clause requiring her to drop her former colleagues in it.

      Hence my decision to write to the Rt Hon Eric P.

      Delete
    6. Walk done Nan

      Delete
    7. Gilbert's appointment needs scrutinising, too. Who selected her, what were her supposed credentials for heading up a local authority? And once again - who sanctioned her payment through a personal company?

      Delete
  35. Why was there only a charge for the London leg of the journey and not for the Suffolk to London or indeed hotel expenses? As according to Davani she could claim reasonable expenses…Could it be that you can’t swipe on trains from Suffolk to London and hotels don't take an Oyster card as currency.

    Let's not lose sight of the fact that this report is still in draft? Who knew about it and what action had been and/or has been taken in light of these revelations? How can a senior officer be interviewed about this matter and his comments be 'off the record'? How can staff feel confident in bringing wrong doing to light and for it to be automatically dismissed as malicious? Feels either like a cover up or reeks of incompetence. Either way these people aren’t fit to run a council on behalf of its residents.

    Are these people still working for the council? A full investigation is needed and the findings should be published. No paying off these fat cats as they quietly step down.

    Ordinary humans would be suspended pending an investigation, or sacked. I suppose that because these appointed have super powers and their specialist skills puts them above us ordinary Brent residents that they have been sent here to save, different rules apply.

    As this has been brushed under the carpet, what other decisions have been made by these people and shouldn't they be called into question and reviewed? How can we believe anything they say?

    Too many unanswered questions and nothing from our electorate are they hoping that this will go away? Do cap my benefit – don’t cap my expenses. I’ll let my vote do the talking……

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We will probably get the usual drivel, that it will cost too much in terminating her contract early if she is still on Brent Council Take.

      Any normal person they would immediately be dismissed.

      What I want to know is what on earth was she doing for 4 days per week if she can also swan off to Dog Shows all around the country ?

      Just shows you how the other half live !

      Delete
  36. You know those novels where you discover something new each time you read them again - well it looks like the internal audit report was done by Deloitte's. Wonder what their rate is then?

    ReplyDelete
  37. Talking about novels a great title would be something like :

    "Conflicts of Interest - The Untouched"

    You could fill volumes.

    The very sad part in reality is The Untouched always seem to get away with it.

    ReplyDelete
  38. possibly more dubious than the mis spent oyster monies is the manage of her post at brent. as the official best friend of the chief exec she has reworked the top management structure twice resulting in promotions for herself from head of service to junior director and then junior director to senior director. the new structures just happen to include a good promotion for her partner. coincidence? what kind of an organisation allows its contractors to promote themselves to the top of the tree. as an earlier comment said there does not appear to have been any kind of recruitment or competitive process for any of these her original employment, her multiple promotions, her partners promotion, the employment of the chief executive or for the extension of the contract for the chief executive. brent hr campaigns against hiring contractors. interesting knowing that the three highest paid contractors at brent are the chief executive and two of her personal friends from tower hamlets. brent has indeed become a family friendly council. well done to all those who signed their comments. i cannot do so as i fear retribution.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It becomes very clear now why she was appointed !

      Few have previously been able or willing to question her decisions in hiring or firing.



      Delete
  39. Didn't Al Pacino play Cara Davani in 'Dog Day Afternoon'. That was about daylight robbery too. Maybe I'm getting confused ...................

    ReplyDelete
  40. Let's see if I've got this right - a dog-breeder and alleged HR whizz-kid gets a senior-officer job at Brent where her business and personal partner is a senior employment lawyer who oversees her private company contract under which she's paid £700 a day (which is £50 above the going rate)? (Soon after her appointment, she attempts to justify the use of 'temporary' staff by posting on Cllr Butt's party-political blog - Nan Tewari, 11 May 19.39, above.) Around the time of Ms Devani's appointment, Christine Gilbert, a former colleague of the new HR head, is given the job of Brent's acting chief executive. Both are off the council's PAYE pay-roll, being paid through their personal private companies. After a former planning enforcement manager reappears at Brent, a personal company is set up in his name. Correct?

    Who made these appointments and who permitted these private-company shenanigans: Cara Davani Ltd; Christine Gilbert Associates (unless Ms Gilbert has another private company for her receipt of her Brent council-taxpayers' monies); Nigel Wicks' Enforcement Services Ltd? Will council leader Butt back the call for an investigation by the department of Communities and Local Government, extending its remit to cover the use of personal companies?

    The bigger question is, of course, the urgent need to reform the structure of local government. The present system is past its sell-by date, power residing, as has been said several times above, with senior officers and not elected members. Local government is in urgent need of democratising - two suggestions have already been made as to how a start might be made, see comment above 11 May 18.34.


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why pay £1.50 a fortnight to read Private Eye's 'Rotten Boroughs' column when Martin provides access to the same muck here daily and for free?

      Delete
    2. Let's hope PE's 'Rotten Boroughs' follows up - different readership, including national politicians. The brightest light needs to be shone on the power of senior local-authority officers in Brent - where there seems to be a particular problem - and elsewhere.

      Footnote: I'm advised that when 'Ltd' is used - eg, as in Cara Devani Ltd - it generally refers to self-employment status, an option often taken up agency workers. LOL - in what sense is Ms Devani an agency/temporary employee?

      Delete
    3. Cronyism, conflict of interest, perjury, sex, racism, cover-up and sheer greed.

      No, not a trailer for an airport blockbuster, just a tale of everyday management folk at Brent Council ....where scandal and an unashamed affronts to the council tax payers who can't trust their elected representatives and highly paid officials to conduct themselves and council business in accordance with the Nolan principles governing conduct in public life, are all in a days work ....... cue theme music to “The Sting”.

      This tale involves an interim consultant appointed in March 2012 who one day, decides that her £700 per day (yes, pounds sterling) is simply not enough for her 4 day a week job, even though she is being paid £50 to £100 per day (yes, pounds sterling) over the going rate to allow for her expenses. So, on this fine day, after her manager, Clive Heaphy, leaves the council and her contract comes up for renewal, Ms £700 a day only decides to start using her council-issued Oyster card (which had been booked out under the heading ‘meetings’) to pay for her home to work travel. She says she got the idea from the contracts of the interim chief exec and another of the interim creatures that has colonised planet Brent council ….. cue theme for 'Alien'.

      A little while later, HR staff notice from the TfL records, that the Oyster card is being used for home to work travel which was not its intended purpose. HR staff send the matter up the reporting line to land on the desk of new manager, Phil Newby. Well, new manager decides its just a load of malicious black women who dislike Ms £700 a day, so no need to take any notice. New manager therefore makes unilateral decision not to refer the matter under whistle blowing procedure. Lots of staff now very disgruntled – staff complain to outsider, former Brent union rep, Nan Tewari …..cue theme for “All The President's Men”.

      Nan Tewari writes to leader of council, district auditor and independent chair of council’s audit committee about Oystergate. Eventually, Brent’s internal audit stirs itself sufficiently to ask a few desultory questions – nothing too onerous, just need to be seen to be responding, cover a few back sides, that sort of thing. In fact, internal audit claims it was in the process of doing a check on the Oyster cards anyway ,,,,, cue theme for the “Pink Panther”.

      Well, anyway, this new manager chappy is adamant he never agreed any use of an Oyster card. But here's the rub – no one knows why he refuses to 'go on record' and no one thinks it odd that speaking to an audit investigator is somehow 'off the record'. No one wants to suggest that it might have something to do with Ms £700 a day being the person who would be calculating new manager's pay off to leave the council. (She did, and he did.) Anyway, Ms £700 a day says so many times to the investigator that new manager had agreed the usage, that investigator just takes her word for it since new manager won't sign their bit of paper, and then it's all chalked up to a bit of a misunderstanding, see, because Ms £700 a day told them she wasn't doing anything wrong and lovely bunch that they are, they have to believe her. I mean, it looks jolly suspicious that new manager would not sign things and Ms £700 a day is loudly protesting her innocence, so what would you do, eh? …..cue theme for “On the Buses”.

      ...to be continued.........

      Delete
    4. ..........continued.......

      So, investigator thinks it's OK that Ms £700 a day could not point to this home to work travel agreement in her contract. Investigator thinks it's OK that Ms £700 a day signed the renewed contract by accident. Investigator thinks it is OK for someone to make home to work travel claims without recording the journeys for tax purposes (internal audit, bless them, probably don't even know this is a taxable benefit). It never occurs to investigator to ask why only the London portion of the journey constituted reasonable expenses and not the portion of the journey into and out of London. Investigator thinks it's OK not to bother to interview the malicious lot who reported this in the first place ….. cue theme for “Perry Mason”.

      [That's enough about the investigation – move on. Ed.]

      Right, so where were we? Ah yes, how about a nice bit of perjury? And when is perjury not perjury? Why, when a legal director says so, of course!

      Well, this legal director's staff only write a statement to Employment Tribunal saying that Ms £700 a day had permission from new manager to use Oyster card. Actually, new manager was adamant he had not agreed but as we know, investigator decides this is a minor technicality. Anyway, it seems the only lawyer available for Tribunal to contact is partner of Ms £700 a day. ( I wonder why they didn't just get in an INTERIM lawyer?) Yes, this really is a story of who you know. Ms £700 a day tells Tribunal she was exonerated by the Head of Audit. How did that happen when there was a clear lack of evidence? I wonder if head of audit wrote to her to announce her exoneration?

      Super Annuated, ex-union rep Nan Tewari, takes up the cudgels once again. Super annuated writes to Leader of Council, utters the word perjury. And guess what? It's legal director to the rescue hoping to zap super annuated's latest missile with one of her own. Legal director dashes off supplementary statement to Tribunal saying new manager had confirmed to head of audit that he had agreed the travel expenses as part of Ms £700 a day's renegotiated package – doesn't matter report says complete opposite, that was only draft anyway ..... cue theme for "High Noon"..

      Legal director's (legal?) aid package further extends to telling Tribunal that poor Ms £700 a day had not seen the report when she wrote her statement (implying she had therefore not committed perjury) and, to make the travel expenses claiming lark seem perfectly acceptable, she reveals that she too, had claimed home to work when she was an interim. So relief all round, it must be OK if Chief Ex, legal director and Ms £700 a day are doing it ..... cue theme for "The Untouchables".

      Just a couple of points to note:

      Ms £700 a day was taken on to sack a load of staff, sorry, downsize, because of the council being a bit short of the readies. So you would think that she would be content with her already privileged pay package which was £50 to £100 a day above the going rate. But perhaps she felt it was because she's worth it ….. shot of L'Oreal hair model.

      Well of course, noses in the trough have never been an obstacle to the achievement of high office and Ms £700 a day was transformed into Ms Permanent six-figure salary. So it's two digits to the council tax peasants, and Ms £700 a day lives happily after .....cue theme for "It's A Wonderful Life".

      And just in case you were thinking those audit bods were a bunch of softies:

      The audit committee minutes of March 13 notes that it was highlighted that 18 cases of internal fraud were found, resulting in five dismissals and 10 resignations before action could be taken ….. shot of M & S advert dubbed over with: “this isn't just any investigation, this is s a 'Deloitte's' investigation”.

      Delete
  41. What would be interesting to now review are the submitted invoices from Cara Davani Ltd. Do some of thèse invoices conflict with days she attended à Dog Show ?

    This whole matter throws up more questions than answers ?



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In any future proceedings, could the pm elements of Cara's conflicting invoice times be referred to as 'Dog Day Afternoons', please?

      Delete
  42. To get things in perspective, if Cara Davani Ltd invoiced £700 per day for 4 days per week 52 weeks of the year this comes to £145,600.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A public spirited person has found out the following details.

      Davani's two interim contracts covered 6 March 2012 to 31 March 2013.
       
      Between May 2012 and April 2013 her company submitted 11 invoices, and was paid £123,900 for her services (177 days at £700 per day). In addition, £334.57 was paid to reimburse her for mobile 'phone calls made while she was on holiday (see para. 2.16 of the draft report) - this was included in her invoice for August 2012, submitted and paid in September 2012, for a total of £11,184.57. At the time, she was meant to be working for Brent for 4 days a week, and the daily element of the August invoice represents a charge for 15.5 working days.
       
       
      Cara Davani's report to Budget and Finance Committee
      (http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s20592/HRreport-2.pdf)
       admits in its section on "Interims and Consultants" at para. 3.33:

      'Relationships with independents are one of mutual trust. In many cases individuals are known to the council for the quality of their work and ability to deliver. At times there is no specification of work, contracts or time sheets.'

      Delete
    2. For Accountability the public deserves to see further details of logged work completed.

      Lawyers log the work they complete on behalf of clients and this should apply to contractors working for Brent Council.

      Tax payers should not simply accept Ms Davani's word.

      Delete
    3. For August 2012 if Ms Davani claims to have been on holiday.

      Surely this would be a week not claimed not just 0.5 of a day. Coincidentally 0.5 equates to £350 and not far from the phone calls claimed.
      What was so important a charge of £334.57 for Phone calls while claiming to be on holiday when it seems she was at "Doggy Show" ?

      Delete
  43. P45 would be a more suitable description of Ms Davani's skills rather than grandiose "Strategic leader and décision maker with significant change management expertise."

    ReplyDelete
  44. Count to 10 then read slowly:

    'Relationships with independents are one of mutual trust. In many cases individuals are known to the council for the quality of their work and ability to deliver. At times there is no specification of work, contracts or time sheets' - Cara Davani's report to Budget and Finance Committee
    (http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s20592/HRreport-2.pdf) para. 3.33: "Interims and Consultants".

    Wow, just wow. Here we have it in the proverbial black and white - one employment law for them, one for the rest. Clearly foresight isn't one of Ms Davani's competencies, nor of those who appointed - or should that be 'annointed'? - her.

    More importantly, how did such self-serving claptrap get passed elected members (of all parties)? I urge all three leaders to comment openly on this blog. There's an election a week tomorrow. Residents need to know that those standing for re-election will be able - and willing - to exercise control of the council's senior managers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Getting paid a fortune and there is no ability to review the quality of her Work or the time spent etc.

      Come on Ms Davani What Planet are You On !

      You are expecting to be critical of workers below you and yet the Voting public can't be critical of Your Work !

      Get Rid of Her

      She has to GO Period.

      Delete
    2. How can Ms Davani continue in her post and expect quality work from those below.

      Good Riddance

      Brent Council officers should not have to live in fear.

      Better decisions could be made, if the fear culture in Brent Council was not allowed to permeate and was eradicated.

      This includes Councillors who fear speaking up.

      For quality debate and to solve all the social problems in Brent, we just can't continue with the fear that is now endemic.

      Ms Davani is at the heart of this fear.

      SHE MUST GO !

      Delete
  45. All you Flat Earth Society members, Empire Loyalists, Poujadists, North Weezy Rosicrucians, Diggers, Levellers, People's Front of Judaea activists, Alma Cogan fans, Whig revivalists, Monster Raving Loonies, David Icke and, yes, even you Lib Dems.. There's an election next week in Brent. I don't know if it's too late but you might still just be in time to register as candidates.
    Stand, you'll walk it. Guaranteed
    (Ok, maybe not you Lib Dems).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. People died in order to secure the vote for us non-landed gentry.

      Voting happens only once every few years. It's up to us plebs to be constantly vigilant in ensuring the Elected Ones are properly answerable. We leave them to their own devices and look what happens!

      Delete
  46. Here is the text of an email which I have just sent to Councillors Butt, Kansagra and Lorber, forwarding an earlier email to them headed "Conduct of Senior Council Officert(s)" which drew their attention (with a link) to this "blog":

    Dear Cllrs Butt, Kansagra and Lorber,

    I am forwarding again the email which I sent yesterday.

    There are now almost 100 comments on this original "blog", including a recent one (not from me) urging all of Brent's political party leaders to add their own comments, to let local people know where they stand on this matter.

    I hope that you will all come out publicly, preferably with a joint statement if you can put aside party politics for a short time and think of the best interests of the borough, and reassure Brent's people that the serious issues raised by this whistleblower will be fully investigated (and not by the Senior Council Officers who appear to be tainted by it). Thank you. Best wishes,

    Philip Grant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Philip, I can't decide whether you are refreshingly optimistic or stupidly naive.

      Delete
    2. As a standing Independent Candidate, I fully support an immediate and detailed investigation, including the suspension of Ms Cara Davani from her current post.

      I find it totally unacceptable that the current Brent Political Leaders have not immediately responded to genuine concern from the Brent public.

      Furthermore, few have spoken out before in relation to real fear of senior Brent Council Officers and such a culture can not continue, as junior staff must feel better supported by their senior officers. This support is clearly not forthcoming from the most senior staff and a hierarchical structure is still entrenched.

      The move towards towards a more collaborative culture within Brent Council, I would have expected would have been one of the aims of the restructure over the past year. Clearly senior management have either failed to realize a different culture and or had no intention of developing a new open and collaborative culture.

      As a knowledge leader in Social Innovation, being a Masters student at Goldsmiths, I would consider myself a highly worth candidate, to support the needed cultural changes required by senior leadership of Brent Council.

      I therefore call for the immediate suspension of Ms Cara Davani from her post and her conduct to be immediately investigated.

      Toby Chambers
      Independent Sudbury

      Delete
    3. Martin, please could you block the tiresome electioneering from Toby in this comments section? Toby, blogspots are free to establish - please set up your own.

      Delete
    4. It is obviously pointless expecting councillors to do anything. The minutes of the 7 Nov 2013 General Purposes committee discussion of the whistle blowing policy records that:

      “The committee also queried the appropriate response of members should they be approached by employees of the council with a disclosure. Cara Davani advised that staff were not permitted to approach councillors in this respect and this action could be classed as misconduct. Staff should be referred to the Whistleblowing policies and procedures if they wished to make a disclosure. The Members’ Code of Conduct, set out in the council’s Constitution, detailed required standards of behaviour from Members.”

      Delete
    5. The committee queried the appropriate response...are you kidding me? This is a joke right? Someone please wake me up - this cannot be real. I'm paying my taxes for this? I used my vote for them?

      Simple logic tells us that if someone approached them with a matter such as this, they would think to investigate/look into/consider/ask the audience/50/50/phone a friend? Who is running that place?

      So, an employee told a senior manager about the theft of public money - using the oyster to get to and from work, senior manager dismissed it as malicious, employee not permitted to approach committee as action classed as misconduct and therefore could lose their job, so theft of our money goes on and on and on and on...

      Needless to say Brent won't be winning any 'Best Places To Work Awards'. I did read in the Kilburn Times that the 'Brent Civic Centre won the the best corporate workplace' (article refers to the building).

      Wow what an absolute and utter mess. What else is going on that we don't know about?

      It's a joint enterprise - All are to blame, all are to be investigated both past and present, all have to go.

      Special measures Eric loss of confidence. it's time to step in and wake me up from this nightmare. My monies going down the drain and lining the pockets of the so called elites.

      Delete
    6. Current Brent Councillors should refer to Members Code of Conduct

      http://democracy.brent.gov.uk/documents/s8600/standards-regime-localism-app1.pdf

      It states
      "Leadership – you should promote and support these principles by leadership, and by
      example, and should act in a way that secures or preserves public confidence."

      To me, Good Member Leadership of Brent Council in order to "Preserve Public Confidence," means for example, immediately investigating the conduct of "Ms Cara Davani"

      Any current Brent Member, ie that is those Councillors currently appointed as members who do nothing about this situation in relation to "Ms Cara Davani," are therefore deemed to be failing in their "Duties as Members of Brent Council."

      The voting public can decide in 1 week which Councillors should be removed for "Poor Leadership," if they choose to do nothing about Ms Cara Davani's conduct.

      Delete
  47. Phillip,
    You are justified in saying that this whole matter should be investigated but not by Senior Council Officers, but by an independent body and that the investigations should start as soon as possible.

    However is it not possible that all the people (consultants) engaged by Cara Davani should have their contracts terminated with immediate effect? Or is the Leader going to take no action, because of how any action could have an impact on the outcome of the elections?

    ReplyDelete
  48. Has Andy Potts declared his extra curricula Business Activities ?

    Did Ms Cara Davani declare her extra curricula Business Activities ?

    Anti-Fraud and Bribery Policy June 2013

    http://www.brent.gov.uk/media/3409933/Anti%20fraud%20and%20bribery%20policy.pdf

    States clearly

    "Financial malpractice/irregularity
    This term is used to describe any actions which represent a deliberate, serious breach of accounting principles, financial regulations or any of the council’s financial governance arrangements. They do not have to result in personal gain. They will include situations where undisclosed conflicts of interest result in some form of benefit."

    From what I have now seen, Ms Cara Davani is in serious breach as there is clearly "Conflict of Interest," and she personally gains if the matter is simply closed and is not subject to Public Scrutiny."

    Ms Cara Davani makes a MOCKERY of the Anti-Fraud and Bribery Policy June 2013, if she is not held to Public Account.


    ReplyDelete
  49. From the audit report, it doesn't take a genius to work out that the enforced exodus of longstanding HR staff coupled with the simultaneous influx of new faces in the HR department doing the same thing with different job titles, was all an elaborate plan for Cara to get rid of the one gutsy individual who had the courage to report her for her more than generous oyster usage! If Phil Newby hadn't also received a very handsome pay off from public coffers, he should also have been held accountable for serious management inaction. How can staff feel safe working in an organisation and when they have legitimate concerns, they get labelled as malicious and restructured out of the organisation? I'd love to see Phil Newby's investigation report ....anyone got hold of that yet?....I know, maybe we should check the fag packets outside the old Brent Town Hall!

    ReplyDelete
  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  51. I have slightly edited this comment from Anon: Seems like the bullying and intimidation of staff by Ms Davani is being cited by a former employee in her industrial tribunal case for constructive dismissal and racial discrimination.

    http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/rosemarie-clarke-launched-claim-against-7124103#.U3TRcgiNzhU.twitter

    So now not only is she an alleged fraudster but also an alleged bully and racist. And how much of OUR money will be spent on legal fees defending this woman's actions at the tribunal?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was noted at recent Brent Voluntary sector conference held in Brent Council Chambers that Brent Senior management did not reflect the ethnic make up of Brent.

      I do not know if this actually was minuted, but I am sure the whole of Brent Voluntary Sector who are made up of all the different ethnic minority groups could testify a question was put to the panel of senior Brent Management that the senior management did not reflect ethnic minority groups.

      Delete
  52. Quite a lot of allegations are coming in now, some naming other people in the Council, and I am being circumspect about what I publish for obvious reasons. However I will keep them on file and hope that if there is a Public Inquiry those making the allegations will come forward. I will make them available if requested.

    ReplyDelete
  53. Surely Ms Cara Davani can't remain in her post, when so many people have been calling for Brent Coucillors to hold her to account.

    I applaud all those who have been calling for immediate Action.

    But I am afraid so far it seems to have fallen on deaf years, so I want by VOTING for those who now sit and do nothing.

    IMMEDIATE ACTION AND SUSPENSION OF MS CARA DAVANI'S POST IS REQUIRED.

    How much louder can this be.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I am disappointed you chose not to publish my comments as they are based on fact and only the tip of the iceberg, but I do understand your position. I am one of the managers who was forced to resign. However, if there is a public enquiry I will not be coming forward mainly because I have heard stories about how people have been tracked down in their new places of employment and references have been withdrawn. Unfortunately I need to work. However, if I was to be contacted directly, I would not lie.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I will have another look at the comment and I hope you won't mind if I edit it a little.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Publish it in full.

      The public deserve to know the full truth

      Delete
    2. Brent senior management have been hiding everything behind closed doors.

      Lets get it all out in the open.

      There is nothing to be afraid anymore.

      We have seen it recently with abuse claims, people find it very difficult to come forward, but for social justice we all now have to step forward and put an end to this reign of terror.

      Delete
  56. If a member of staff done these allegations, no word of a doubt Cara Davani would sack them, that is her management style. There would be zero tolerance for this behaviour, there would be no mercy and no discretion. I think you should give her some of her own medicine to swallow - Dismiss her. This behaviour is bringing the council into disrepute. In the public's and the communities interest, Brent council deserves a Operational HR Director with integrity.

    ReplyDelete
  57. Today's report by Hannah Bewley on the West London website has been enormously helpful in showing how abysmally Davani has behaved. Taking a case to employment tribunal is not an easy option for anyone. Inevitably your private affairs are put into the public domain.

    When I started to receive information back in 2012 I realised that there was much more in the background. However staff were so fearful of information being traced back to them that it was difficult to establish the corroboration needed for credibility in revealing what was taking place.

    I have seen elsewhere, at first hand the psychological damage that bullying does to staff who are unable to turn to anyone within an organisation's hierarchy and I am so glad that people are sending in further allegations to Martin Francis. Yet a further testament, if any were needed, to the necessary public service this blog is performing.

    I'm afraid there's more to come. Keep watching this space .......

    Oh, and someone give Martin a medal!




    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is nothing to fear now.

      Although if People VOTE for MORE of the SAME on 22 May, then I am afraid we all have to be fearful as change will not happen.

      Delete
  58. Edited comment from 'Anonymous': As well as the "enforced exodus of long standing staff", more recent members of staff have also been bullied and were forced to resign because of unacceptable treatment (public verbal abuse) and/or the threat of disclinary action against them. These were managers within HR who led teams and are professionally qualified and experts in their fields with no previous blemishes on their record, yet because they dared to question practices or policies or disagree with Cara Davani or Mildred Phillips, their cards were marked. Cara Davani has fostered a culture of fear, aided by Mildred Phillips. And here is another issue - how does someone who was dismissed from Tower Hamlets and escorted out of the building manage to secure a job as Head of Transactional Services. Oh yes, she also worked with Christine Gilbert and Cara Davani at Tower Hamlets - surprise, surprise! Cara Davani brought her in as an interim

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Martin, there I was, thinking it was going to be a quiet weekend! A weekend just sitting around watching BGT...instead it's turned out to be the contrary and I'm reading BGNT (Brents Got No Talent).

      She's Head of Transactional Services AND Deputy Head of HR.

      I think recruitment comes under her remit too, so I'm assuming the necessary process which us mere mortals have to abide by when we go for any new job - interview, reference checks etc etc. blah blah blah applied to her...?

      I'm running out of adjectives to describe all of this....

      I understand that her son also works under her too (this is all too laughable)...

      Thank You Martin and Nan for giving people a voice and vehicle to speak out about what is going on.

      People who don't believe in karma take heed.....

      Delete
    2. It beggars belief that Ms Davani can remain in her post.

      This type of behaviour from a senior HR manager is one we all thought had long been banished as it does not achieve peak employee performance.

      Perhaps Councillor Butt is in awe of Ms Davani, as he does not appear to be doing anything about her behaviour, despite being leader of Brent and one of the few people who could actually do something about her.

      Delete
    3. Re anon 17 May 18:13. Thank you for speaking out and giving such an accurate account of what is happening.

      Delete
  59. There's a strange similarity here between the recruitment patterns of the most important UK administrative agencies below national government level and the recruitment patterns of football league clubs. Someone screws up mightily somewhere and you can't imagine they'll ever get employed again. They then join the pool of trained , qualified and experienced dead-loss failures. The pressure/conformism of those looking to recruit turns them back to this same pool of proven deadbeats. They then get taken on to screw up somewhere else. As the merry-go-round goes on it forms a whole sub-class of mutually-promoting nonentities who swap jobs and favours and screw-ups in their own little self-perpetuating and ludicrously expensive bubble. You and I look on and occasionally wake up enough, as here, to object.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This also happens in the NHS. From time to some government person with nothing better to do, declares that there is so much failure in the system, it needs a complete revamp instead of a good sort-out. Who better to do this than the people who presided over the failure? And thus are they recycled and given new job titles ..... over ,and over, and over, again.

      Delete
  60. Pay attention now, bit of a history lesson coming up. Remember Clive Heaphy? He was the finance director who had responsibility for HR. Right, well, he was the one who knew Davani and brought her in for an initial spell of 8 months (March 2012 to Oct 2012) - on £700 sterling per day excluding expenses - without any written contract in place. Which is completely to any financial regulations any of us mere mortals has ever come across.

    Now to the main point of this story.

    In June of 2012, Heaphy decides he wants a particular individual appointed as an assistant director. Davani helpfully suggests a couple ways to get around the problem of AD posts being Councillor appointments, in which she would have to enlist the co-operation of Cllr Butt.

    Heaphy reminds Davani that Cllr Butt owes them one for their having made a director appointment not only without a Councillor-level interview but without any interview at all.

    Three months later, and 2 days after Heaphy's suspension, Davani shares this information with Ledden and Potts, without the slightest concern about revealing her own involvement (after all, Heaphy will be sunk and Davani will assume even greater power by taking his place as Cllr Butt's confidant).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All makes sense now Why Councillor Butt will not do anything about Ms Davani.

      Simply Solution, SINK BUTT on 22 May

      Delete
    2. What is interesting Davani in Tower Hamlets separated HR function and created HR function that eventually held a huge amount of power in who is Hired and Who is Fired, across all departments.

      This is clearly what has now been going on in Brent with HR becoming the power base.

      Each department now reports to Davani and this is what creates such a climate of fear as heads of service, department heads etc can't really go against Davani's decision, unless they also want to be shown the door.

      Delete
    3. Ok, so I've already concluded that the entire leadership at the council is rotten to the core and they all need to go.

      I did however hold out some hope for those elected by us, the public as it can't all be corrupt....can it?...

      However that hope too has now been lost. So when these people turned up, by chance, as assistant directors...did they not question, how did this come to be? Especially as NONE of these councillors weren't present at the interview?...tut tut tut....It's either corruption or stupidity.

      You thought you were all a law unto yourselves, YOU ALL HAVE GOT TO GO.....

      Delete
    4. On issues that could have major financial implications to Brent Council, surely Councillors heading a Department should be in attendance at these tribunal hearings ?

      Delete
    5. I remember Clive Heaphy Nan!

      Wasn't he suspended? Didn't he resign? Didn't he have a disciplinary? Wasn't he sacked?...or all of the above - in that order?

      Delete
    6. In response to anon 18 May 20:35. Err no not if Davani had her way. Also in response to Anon 19 May 07:17, you missed out the six figure pay off that was mentioned in the local press.











      Delete
  61. Democracy, eh? What does Cllr Butt have to say about this, and I wonder what Brent residents would think if they got wind of these shenanigans just days before Thursday's council elections? Would Brent Labour be sunk?

    ReplyDelete
  62. The fact that CD has a dog breeding business as well as a HR consultancy whilst working at Brent is of concern. She has directly engaged numerous people from her own consultancy firm to work in Brent which is poor management practice. As a result it is likely that Brent council Standing Orders in relation to procurement regulations have been breached and given the earnings of CD it is likely that EU regulations in relation to service contracts have also been breached.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. While granted EU regs can be problem at times

      However fact there are regulations and Brent seems to be turning a blind eye is very concerning.

      Particularly when a very high proportion of Senior Managers are not actually Brent Council Employees, but working via their own incorporated business.

      As Ms Davani points out in various documents to Council Members, the use of contracted staff helps balance the need to secure skilled staff at short notice.

      I would take that to mean say a month or 2 month period at most, to allow time to appoint a new member of staff. Ms Davani has now been in Brent for 2 years at very high cost to Brent tax payers.

      It is time she should go. I am sure given there are still high rates of unemployment, Brent could appoint 2 people each working a 5 day week. These 2 people would be more productive than Ms Davani and could still be cheaper than the excessive contract awarded to Ms Davani.

      Getting rid of these senior trumped up staff seems near impossible, given the outcry from so many people and no action by our Council Leaders.



      Delete
  63. That seems a good start. What about nan's account of the 3 changing their statements in court http://wembleymatters.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/victimisation-bullying-racial-and.html. Is there not evidence of conspiracy in all this?
    Who can take the legal action? How soon? What's the procedure?

    ReplyDelete
  64. This series of posts began by reporting that Nan Tewari had written to Eric Pickles on the matter of Davani's activities. It's now been at least 10 days. While Mr Pickles is a big man in a big job etc etc, would it be too much to expect his vaunted 'passion' for localism to express itself in some non-pie-related action in the next day or so.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly in the eyes from those above, little miss so and so is probably seen as an angel.

      Ie Getting rid of so call underperforming staff and replacing them with yes people who sit and do as they are told

      Delete
  65. Here's a question: WHO LINKS Bernard Collier (Candidate for Council Willesden Green) with
    Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets and star of a recent BBC Panorama.
    (Episode can be found here --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wO7-NomZjWQ)

    The Man is Shahidul Miah.

    Shahidul Miah formerly of Navigate Group London (www.navigategroup.co.uk) used to make a fortune through the advertisement of these 'consultants' and recruitment that was outsourced to Navigate.
    (http://www.navigategroup.co.uk/magazine/autumn2009/NavigateMagazine.pdf)

    Shahidul Miah now runs Bloomsbury Resourcing (http://www.bloomsburyresourcing.co.uk/)
    Which is being paid by Brent Council to advertise posts in a similar fashion. They are also on a retainer by Brent.

    Bernard Collier, a man with no previous experience in recruitment or marketing advertises himself on the internet as the Associate Director of Bloomsbury. You have to ask yourself what benefit is there of Shahidul Miah (Who has vast relevant experience) having Bernard on the payroll (apart from his links to the Brent Labour Executive).


    ReplyDelete
  66. Further to my last email about Shahidul Miah, his close links with Cara Davani AND Bernard Collier.


    The following can be found here
    (http://www.careers.ofsted.gov.uk/admin/uploaded/Final_Job_Spec_Director_Finance_FIN_SCS_2431.pdf)

    -------
    Your application and associated documents should be submitted by:
    • Email to: cara.davani@ofsted.gov.uk
    • Post to: Cara Davani, Ofsted, Aviation House, 125 Kingsway, London,
    WC2B 6SE
    You should clearly mark your application with the correct reference number
    FIN/SCS/2431.
    For details about the application process, please contact Shahidul Miah on 07581
    230171. If you are disabled and wish to discuss any aspect of the recruitment
    process please don’t hesitate to contact us.
    -----

    AND on this one we can see the links between Cara Devani and Lufer Rahman.
    (http://www.towerpower.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2013/02/Intouch-No-45-2013.pdf)

    Is the corruption at Tower Hamlets (as evidence by BBC Panorama) now being exported to Brent Council? Bernard Collier appears to be the link man at the moment. Wonder if he has any comments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. New Brent Communications Post being recruited by Bloomsbury Resources

      http://www.bloomsburyresourcing.co.uk/downloads/Brent%20Head%20of%20Communications.pdf

      Delete
    2. Lufer Rahman was lead member for Education in Tower Hamlets and would have been very close to Ms Gilbert and Ms Davani.

      Delete
    3. So is this the reason why there hasn't been a statement? I'd be surprised if anyone turned up...I've got an idea for an assesment...write a plan on how the council should deal with this because they haven't got a clue!!! ....

      So we have Bloomsbury Resourcing - led by Shahidul Miah - Davani's mate with the Associate Director being a Labour Candidate. Lotus HR - Yvonne Foster - Davani's mate. Mildred Phillips - Deputy Director and guess what...also Davani's mate.....

      Let's complete the quartet and add Ruth Philips... you guessed it - also Davani's mate....Anymore anyone?

      I'm sure that between them, with the amout of money they've stripped from this cash strapped council, they could give Richard Branson a run for his money. ...

      Delete
  67. This is disgusting. How can this we allowed to happen??!! Who is shielding these people?? How are they able to empty the public purse in this manner?:How are they able to treat people this way and get away with it??!! It amazes me that no one in authority has looked into this. Goodness knows what it must be like to work for this unscrupulous gang! Absolutely criminal!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. All the blame rests at Councillor Butts door and he is too proud or foolish to do anything about it !

      Delete
  68. In response to Anon 19 May 1401, we could add Sara Williams, interim in children and families,shunted upwards after the departure of director, Krutika Pau.

    ReplyDelete
  69. What about Andy Potts, Cara's mate? It is understood that he is her right hand man / partner who I understand Cara in time past had endorsed a nice fat pay rise for? Someone mentioned him before......... so it would appear people have got wind of this too................I think there is a conflict of interest in the inappropriate relationships being formed at Brent council (especially this type of relationship) and the bias this brings with legal cases and how people are drastically exited out of the council after having had a good long and credible service in their respective roles. Cases cannot be managed objectively if your managing them with your partner surely? Its totally inappropriate, Brent council is too cosy.... All these matters need to be investigated too Nan Tewari. There is a raft of issues and inappropriateness happening inside Brent since the commencement of Cara Davani's contract the evidence and the comments provided through all these blogs suggest it. Its quite disturbing really and so unfair for the staff who are subjected to this. I understand that employees are working in fear, spoken to without respect, belittled and disregarded, undermined and subject to threats of disciplinary action if they speak a word..... What decent HR Director treats their members of staff in this way? Why does a HR Director need to threaten their staff, if you have nothing to hide you would not need to make threats? I am very pleased that you have initiated this public blog Nan Tewari so that change can come about and staff can get justice. Its sad having read through the trail of comments that other senior managers have had to endure this at the expense of their jobs and long serving careers. It is disgraceful that other managers under Cara Davani's leadership have had to leave their jobs because of the bullying characteristics of Cara Davani and others have been unfairly dismissed. There hasn't been so much dismissals in Brent until now, is this not a sign of the characteristics of a bully and a unreasonable individual. There are so many blogs going around about this HR Director (I really wouldn't want to meet her, she sounds horrid). BRENT COUNCIL CAN YOU NOT SEE THERE IS A NEED TO INVESTIGATE AND GET A NEW HR DIRECTOR WITH INTEGRITY? Start with her and work your way through the rest of them....... she sounds like the worst of the worst though. For the sake of your reputation and for the sake of your staff and for the sake of the general public, tax payers do the right thing........ this is disgraceful. Absolutely distasteful! Appalling!

    ReplyDelete
  70. The poor staff in Brent it must be such a miserable place to work.....

    ReplyDelete
  71. @ the comment made above about changes to statements in court, how corrupt is that? I assume you are referring to a existing ET that they are currently involved in? Why would you need to change your statement if you were confident in your position? Clearly there is some conspiracy, their probably getting disheveled and unsteady. Is she suspended yet, what is the delay? How can Brent Council allow one person at senior level to stay in post with all these allegations against them? Isn't suspension necessary? They must be all in relationships together why this level of behaviour is being allowed. They are probably all having a meal right now or a telephone conference from their kennels deciphering a plan. Terrible! Waste of council tax payers money.

    ReplyDelete
  72. @Nan, is Eric Pickles taking this investigation forward or not? What is the latest. I live and work in the borough of Brent and I am not happy that all of this is happening under residents noses. I want to know what action is going to be taken please and when? This is not what I expect as a resident of Brent. Please push this forward and do not let them weigh you down or exhaust you, fight this battle until the end and keep this blog going this is the only forum for members of the public and frightened staff to express themselves and keep the world informed. Thank you Nan, thank you so very much.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Nan Tewari may be you should seriously consider writing to BBC Panorama, the wider public deserve to know what is happening inside the closed doors of the Civic Centre in their Penthouse suites. Panorama was filming recently on the welfare reforms. Their familiar with Brent Council, perhaps you should suggest they return. Moreover you should also consider getting HMRC involved. Seriously

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Now that this is all out in the open and we all know about the corrupt practices going on in the council. The cloud of secrecy and lies has been lifted. Each of us has a responsibility, moral and public duty to do something about it and take a stand.

      It's our money paying for this and we deserve elected councillors and senior leaders who have the public's best interest at heart, Not their own. .

      We can all contact BBC Panorama and vote for a party with integrity on Thursday.






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  74. It is obvious from all the comments made, that there are alot of staff who are unhappy about the situation, but are we really achieving anything by this blog?

    How is this going to be resolved and who is going to take the lead? As it appears that no one is going to come forward as everything fears losing their job?
    Eric Pickles has not done anything, so who is?

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  75. Does this HR Director have a conscience? how do these people sleep at night? how do colleagues work under such regime? how do brent councillors allow this? How do brent residents feel? How do brent existing staff feel? How do those that were terribly victimized feel, how do those who escaped the institution feel? How do tax payers feel? I feel let down by the system. Its a pretty sad state of affairs. But well done to Nan Tewari for raising it even though its very tragic to read all that is happening in Brent Council at this present time.

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  76. Dear readers and contributors,

    I most emphatically will not allow this matter to disappear into oblivion - too many people are suffering at the hands of these scoundrels. I did receive an acknowledgement from the office of Eric Pickles on 9th May as I reported here. Having not heard further, I am assuming that the Rt Hon EP is waiting until after the local elections.

    I will therefore follow this up on Monday 26th next week. My follow-up letter next week to Eric Pickles will contain more of the information that has been revealed since this started. In view of the degree of public interest I will, with Martin's permission, post the text of the letter onto this blog below.


    To: The Right Honourable Eric Pickles MP Date: 6th May 2014
    Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric.Pickles@communities.gsi.gov.uk

    Re: Open letter to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government regarding whistleblowing concerns raised by Brent Council staff about:
    (a) the alleged fraud committed by the Brent Council Director of HR and
    (b) the inadequacy of the Internal Audit investigation of the allegations and
    (c) Brent Council having made a false statement to an Employment Tribunal

    (1) I am writing to ask you to investigate whistleblowing concerns raised by Brent Council staff who have seen colleagues lose their jobs for speaking out against malpractice. As I used to work for the council, am a former trade union representative and senior HR and governance practitioner, am active in the civic life of Brent and am known to a great many Brent staff, they have raised their concerns with me. Since I also make mention of an employment tribunal case in this letter, I should point out that I have worked with the claimant concerned (this is said for the sake of transparency).

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  77. An allegation against the Director of HR, Cara Davani, was made by Human Resources department staff to their Executive Director, Phil Newby, in 2012 whilst Ms Davani was interim Head of HR. Staff alleged that Ms Davani was making improper use of a council-issued Oyster card for home to work travel. Mr Newby took no action. When eventually the internal audit investigators did look into the matter, they ignored the evidence in front of them and arrived at a weak-kneed 'conclusion' that it would be sufficient for the money to be paid back and the Oyster card to be returned.

    (2) More than a year ago I had drawn these allegations to the attention of the leader of the council, Cllr Mohamed Butt, the independent chair of the council's audit committee and the district auditor. Cllr Butt replied that the matter was being investigated. Although I had not written to the interim Chief Executive, Christine Gilbert (former head of Ofsted) I can hardly believe that she would not have known what was happening to the council's senior-most HR adviser.

    Now after more than a year later, it appears that there is only a draft internal audit report of the investigation in existence. Why was the report never finalised? Might it be because the treatment of Ms Davani has been unduly lenient in comparison with others and would therefore not stand up to scrutiny? The audit committee minutes of March 13 notes that it was highlighted that 18 cases of internal fraud were found, resulting in five dismissals and 10 resignations before action could be taken. Ms Davani presides over, and advises on these very disciplinary and dismissal cases and it is difficult to see how her position can remain tenable given what she has done. She is at the head of the council's workforce and as such must be an exemplar of the highest standards of behaviour expected of every person employed to work in the council or provide services to it.

    The evidence given by Ms Davani to the investigation does not stack up and it contains several inconsistencies, yet internal audit has ignored them all and has instead ascribed the home to work usage to a misunderstanding between herself and her manager. If the money had to be repaid then this points an act of impropriety having been committed. Are Christine Gilbert and Cllr Butt are in charge of a particularly incompetent set of internal audit investigators?

    Ms Davani was employed directly by the council and not through an intermediary agency, therefore she received the entire fee agreed with her. The rate agreed was set at £700 per day all inclusive, some £50 to £100 over the going rate, and was for a 4 day week one of which would be worked from home where she also ran a business. Ms Davani took the opportunity to start claiming home to work travel on the Oyster card when the manager who had engaged her services had left the council. Internal audit did not explore why, despite having an already very favourable set of terms, she then took the opportunity of altering them even more to her advantage.

    Ms Davani specifically stated to internal audit that her (renewed) contract permitted her to claim reasonable work expenses. Internal audit was unable to find any such clause in her contract. She then tried to cover this mistake by claiming that she signed the wrong pro-forma contract and that she was covered because she had made a verbal agreement on home to work travel with her (new) manager, Phil Newby. Her manager vehemently denied this although he was not prepared to sign a statement to this effect. It is possible that Mr Newby felt apprehensive about dropping Ms Davani in it, given that he had failed to refer the matter to internal audit when it had been brought to his attention, and he instead dismissed the concerns (of the mainly black staff) as malicious.

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  78. (3) Ms Davani has managed to make a witness statement to an Employment Tribunal saying that internal audit had exonerated her use of the Oyster card as it has been approved by Phil Newby. The draft report does not say this anywhere. As it is patently untrue, this could be classed as a perjured statement.

    Not to be left out, Brent Council itself got in on the act by making a matching statement to the Tribunal, saying that Mr Newby had authorised Ms Davani's use of the card. In fact Mr Newby, in his internal audit evidence, specifically said that at no point had he agreed to such use. The council's Respondent statement names its principal employment lawyer, Andrew Potts, as the contact for the case. Mr Potts is the partner of Ms Davani so there would be an obvious issue of conflict of interest amongst other things.

    (4) There is further detail available that may not be of immediate relevance so I have not included it. This detail contains many more instances of evidence in the draft internal audit investigation report that go unacknowledged or are completely ignored in the light of its 'conclusion'.

    The main point at issue here is that neither the leader of the council nor the interim chief executive, Christine Gilbert, appears to have any control over what senior staff are getting up to, nor does there seem to be any means of holding said senior staff to account. An entire council is actively fostering the fraud and lying committed by a single officer of questionable integrity: Ms Davani ought to have had her interim contract terminated as has happened to other contractors. Instead, I am told that, Ms Davani was appointed to the permanent role of Director of HR outside the rules of open competition, i.e. the post was not advertised; and furthermore no one bothered at the time of her appointment, to check on what had happened to the internal audit investigation.

    There are all the ingredients here of an airport blockbuster combining, cronyism, conflict of interest, underhand behaviour at senior-most levels, sex, manufacturing of evidence, racism and sheer greed. This is a scandal and an unashamed affront to the council tax payers who place their trust in their elected representatives and highly paid officials to conduct themselves and council business in accordance with the Nolan principles governing conduct in public life.

    Nan Tewari

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    1. Excellent, Nan! Brilliant work. Principled, painstakingly thorough and (Kerry Blue) terrier-like in tenacity.
      And what an education in the power and urgency of direct collective action compared with expecting anything honest, candid or meaningful from the compromised old harlots of the main political parties. Ant thanks again to Martin for the forum, the knowledge and the energy.
      Mike Hine

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    2. Mr Hine, your comment put me in mind of what Ravi wrote in his reply
      Anonymous14 May 2014 13:52 to the comment of Anonymous13 May 2014 23:36 in the

      Tuesday, 13 May 2014 story: Brent not commenting on Tewari allegations as Wembley Matters refuses to pull Audit Report

      "A French reporter once commented that, a nation of sheep will inevitably beget a government of wolves. Being pack animals - and particularly voracious ones at that - it is hardly surprising that wolves are likely to congratulate one another and agree among themselves that their particular practices, constitute the best of all possible worlds."

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    3. The French are good on sheep analogies. In WW1, when the next batch of infantry was being marched up to be slaughtered at the front at Verdun, the eeriest sound apparently was that of the French troops crying in unison as they marched, 'baaa, baaa'.

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  79. Cara Devani was employed as an Interim HR manager at a cost to the council of £700.00 for four days work each week. She was reported several times to Brent Audit Committee for the misuse of her Oyster Card yet no action was taken about this and it was dismissed by her boss as a 'malicious allegation'. Finally when an investigation did commence Miss Devani dissembled when she said that the Oyster card usage was authorised as part of her contract and did this again when she could not produce a contract to confirm this. Her then manager Phil Newby said in his statement that he had not authorised her Oyster card usage but he was not prepared to go on record to state this. He has since left the council with a massive payoff - despite being earlier suspended for gross misconduct. Ms Devani paid the money back but was not suspended whilst the matter was being investigated as happens to other non white staff accused of fraud. Cara Devani in her role went about systematically getting rid of the Brent staff in permanent posts and brought in a team of her friends (from Tower Hamlets/Ofsted - Mildred Phillips, Dr Yvonne Foster, Shahidul Miah on Agency contracts at the cost of tens if not hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Brent tax payer; whilst Brent staff were being disciplined, forced to resign or dismissed - especially if they spoke out against this. When will someone anyone do something about joint enterprise in Brent CMT????

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    1. Agree entirely. I posted before with the same question but calling it conspiracy. Since discovered my legal knowledge was about 15 years out of date. The principle still holds however, doesn't it? Someone out there must know; or are they all selling their knowledge to the other side?

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  80. Martin, don't you have duty of care to report this to BBC Panorama or the local press? I believe a lot evidence has been posted but been removed. Surely this evidence should help a news reporter to investigate further?

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    Replies
    1. Apart from editing the word file in the initial posting to concentrate on the Audit Report rather than the several pages of emails that preceded it, I have not removed any postings. One problem is that some comments name alleged victims without their permission and I do not want their lives made even more difficult in the future in terms of getting work etc than they are already. If the victims themselves want to make a statement, and I am sure some have posted as Anon, that is a different matter.

      The Green Party press release calling for a public investigation, with links to coverage on this blog, has been sent to both local papers and the Evening Standard. I understand that readers have also sent links to the blog to Private Eye.

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  81. Is it just me or does anyone else see the parallel with the ex-Culture Secretary, Maria Miller's fiddling of expenses?

    However, whilst both Maria Miller & Cara Davani were ordered to pay back monies fiddled, the former apologised (albeit begrudgingly) AND resigned! I've read Brent's audit report a number of times now (see Martin Francis' linked blog 08/05/14 for redacted report), and there's no whiff of an apology there from Cara Davani....the arrogance of the woman!

    Well, perhaps we can keep our fingers crossed for a resignation, BEFORE the local elections! Anyone think Cara Davani has enough emotional intelligence to concede as Maria Miller did in her resignation letter to Mr Cameron...(this controversy)... "has become a distraction from the vital work this Government is doing?"
    Do the honourable thing Ms Davani and resign!

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  82. What about the other consultants brought in Cara who work in other departments,some of these people are on the payroll now but there is no real post for them and yet they appear to have the POWER to do restructures and to sack people. Everyone is asking for Cara to be dismissed but rumour has it that one consultant in particular will replace Cara and she is as ruthless as Cara. So is it the old saying 'Out of the pan and into the fire?'

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  83. I think there are far more serious things going on under the control of the power crazed Ms Davani. More worrying than Fraud and Bullying is the fact she is dictating the levels of locum Social Workers in Children's Services. As with all other authorities in the country we can not get enough experienced social workers into these hard to fill roles, so rely on experienced Locums.

    Apparently as a result of Ms Davani refusing to sign off the extention of such workers caseloads per Social Workers in Child Protection have increased. These dangerous increases have led to several perminent and locum Social Workers leaving our service. Who is Ms Davani to enforce staffing levels in a statutary service, which she should have no control over.

    Ms Davani clearly has no understanding of the importance of Child Protection services and would clearly rather carry on with her vendetta and power struggle agains our managers in Children's Services, rather than show some caring and understanding for the lives of vulnerable children.

    She probably doesn't care about the impact on vulnerable children in Brent. If something goes wrong she will probably not care and point fingers at our managers, thinking again that she has won. Shame on you Ms Davani. You are hindering the progress of so much that is valuable to those of us who care about the vulnerable people we are here to serve.

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    Replies
    1. If something goes wrong, Davani will be first in line to bring in one of her associates to 'investigate'. The social worker concerned will be hung out to dry despite their having been overburdened in the first place.

      We saw this in the Jasmine Beckford case in Brent in the 1980s.

      This same pattern is also in evidence in Adult Social Care where the people who actually do the REAL work are in short supply and the management levels seem much better resourced.

      I gather too, that there are cuts being made in the number of Health and Safety officers by Davani. I imagine the service will be privatised and another company with competence to rival that of Deloitte's (They of the Bungled Oystergate Investigation) will be brought in to ensure the safety and health of us all.

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  84. It's unreal that nothing has been done about this within Brent Council. I don't know how such serious allegations do not result in an immediate suspension of the HR Director. How can she continue working with all these allegations.

    Normal procedure in this situation is to remove the person yo prevent them tampering with potential evidence and speaking to others in the workplace.

    What are the trade union representatives at Brent Council doing. They need to take this to thr Branch secretary or union chair person to raise it. There is no way anyone else with these allegations would not be suspended.

    How can they justify fair treatment. It goes against all principles. Do hypocritical.

    Are all Brent councilors aware of what is going on?

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  85. Spot on hypocrisy pure and simple. How does one work under a Director who has such allegations against them. It's so unfair. You couldn't write a story like this, honestly, its unbelievable. Surely current trade union representatives should be on the case and take this very serious matter as far as possible. Get an investigation underway and let's have the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    For the current council leader, who sits by and does nothing about the allegations (like suspending the HR Director), one can only draw the conclusion that he is involved in some form of wrong doing, otherwise something would have been done by now.

    Brent residents must unite on this issue and take this as high up in the labour party as is necessary to get answers. Suspend the accused and conduct a full scale independent investigation now. We want action and we want it now. Nothing less than a full independent investigation will do.

    Allowing someone to remain in post, will allow them to destroy evidence, fabricate evidence and give a chance to interfere with potential witnesses. How can this whole big mess be justified? Can we get answers from all other labour councillors please, please and one more for good measure, please. Is this what our taxes are going towards? Where are we with getting this to Panorama?

    Keep these blogs going and spread the word. We need answers and action, NOW.

    S. Gee

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  86. Very accurately put Nan.

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  87. I am absolutley astonished that another week has gone by and nothing has been done - no investigations, no suspensions, no comments from the Council or the Leader !!!
    Cara Davani, Mildred Philips and company are going about their daily business as if nothing is wrong and actually smirking! Ms Phillips is actually gloating and It turns my stomach!

    It is a disgrace and a slap in the face to everyone who has been mistreated and also to the public. The lack of ANY action by the Leader and the rest of the Councillors shows that no one matters apart from those they are protecting.

    Members of staff in the HR Department actually believe nothing will happen to these people and they might just be right - what more needs to be done or who else needs to be approached for something to happen??!!!

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  88. I have written a follow-up letter to the Rt Hon Eric Pickles this evening.


    Further to my letter to you of 6th May 2014 I am following this up with further information that has since come to light.

    These matters are attracting considerable local public concern (which can be read online at Wembley Matters) and I hope that you will feel able to address the issues by ordering a thorough-going investigation.

    I have been sent a copy of an e-mail exchange between former director of finance, Clive Heaphy and interim head of /director of HR, Cara Davani during June 2012. This exchange makes it clear that Mr Heaphy wishes to appoint a particular individual to a role in his team and that Ms Davani is looking for ways around the fact that the role concerned is assistant director level and therefore a member appointment. Ms Davani further states that she will need the co-operation of the leader of the council, Cllr Butt to circumvent the procedure. Mr Heaphy reminds Ms Davani that “Mo [Cllr Butt] owes us one as well” for having “got [name] into a non-establishment Director post without member or indeed any interview”.
    The mere fact that these two individuals committed their thoughts to e-mail is a demonstration of just how unassailable they felt themselves to be. Presumably, they must have believed that a close association with the leader of council was sufficient to give them licence to over-ride the specific authorities laid down in the council's scheme of delegation and its standing orders thus leading them into having acted ultra vires.

    Nan Tewari

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  89. Automated response received from Communities and Local Government today at 7:05 PM.


    This email confirms that we have received your email to DCLG. We will aim to respond to you within 15 working days, however due to an increase in correspondence being received we may not be able to meet this deadline so please bear with us.

    Many thanks

    DCLG Correspondence Team

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  90. Thank you Nan - I cannot believe that you have yet to receive a formal response which contains action. This is NOT going to go away and there is NOT going to be a return to business as usual. The sooner they all realise the better.

    They will all be called to account for their actions. 14 days and counting!

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  91. I am new to this topic and am grateful to Martin Francis and all the brave people who are providing this material. What was being said to make the Brent electorate so tolerant of the inept Labour Councillors and their pack of overpaid officers? Are they all masochistic? Somebody please enlighten me.
    JLGordon

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  92. Why has everything gone quiet?

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  93. Hopefully it's the calm before the storm.....

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  94. No response yet

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