Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I get to speak to a Brent Council meeting!

For the record. after the Full Council deputation debacle that required 5 full working days notice for a deputation, I emailed Brent Council last night at 2 minutes to 5 asking to speak at Scrutiny Committee that evening.  Scrutiny begins at 7pm.

I was granted permission by the Chair  and spoke to the Committee about the Task Force being set up to investigate the use of the Pupil Premium in Brent schools.

All a bit mystifying.


  1. We used to call that sort of thing 'repressive tolerance', Martin!
    Mike Hine

  2. Don't be fooled, Martin. We used to call that sort of thing 'repressive tolerance'!
    Mike Hine

  3. No I'm not fooled at all Mike, just amused and not a little bemused. Especially as Christine Gilbert was part of the meeting.

  4. The key difference between Martin's treatment at the Full Council meeting and the Scrutiny Committee meeting comes in Martin's statement 'I was granted permission by the Chair' (to speak).

    As part of my email correspondence in support of Martin's request to speak as "a deputation" at the Full Council meeting on 8 September, I wrote to the Mayor, Cllr. Kana Naheerathan, on Saturday 6 September, asking him as Chair of the Full Council meeting to allow Martin to present his deputation to the meeting on Monday evening if there was a spare slot at this item on the agenda, whether or not Fiona Ledden had accepted Martin's request to speak. The Mayor replied to me early on the Monday afternoon, saying that as the Director of Legal and Procurement was already involved, it would be inappropriate for him to comment further.

    At the meeting itself, when item 6 on the agenda came up, the Mayor told the Council, and the public (both present and watching online), 'There are no deputations', despite the fact that he, Fiona Ledden (sitting beside him) and the Leader of the Council, Cllr. Muhammed Butt, were fully aware that there had been a request to speak as a deputation by Martin, in accordance with an invitation issued by Brent Council itself (whether this was issued "in error" or not, it was issued in good faith and responded to in the same fashion, five and a half working days before the Council meeting).

    Fiona Ledden has written to me today, in respect of the Mayor's statement, admitting that 'it would have been more helpful to add [a] clarification to his statement that no deputations had been received,' making clear that 'no deputations had been received in accordance with the time limits required in the constitution.' She still claims, however, that the Mayor's statement to Council 'was technically correct'.

    The Mayor's statement, as it was actually made, was misleading and inaccurate, and almost certainly prepared for him by Ms Ledden or one of her staff. Even if the Council's Constitution and Standing Orders require that five clear working days notice should be given of a request for a deputation, would anyone (other than Ms Ledden and Cllr. Butt) have objected if the Mayor, as Chair of the Full Council meeting, had granted Martin permission to present his five minute deputation, especially as there were no other requests to be heard in this fifteen minute "dedicated section" of the meeting's agenda?

    I would suggest that there might be a case for saying that Ms Ledden and Cllr. Butt have brought the Council into disrepute by their actions, and may also have brought the role of the Mayor into disrepute in causing him to make a misleading statement to members of the Council (although at least some of them were already aware of Martin's request through reading about it on "Wembley Matters", even if only one of them raised the point in response to the misleading statement).

    I don't think that this matter has been resolved yet!
    Philip Grant.