Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Wembley Matters prints the Deputation on racism case that Brent Council banned

Mr Philip Grant was not allowed to make a deputation at yesterday's Scrutiny Committee on the subject of Brent Council's appeal on the Employment Trubinal case that found the Council guilty of racial discrimination, victimisation and constructive dismissal.

In a terse statement at the beginning of the meeting Cllr Aslam Choudry said that deputations would not be heard, indicating that there was more than one, and almost as an aside said it was not on the agenda. In fact Deputations (if any) were Item 2 on the Agenda.

In the interests of democracy, a concept not currently being upheld by the members and officers of Brent Council, I publish below what Philip Grant would hace said, if he had been allowed to:
“Deputation” for Scrutiny Committee meeting on 3 November 2014

I am speaking as an individual Brent resident, but I hope that the many people who have raised this matter online, in letters to local newspapers and at recent “Brent Connects” meetings, will feel that I am expressing their concerns as well.

I am here to formally request that Scrutiny Committee will agree to urgently scrutinise the decision, made in the name of Brent Council around 26 September, to appeal against the Employment Tribunal judgement in the case of Rosemarie Clarke v. London Borough of Brent and Cara Davani.

The Employment Tribunal found, on very clear evidence set out in its judgement, that Brent’s former Head of Learning and Development had been constructively dismissed by the Council in 2013, and that she had suffered victimisation and racial discrimination.

Although a Council statement has said that it took independent legal advice before deciding to appeal, I believe that the decision is likely to be an unsafe one,
and not in the best interests of Brent Council or the people of the borough.
Briefly stated, my reasons for that belief are these:

1.   Brent has already victimised Rosemarie Clarke, through her treatment after she first complained of being bullied and harassed by Cara Davani in late 2012, then through the ordeal of an Employment Tribunal to prove that she had been constructively dismissed. In taking the case to appeal, rather than apologising, and compensating her for the harm she has suffered, Brent is continuing that victimisation.

2.   As I explained to the Council Leader, Cllr. Muhammed Butt, as soon as the decision to appeal was made public, Brent does not need to appeal in order to “clear its name” of racial discrimination in this case. It simply needs to tell the truth about why Council Officers decided to carry on with disciplinary proceedings against Rosemarie Clarke after she had ceased to be a Council employee, and ensure that the Officers involved face the consequences of their actions.

3.   Brent's decision to appeal against the Employment Tribunal judgement is likely to have been made by, or strongly influenced by, people involved in, the actions which gave rise to that judgement. They would also have had in mind a wish to see their own actions, or those of their associates, covered up, and their own positions and reputations protected. This probable conflict of interests makes the decision an unsafe one, and a possible abuse of their power and of the trust placed in them.

4.   The appeal will involve costs, perhaps considerable costs. If the legal action is being pursued in the interests of individual Senior Council Officers, rather than in the best interests of Brent Council, that is a misuse of Council Taxpayers’ money, at a time when “every penny counts”.

I am aware that you have been advised, by the Council’s Legal Director, Fiona Ledden, that this decision to appeal is not one which it is open to you to scrutinise, as it is an Officer decision not an Executive decision. As I have already indicated to you in writing, I believe that advice to be incorrect. Under your Committee’s terms of reference in Part 5 of Brent's Constitution, the functions which the ‘Scrutiny Committee shall perform’ include:

‘3. To review or scrutinise decisions made, or other action taken, in connection with the discharge of any functions which are not the responsibility of the executive and to make reports or recommendations to the Council or the Cabinet in respect of such matters.'

You can scrutinise the decision to appeal against this Employment Tribunal judgement, I have set out why you should scrutinise it, and I hope that you will agree to do so, as a matter of urgency. Thank you.

Philip Grant,

3 November 2014

During the course of Philip Grant's correspondence with Cllr Choudry, and the latter's consultation with Fiona Ledden, Head of Legal, it has become clear that the decision to appeal was made by Brent Officers and not by councillors.

As Christine Gilbert, Fiona Ledden and Cara Davani are all Brent officers named in the Employment Tribunal case it becomes even more important for the public to know which officers made the decision to appeal, on what basis and what the cost implications are to Brent residents.

This decision follows on Fiona Ledden's previous ruling barring me for speaking at a Council Meeting on the issue of the recruitment of a permanent Chief Executive at Brent Council. Christine Gilbert occupies the interim position after councillors extended her term for a second time.

Philip Grant is doing democracy a service in Brent, as well as standing up for its residents, and deserves our support.


Anonymous said...

Let the councillors stew in their own juice. They've decided where their loyalties lie and it's with a colluding bunch of convicted racial discriminators, victimisers and workplace bullies. Every occasion like last night simply draws more attention to the way they operate.
Chaudry has now joined those who seem determined to demonstrate that, unless simply ignorant or incompetent, they are calculating liars.

Wembley Matters. Then Private Eye, Cllr Butt. It's not going away, is it? The pitiful thing is that by the time the councillors have finished trashing any integrity, dignity or reputation they ever might have had, the chancers they're doing it for, Davani, Ledden and Gilbert, will be miles down the road screwing some other gullible public sector institution for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' money

As for the Brent councillors: Lutfur Rahman today, this lot tomorrow.

Mike Hine

Anonymous said...

Report on Tower Hamlets corruption investigation Just published.

Brent seems to be following in Tower Hamlets shadow.

Dont Forget Gilbert worked closely with Rahman


Anonymous said...

'There can be no place for rotten boroughs in the 21st century'
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles (clearly a Private Eye reader), House of Commons, November 4th 2014.

Anonymous said...

Extract from the standard - “It paints a deeply concerning picture of obfuscation, denial, secrecy, the breakdown of democratic scrutiny and accountability, a culture of cronyism risking the corrupt spending of public funds,” Mr Pickles told the Commons. Description could be applied to Bent Council. Let's hope Eric Pickles get on their case sooner rather than later.

Anonymous said...

Tragic that you're reduced to quoting the tory timeserver Pickles against the people who pretend to represent us. Wake up Brent Labour for god's sake.