Thursday 9 October 2014

Pavey Review won't address the real issues at Brent Council

On Tuesday Brent Council issued a statement expanding on the Pavey Review of Human Resources at Brent Council following the Employment Tribunal.  I reproduce it below for your information.

I am afraid that the review completely fails to recognise and address the seriousness of the allegations about the conduct of HR in Brent Council and the evidence in the Employment Tribunal papers. It does not encompass the wider problem of apparent collusion by senior council officers in that conduct.

The Pavey Review is unsatisfactory because:

1. It will be conducted while staff remain in fear of victimisation and bullying and their eventual loss of job as a result of revealing what is going on inside the Council. At the very least the senior staff concerned should be suspended (a neutral act) while the review takes place. The emails and phone calls I have had from Brent staff as a result of Wembley Matters' coverage of the issue leave me in no doubt that current staff will need a lot of persuading to speak openly. There is also the question of staff who have left and the gagging clauses imposed by HR as well as HR's ban on staff (on pain of dismissal) speaking to elected councillors about employment issues.

2. Michael Pavey is very close to Muhammed Butt, leader of the Council.  Cllr Butt has been alleged to be the 'prisoner' of members of the Corporate Management Team as a result of the machinations that took place over the sacking and replacement of previous Chief Executive Gareth Daniel.  Pavey has said he sees his role in the Council as backing Muhammed Butt's leadership and has excelled at this since his appointment in the role. It is doubtful whether he will produce any findings that are critical of Butt's leadership.

3. Michael Pavey as well as being Deputy Leader is lead member responsible for  Council as Employer, Legal Service, Complaints and Equalities. At least three of those areas of which he is in charge are those that have failed to some extent according to the Employment Tribunal and its accompanying evidence.  In effect Pavey will be investigating the effectiveness of his own oversight of these departments.

4. The last sentence of the Council statement appears to preempt the outcome of the investigation by assuming that the result will be in the form of 'individual action plans'. If the problem is systemic then there has to be action at that level.

In the light of the above the appointment of an independent investigator, acceptable to both sides, is still the only viable option if the aim is to get to the root of the problem.

A review of Brent Council's HR and equalities practice and procedures is set to be spearheaded by Councillor Michael Pavey, Deputy Leader of the Council, in light of the recent employment tribunal.
The review aims to identify where improvements can be made and ensure that appropriate action plans are developed and delivered. The review will include a comprehensive survey of all HR and equalities policies and procedures and will ensure that a diverse range of views and perspectives are considered.

Advice from external experts will be sought and the review will look to learn from best practice at other local authorities.

Councillor Pavey says: “The diverse nature of Brent Council’s workforce is one of our core strengths and, importantly, is reflective of the diversity of local people. Therefore, it is vital that we shine a light on our existing policies and procedures to ensure that we constantly strive for best practice to support people of all backgrounds to achieve their full potential.

“I am committed to leading a full and detailed review to determine where improvements can be made. I will be working closely with colleagues inside the council and external experts to achieve this and will ensure there is involvement from members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities throughout the process.”

The first draft of the report is scheduled for December 2014, with a commitment to the delivery and implementation of individual action plans in January 2015.


Anonymous said...

White party-political hack will 'ensure there is involvement from members of the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities throughout the process'. Wrong on every count, not least the lack of personal as well as political self-awareness. Party-politics is past its sell-by date.

Anonymous said...

White wash yet again !

When will those in high office be ever held into account ?

Anonymous said...

Cllr Butt, isn’t it all really quite simple?:

The judgement in theEmployment Tribunal verdict tells us what happened.
The verdict tells us what shouldn’t have happened.
The verdict makes clear who was responsible for what shouldn’t have happened (LB Brent and Ms Cara Davani).
You, as Leader of Brent Council are ultimately responsible for what happened and what shoudn’t have happened (including responsibility for the actions of Ms Davani)
It is your responsibility and duty to consider the positions of all those involved, including yourself.
You have had 6 weeks to do this. During that time the behaviour set out in the Tribunal's conclusions could well have continued as you have neglected to take safeguarding action to prevent it.
You now owe it to all involved to state what conclusions you have reached and what action you will take.
These are not trivial matters.

Cllr Butt, am I missing something?

Mike Hine

Nan Tewari said...

What's the betting that the revue, sorry, REVIEW, will manage to arrive cunningly at conclusions that will back up Brent Council's tribunal appeal as well as covering the Council's rear and keeping it out of the rose-feed?

Anonymous said...

Cllr Butt and Ms Davani,

Given your close involvement in her situation over the last 2 years, you more than anyone will appreciate the qualities of Rosemarie Clarke which are so well described elsewhere on this blog. What better way to express your admiration than by joining countless other people over the next 7 days in nominating Rosemarie for the Brent Staff Achievement Awards 2014 (an excellent Council and HR initiative which reflects the appreciation and respect the council has for its staff)?
It will only take you a minute and would demonstrate, in a real and practical way, the genuine commitment to fairness and transparency, and the opposition to racial discrimination, workplace bullying and victimisation, which we would be entitled to expect of occupants of your respective roles.

If you haven't already done so you can nominate Rosemarie here at :

Nominations close on October 16th, so please don't delay.

Anonymous said...

What review? They might as well not bother because nothing is going to improve until you remove the cancer.

Martin Francis said...

Edited comment from Anon:

Just wondering...
1. Why is Michael Pavey's review only of Brent Council's HR and equalities practice and procedures?
2. Why is it only about the more recent public tribunal case?
3. If the review aims to identify where improvements can be made, to ensure that appropriate action plans are developed and delivered, who will be allowed to contribute to this comprehensive survey to ensure a diverse range of views and perspectives are considered?
4. In addition to black and ethnic minority groups, will it involve Brent's own HSE, Occupational Health, the trade unions and/or other independent organisations to collectively participate and survey the workforce on issues bullying, harassment, as well as victimisation that may have experienced or witnessed as employees?
5. Will advice be sought from employees, by way of collecting confidential data from the workforce, spearheaded by representatives suggested above, including truly independent external experts, to learn lessons from the past in an honest attempt to establish best practice for the future.
5. How impartial and independent will the external experts be? Some may argue it would be highly questionable to use Bloomsbury Resourcing?
6. Michael Pavey says he Is committed to leading a full and detailed review to determine where improvements can be made. Does this mean he will also be examining closely all formal grievances entered by employees, in relation to bullying and harassment, since Councillor Mo Butt became leader of the Council and Christine Gilbert its Acting Chief Executive?
7. What sort of data will be collected and used and will it include days taken off work from work related stress, days lost in particular organisations, etc?

Anonymous said...

We cannot forget that 8 out of 10 staff are happy with HR (I'm para-phrasing) here. IF this is the case, then why on earth is there going to be a review? The review is directed at 'staff'- helllllooooo, there were no 'staff' mentioned in the judgement apart from the one that Ledden tried to blame for setting up the meeting (again if my recollection serves me correctly).

I have never heard anything like it. A review by a cllr into the workings of the department...or is this a review for Davani and co.

Info to staff = this review -will look at progress towards IIP Gold standard and towards the Excellence standards in Equality Framework for Local Government ...why? whats the relevance to the judgement? I suppose that they are being prudent and making it work for them and kill 3 birds with 1 stone. As a reminder...who looks after IIP, Equality and HR oh yes Davani - her hand is surely in this.....

The bit that I find particularly interesting, is that the review will include discussion with staff/staff focus groups (the 8 out of 10 as mentioned previously no doubt as the rest won't come forward because they will be sacked for speaking to a cllr).

They have however saved the best bit for last - 'best practice comparison with other local authorities'....I don't think that, unlike Judge Henry and in the case of Clarke, they can find a comparator council that has a racist bully heading up HR...can they?...

Let's face it - this is all a waste of time and money. Davani and Pavey have already pulled together their recommendations, whilst chomping on some salt fish and ackee..that's what makes Pavey able to carry out this review after all! Once again, stop wasting council tax payers money with this review/sham as this is pure distraction. No one will come forward and those who have left - who like Rosemary Clarke have been treated poorly and let down by the organisation, have been sacked and shut up through compromise agreements. Stop treating us like idiots - if you are serious, read this blog/speak to Martin/investigate the anon allegations raised and get on with it and GET THE RACIST OUT and her followers! I can't wait for the completed report that will improve practice and ensure clarity....Davani/Pavey here's a hint for free, don't harrass, intimidate or racially discriminate.

I am excited as I can't wait to see who the external expert will be..let me guess Bloombury Resourcing...I think that we've come full circle!

....and the staff award goes to Rosemary Clarke!!

Anonymous said...

Somewhere else on here someone talks about 'fake, cliché-ridden corporate guff'. Within 2 days we find that Pavey's response to a judge finding his boss and his bsf guilty of racial discrimination, bullying and victimisation is to say he's going to 'identify where improvements can be made and ensure that appropriate action plans are developed and delivered'.
Not exactly 'cometh the hour, cometh the man' is it?

Anonymous said...

Penultimate para sums it up really well. In the end, many of the most inward-focussed and repressive regimes in the world have collapsed not because people rose up and physically defeated them but because people rose up and pissed themselves laughing at them.

Anonymous said...

"spear-headed" by Pavey? - Sounds a racist term.

Anonymous said...

Very poor reporting of this in the Kilburn Times. Much of the report is a quote from Pavey's words in the Brent statement. Much of the rest is simply the words of the statement except not in quotes and presented as if they are Myron Jobson's view of the facts of the case. That's not impartial reporting, it's just acting as a conduit for the press release of one of the parties in a dispute; a dispute which has just been settled in a court of law, by a judge, and in which the party whose words the Times is taking on trust and parroting has been found to be the guilty party, and guilty, in 'equal ops' Brent council, of racial discrimination, workplace bullying and victimisation (This was mentioned in the article but not in a way that linked it with the fact that maybe the 'review' might just possibly be Brent's way of attempting to 'manage' the scandal).
Sloppy stuff. And disappointing from the Times.
Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

Here's something to look at as part of the review Pavey. Examine those Davani has brought into the Council under her management and whether they have the right credentials to perform their roles. You need to review their applications, qualifications, shortlisting, interview notes and references. Correct processes are not being followed and meanwhile the bullying and intimidation continue.

Look at why a member of the Equalities team recently left and ask what procedures were followed in doing this? The words bullying and intimidation spring to mind. If with responsibility for Equalities you can't do this, then forget it. You'll be tarnished with the same brush as the rest if this review continues like this.

Stop wasting time on a review to check what staff understand about policies and procedures. What we understand is that the Director of legal & procurement decided Rosemary Clarke was guilty of ridiculous allegations on the instruction of the HR Director, after her best made Mildred Phillips conducted the investigation.

We understand that senior management at Brent Council failed to protect an innocent employee who was being bullied, then victimised and racially discriminated by the HR Director. The HR Director who was hellbent on making RC suffer and seeing that she never worked again with a bad reference. Is this really the sort of person Brent want as a HR Director?

Get your house in order and forget looking at bet practice from other Council's. Best practice is to:

- Have a credible leader of the Council
- Have a credible and trustworthy Chief Exec
- Have a HR Director who not a racist bully that has brought the Council into disrepute
- Make sure your most senior legal officer is honest and can remember who makes decisions in

BTW - No charge for the advice Mr. Pavey

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