Friday, 1 May 2015

Tories call for Brent Scrutiny changes following delegation refusal

Following the decision of the Scrutiny Committee last night to not allow the delegation from Philip Grant, unless he undertook not to mention the Employment Tribunal case involving Cara Davani, Cllr John Warren (Con, Brondesbury Park)  has issued the following statement.

The Scrutiny Committee has  yet again failed to do its job by rejecting a hearing of the Grant deputation on the Pavey It is another nail in its coffin.

Effective scrutiny must surely be challenging, controversial and "go where others do not go."  

Current scrutiny is useless with an ineffective simply has no credibility and does not hold the Executive to account.  I am proposing changes to the Constitution at the Council AGM on May 20, including the deletion of the current Scrutiny Committee.

My thoughts are along the lines that we need more scrutiny panels who will concentrate on specific areas of expertise, but I am open to any suggestions before I submit my proposals. 

The issues resulting from the high profile ET case cannot be swept under the carpet by a lame review.It is very undemocratic to deny Philip the chance to speak on, what any reasonable person would I think agree, issues that Brent has failed to address at every stage.
Cllr Reg Colwill (Con, Kenton) was on the Scrutiny Committee last night and  did not speak but appeared to go along with the decision not to hear Philip Grant's deputation.


  1. Well done Philip for attempting to scrutinize the unscrutinizable.

    This is totally out of order to be protecting Davani and Gilbert.

    In my mind this would be grounds to call in the next Eric Pickles after next Thursday.

    Tower Hamlets was exposed and Brent also needs to be exposed, particularly in view of the selection of a permanent CEO

    1. I have done my best to get Brent's Labour councillors to at least allow the matter to be raised before them (twice with Scrutiny Committee and once for a Full Council meeting), but have been blocked at every attempt. They are aware of Ms Davani's misconduct, but they seem afraid to stand up to the combined forces of Christine Gilbert's senior officers and their Leader, Cllr. Butt.

      Philip Grant.

  2. Go, Tories! Historic champions of scrutiny and openness! Still, any port in a storm I suppose, even a plague port.

    Mike Hine

  3. Excellent news - it's about time meaningful changes are made to ensure such important equality matters are scrutinised properly. Many of our elected Councillors look like nodding ducks - I'm not convinced the majority of them know what's really going on.

  4. Brent used to have a number of scrutiny committees looks at a range of subjects. Christine Gilbert got rid of them - I wander why?

    1. Christine Gilbert and Cara Divani got rid of much good practice under the guise of 'restructuring' which has brought the council into disrepute and our elected councillors in the dark about lots of things.

  5. Alison Hopkins1 May 2015 at 19:07

    The old scrutiny committees worked reasonably well, especially as, notably, some of the more sensible Labour councillors were decent objective chairs. General Purposes was and is a disaster.

  6. Cllr Reg Colwill does not want to upset Cllr Butt. At next full Council meeting on May 20, Cllr Reg needs Cllr Butt support to be voted in as official Conservative Group on Brent Council. Christine Gilbert, Cara Dawani, Cllr Butt, majority of YES Labour Councillors = Lutfur Rahman Tower Hamlets, Democracy at its best in Brent.

  7. Alison Hopkins1 May 2015 at 20:15

    That's assuming Butt is still Leader after the 16th May. Isn't that the Labour Group AGM?

    1. It Will be interesting to see if Barry Gardiner retains his Seat in a few says time.

      If he looses seat I bet Councillor Butt Will take a hit.

    2. Both Barry Gardiner and Dawn Butler were elected with large majorities. Cllr. Butt will feel confident of his position, basking in the reflected glory, but a number of Labour councillors are uneasy about his leadership. The question which may be answered on 16 May is whether that number is large enough to replace him, IF any of the other potential Leaders have the guts to put themselves forward.

      Philip Grant.

  8. It looks like Christine Gilbert, Cara Divani & Co should be reminded of ..

    The 7 principles of public life


    1. Selflessness

    Holders of public office should act solely in terms of the public interest.


    Holders of public office must avoid placing themselves under any obligation to people or organisations that might try inappropriately to influence them in their work. They should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves, their family, or their friends. They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.


    Holders of public office must act and take decisions impartially, fairly and on merit, using the best evidence and without discrimination or bias.


    Holders of public office are accountable to the public for their decisions and actions and must submit themselves to the scrutiny necessary to ensure this.


    Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing.


    Holders of public office should be truthful.


    Holders of public office should exhibit these principles in their own behaviour. They should actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs.

    1. A sign should be hung at the entrance of Brent lovely New Civic Centre.

  9. How right you are! They should hold their heads down and be forced to resign.

  10. Changing scrutiny structures does not address the root cause of the problem which is the culture of the ruling group and in particular its dominant members, particularly given the alignment with and support of the interim Chief Executive. What's interesting is that the report is a mildly worded but extensive critique of how poor Brent Council's HR and Administration is under Cara Davani. In most other authorities a senior officer's position would be untenable when faced with such evidence of what needs to be done to bring the function into the 21st century - and that is not taking into account the employment tribunal horror story. Will a new Chief Executive seek to remove her? If I were taking on the job, I would have no confidence in her ability to implement the required changes successfully.

    1. Unfortunately, you probably won't be taking on the job of Brent's Chief Executive, Anonymous (7 May at 20:07)!

      The person taking on that post will have been short-listed by Christine Gilbert or Cara Davani, and selected at an Appointments Committee chaired by Cllr. Butt and made up mainly of his Cabinet colleagues. See:

      Philip Grant.