Sunday, 28 September 2014

Did Senior Brent Council officers allow Cara Davani to continue her victimisation of council worker?

With Philip Grant's permission, I am re-posting comments which he has made on the Kilburn Times website, in response to Brent's decision to appeal against the employment tribunal judgement. LINK

Comments made by Philip Grant in response to the online Brent & Kilburn Times story about Brent’s appeal against the employment tribunal appeal decision:
1.  I agree that Brent Council should not be appealing against the Employment Tribunal judgement. An appeal can only be taken on points of law, and cannot overturn the tribunal’s findings of fact, unless no reasonable person could have made those findings on the basis of the evidence before them. The tribunal had very clear evidence, which it set out fully in the judgement, to show that Rosemarie Clarke was victimised by Cara Davani, as a direct result of having made a formal complaint about being bullied by her, and that other senior officers in the Council did not do what they should have done to protect Rosemarie from that bullying and victimisation. 
Even if Brent was to win an appeal, on some legal technicality, against being found guilty of “racial discrimination” as an aggravating feature in its victimisation of a former employee (who for years had played a key part in raising Brent’s status as an “Investor in People”), that victimisation remains a proven fact. By appealing against the tribunal judgement, rather than taking Ms Davani’s actions of ‘victimisation, harassment or bullying extremely seriously’ as it claims it does with all such allegations in its statement, Brent Council is continuing its victimisation of Rosemarie Clarke. 
The Council thinks that its deep pockets will allow it to pay the fees of top barristers to present its appeal, and make no mistake, we are talking of fees and costs well into six figures here. But the money in those ‘deep pockets’ is your money and mine, from Council Tax and Income Tax, every pound of which is needed to provide services for people in Brent. It should certainly not be spent on trying to cover up the actions and protect the reputation of Brent’s Director of Human Resources, Cara Davani.
2. This may seem strange, coming from someone who has criticised Brent’s handling of the Rosemarie Clarke employment tribunal case, but it is possible that her victimisation by senior Brent Council officers was not a result of racial discrimination. If that is the case, why does the tribunal judgement, at para.313, say: ‘The tribunal finds that the claimant has suffered discrimination on the protected characteristic of race, victimisation and was constructively dismissed’?
Evidence showed that a senior white male employee, who had been suspended by Brent for alleged gross misconduct in 2012, had the disciplinary proceedings against him dropped after he resigned. Rosemarie, a black female employee, had resigned in April 2013 after being suspended by Brent at the end of February, but the Council carried on with the disciplinary proceedings, finding her guilty (in her absence, and after she had left their employment) of gross misconduct on 31 July 2013. As it had been proved to the tribunal that there was a distinction between the Brent’s treatment of the two comparable cases, it was then up to the Council to show a valid reason for the difference.
Brent could not show a valid reason for the difference. Brent gave ‘an account as to why disciplinary action was not pursued against Mr H after his resignation, being as to his professional relationship with [an] accountancy body, having implications on his ability to work in the future’. The tribunal said that ‘this does not account for the reason why action was continued against [Ms Clarke] so as to offer an explanation showing that race was not in issue, the continuation and conclusion of disciplinary action having similar employment consequences for both parties.’ In these circumstances, the tribunal found that Rosemarie ‘was less favourably treated because of her race …’ to be ‘… proved on the failure of [Brent Council] to show that race was not a consideration.’ (Paras. 249 and 250 of the judgement). 
Brent Council has been “found guilty” of racial discrimination in this case, and wants to clear its name. If race did not play a part in the decision to continue disciplinary action against Rosemarie Clarke after she had resigned, what was the reason for the decision, and who made it? Here is what the tribunal judgement says at para. 240:
‘With regards to the decision being taken to pursue disciplinary action against the claimant, following the termination of her employment, the respondents [Brent Council and Cara Davani] have been unable to state by whom or when that decision was made. Indeed, by the evidence before the tribunal a decision was taken following a meeting between Ms Cleary [a Brent HR Manager] and Ms Ledden [Brent’s Legal Director]. In her oral evidence, Ms Ledden confirmed that Ms Cleary’s role at the meeting was an advisory one only, but also that she, Ms Ledden, had not made the decision either. Ms Ledden could not identify who had made the decision.’
The tribunal clearly found the evidence reported here scarcely credible, as any reasonable person would. Despite claiming not to know who had made such an important decision, Brent’s most senior legal officer chaired the meeting on 31 July 2013 which implemented that decision, and found Rosemarie “guilty” of gross misconduct. What was the “misconduct” which she had been suspended for? The letter to her on 26 February 2013, supposedly written by the Director of her department, but emailed to her by Cara Davani, said: ‘It has been alleged that you maybe liable for gross misconduct in respect of your failure to follow reasonable management instructions.’ The ‘instructions’ had been given by Ms Davani, who Ms Clarke had lodged a formal complaint against for bullying, and the tribunal found that they had not been ‘reasonable’.
So, what was the reason why Brent Council victimised Rosemarie Clarke? I don’t know Ms Clarke, and was not involved in any of what happened at the Council over this matter at the time, but based on the very detailed evidence set out in the Employment Tribunal judgement this is my opinion. 
·      The primary reason appears to be the personal animosity of Cara Davani, after Rosemarie Clarke had the courage to complain in December 2012 about the bullying and harassment she felt she was receiving from her line manager. 
·      Rather than protecting Rosemarie in this situation, as Brent’s HR procedures set out that they should, other Senior Officers at the Council (up to, and including, the Chief Executive) did not follow those procedures, and allowed Cara Davani to continue her victimisation.
·      When, in June 2013, Rosemarie made a claim against Brent Council to the Employment Tribunal, Ms Davani and the other officers involved (probably including Brent’s Senior Employment Lawyer, who, it appears, is also Ms Davani’s partner) were determined to do all they could to undermine that claim.
·      One way they saw of doing this was to carry on with the “gross misconduct” proceedings, even after Rosemarie had left Brent’s employment, so that they could claim that she would have been sacked, even if she had not resigned.
·      Alternatively, or in addition to this, the continuation of the disciplinary action was a result of Ms Davani’s personal wish to do as much damage as possible to Rosemarie’s future employment prospects, by ensuring that any “reference” she was given by Brent would say that she had been found guilty of gross misconduct during her employment with the Council.
If I am right, then Brent Council would do better to admit the real reason, and make clear that it was not guilty of racial discrimination by taking strong and appropriate action against the Senior Officers who were responsible for Rosemarie’s victimisation, and by ensuring that Rosemarie is properly compensated for the harm she has suffered at the hands of those Officers.


  1. And why was Simon Lane, head of Brent's Audit and Investigation Unit, passed over by Brent Council for a Brent Police award earlier this year? Senior officer Andy Donald has confirmed that Mr Lane remains head of the A&I Unit, so why was the award given to a Dave Verma instead? Cllr Butt has refused to answer this question for months.

    1. Sorry, but for those who don't know the individuals involved, could you say why this is relevant to Davani/Ledden/Butt and the racism/victimisation verdict, please?

    2. Anyone else able to help?

  2. Aren't Brent Police Awards the personal gift of the Borough Commander, who is not part of Brent Council?

  3. Possibly a reference to the Audit and Investigation Unit's investigation into Cara Davani's misuse of a council Oyster card

    1. Thanks, Martin. So Simon Lane wasn't snubbed on racial grounds but simply for doing his job (and for not realising that ignoring the petty criminality of your betters was part of it).

    2. I leave readers to draw their own conclusions.

    3. Surprised he's still there it's only a matter of time before Davani finds an exit route for him.

  4. Philip
    This is brilliant and deserves to get more of an acknowledgement from BKT than it's going to get in their cramped little comment boxes. It's a response to a comment from an earlier post (from me) so a few bits which reflect this need amending. If BKT realise the significance of the points from the judgement which you have clarified and explained brilliantly the importance of, then they owe it to their readers to give it prominence in their print edition (if not further) and to pursue it further with Brent council (if not further).
    Mike Hine

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you Philip!!! Never a truer word spoken!!! Regarding your final point, it was definitely in addition to rather than alternatively.

  6. Amazing................Philip Grant you have got it so right. Thank you so much. WE can't let this get out of the news. Brent Council senior officers evidently failed to protect R.Clarke, so why bother appealing when you (MB, FL, CG) all know the truth. In these situations all involved likely connived to get RC out of Brent and knowing she would not want a dismissal on her record, because the outcome would have been a foregone conclusion she resigned.

    Miss. Anon

    If only this whole disgraceful matter could get wider publicity than the borough of Brent. CD probably could not believe the cheek of RC to dare complain about her and decided she had to go. Failing to obey management instructions are very rarely gross misconduct, unless that failure has serious implications such as safeguarding issues.

    on racial thoughts are if CD doesn't like you, you've had it. I don't believe that race played a part in this at all. However, bearing in mind how much black people have been discriminated and continue to be, CD should have predicted and been aware this protected characteristic would be raised in an ET claim along with the victimisation and bullying.

    In any other organisation, a full and proper grievance investigation into RC's claims would have taken place. Clearly this never happened in Brent. CD had too many high people to flank and protect, so RC never stood a chance.

  7. Did Senior Brent Council officers allow Cara Davani to continue her victimisation of council worker?

    Absolutely they did 100%. The fact that they are appealing says it all.

    So, did the disciplinary proceedings only begin after RC raised her complaint?
    If so, that in itself is very poor.

    RC never stood a chance after the complaint. Next thing would have been to formulate an exit strategy for her.

  8. I am awe-struck by your accurate analysis of the case, Philip; you could practically have been in the courtroom!

    Of course had you been present, you would have seen Ledden being sent out bu the judge to consider her answer to question of who made the disciplinary decision. On her return to the courtroom, Ledden tried to pin the responsibility on Ms Cleary, the HR Manager who was there in an advisory capacity.

    Had you been present you would also have seen both Davani and Ledden going through their witness statements and changing them WHILE ON THE WITNESS STAND. A witness statement has the same force of law as a verbal statement in court, i.e. if you lie, then it is perjury.

    On the perjury issue, in my letter to Eric Pickles of 7th May, I stated as follows:
    "Ms Davani has also submitted in a witness statement to an Employment Tribunal that internal audit had exonerated her use of the Oyster card as it has been approved by Phil Newby. This is patently untrue and could therefore be classed as a perjured statement.

    Not to be left out, Brent Council itself got in on the act by telling the Tribunal that Mr Newby had authorised Ms Davani's use of the card when in fact Mr Newby in his internal audit evidence said that at no point had he agreed to such use. There would be the question of who drafted the council's Respondent statement. Might it have been the council's principal employment lawyer, Andrew Potts, who is the partner of Cara Davani?"

    1. Yes

      What is the involvement of Mr Potts ?

      This all smacks of a huge cover-up job to protect All at the Top !

      They simply can't get away with it.

      What are the elected Councillor's doing ?

      So far absolutely nothing.

      It is now very sad Labour won such a majority when Brent Council is now not held to public account.

  9. Fiona Ledden should step down immediately. She seem to have forgotten the position she holds is to ensure that the council's duties are fulfilled to the letter of the law and not to protect the council and be part of any conspiracy.

  10. The council executive especially Fiona Ledden should hang their heads in shame and resign their handsomely paid jobs with immediate effect. In her role as Democratic Services Manager she should be beyond reproach as she is the person delegated to make sure that Brent follows all its legal obligations to its staff, residents and the general public. As with this case and others which she has consistently failed to investigate wrongdoing she has no right to be in her position for which we pay to employ her handsomely.

  11. Not sure who phillip grant is ? But he has it spot on .This posting should be emailed to all at brent council involved in this case and then surely they will see sense

  12. Did Senior Brent Council officers allow Cara Davani to continue her victimisation of council worker?  Yes, one of whom was securing his exit package so he wouldn't want to upset Davani now would he.

  13. The irony is that Brent Council takes ordinary people to court for unpaid Council Tax or brings in the Bailiffs for parking fines.

    And yet when a senior employ does wrong we bend over backwards to clear their name.

    Priorities are so upside down.

    Ms Davani does not even live close to the Borough, so why protect her ?

    1. Regardless if Davani lives in the borough or not if it were one of us mere mortals we would've been sacked. Why should tax payers have to pay for an appeal whilst at the same time face cuts to services?

    2. She's protected because 'Mo owes her one'. In reference to her assistance in getting some one in without going trough the correct process.

      Too many favours owed it seems.

    3. The only way for justice is mass Council Tax revolt.

      Why should Brent Council Tax payers foot the bill and suffer service cuts to clear Ms Davani's with highly priced lawyers ?

      If everyone revolted and voted with their refusal to pay Council Tax this might be the only way of Brent Council removing Ms Davani.

  14. The decision to continue disciplinary proceedings would have been CD's, but others carried out those instructions. Panel members who would reach the desired outcome would have been selected. The tribunal saw through the lies and made a judgement on the lack of plausable explanations.

    Rather than confirm who made the decision Ms Ledden develops amnesia so she can continue the cover up.

    A lesson you give to children. Don't tell lies, because you have to tell more and more lies to cover up the last ones.

    CD probably couldn't believe the nerve of this black female taking her to task and decided she (Rosemary) would regret ever making a complaint by tarnishing her name to add insult to injury. As if bullying and harassment wasn't enough.

    Brent senior officers assisted Ms Davani in pursuing her vendetta against the claimant. Meetings behind closed doors would have sealed her fate.

    Putting the racial discrimination to one do Brent Council and their legal team defend Ms Davanis treatment of the claimant? They really can't. Hence they cannot conduct an independent investigation. This judgement has tarnished Brent Council. Is it really worth it?

    Too many senior officers have done wrong and they know it. I would hate for my family to Google my name and see it associated with bullying, victimisation and corruption. You all have to live with the lies you have told.

    Shame on you all. Do the honorable thing and hang up your boots. What a sorry state of affairs in the public sector. Tax payers money going on a pointless appeal for the hell of it. Trying to save face that's all.


  15. The only heartening thing in this whole sordid story is that most of the comments here are expressions of people's dismay at the unfairness, injustice, immorality and corruption displayed by their 'betters'. It's a reminder that most people's ethical standards are still pretty much intact and way higher than those of the grubby bunch of tossers who rule their lives. That's heartening and shows just what potential there is among ordinary people, unsullied by greed, notions of entitlement, self-interested 'career trajectories' and such like. The trouble is that those scummier traits seem to produce the 'qualities' which lead to those people dominating the positions of power in most of the organisations in our kind of society. In Brent, as elsewhere it seems, scum rises.
    In this case, however, I have the feeling that, if the momentum that's been started is kept up, having boiled down the chicken bones to bring out the goodness, we might be able to spoon off the scum, flush it away, and be left with the good, wholesome stock.

    1. So very true.

      We all can see the truth apart from our rulers.

  16. I heard the full judgement of the tribunal outcome had been published on one of these blogs. Can anyone point me to it please?

  17. Just reading through the full tribunal judgement. Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The behaviour of the Chief Exec is scary in all this. Then Ms Philips doing the investigation, what a predictable outcome. She's way too close to CD to have done this. it was a done deal. Further allegations added following her suspension. How awful. It's time to come up with an exit strategy for a few senior officers in Brent Council.

  18. Edited comment received from Anon: Dated May 2014 - well after the chief exec had been in interim post for more than 12 months - Brent issues policy telling downtrodden and bullied managers that they will be disciplined if they take on agency staff for more than 12 weeks, and an interim manager for more than 12 months. The hypocrisy of our Chief Exec is staggering.

    Butt is now ...

    - Leader
    - Lead member for Environment
    - Chair of Highways Committee and
    - Treasurer of the Labour Party

    (Can anyone give me a link to the policy document? Martin)

    1. Seems like an awful lot of power for one person and is very dangerous. Without external intervention Brent Council is only going one and that isn't up.

    2. I assume Cllr Butt is covering all these positions because he wants to avoid appointing interim cover..........

    3. More like he only wants to answer to himself.