Monday, 7 September 2015

Brent Council should take the opportunity tonight to open a new chapter in transparency and accountability

Regular readers of this blog will know that there have been numerous occasions when attempts to address Brent Council on controversial issues, ranging from the Veolia Public Realm Contract to the Cara Davani case, have been disallowed as well as motions from both Liberal Democrats (pre 2014 local elections) and Conservatives being ruled out of order.

Muhammed Butt's promise on taking over the leadership of the council of a new era of transparency and accountability, a commitment to listen to the views of residents and opening the council up to their scrutiny, has not been fulfilled.

Tonight's Full Council meeting, will be attended by the new Chief Executive Carolyn Downs. The old senior management  regime of Christine Gilbert, Cara Davani, Fiona Ledden and Andy Potts has gone.

A fresh start would be indicated if Philip Grant is allowed to make his presentation on the important of high standards of conduct in carrying out the functions of Brent Council without interruption and there is proper debate on the Brent Conservative motion calling for an independent inquiry into the Rosemarie Clarke employment tribunal case.

Over the weekend I wrote the following to my ward councillors:

I am writing to urge you to support Philip Grant's request to make a deputation to Full Council on Monday September 7th.

I know Philip personally and he is a man committed to the highest standards in public life. He does not belong to any political party. His contributions to debate are always measured and well researched. The title of his deputation is one that Brent Council should welcome and support: “The importance of high standards of conduct in carrying out the functions of Brent Council

The reasons given for refusing the Deputation by the Council's Chief Legal Officer are spurious (it is a part of a 'campaign' and is continuation of a 'complaint or grievance') and her decision to treat it as an FoI request high-handed if not a misuse of her powers under the Constitution.

Allowing a dignified deputation by a man of principle who is a respected local resident would provide an opportunity for the Council, after a particularly difficult period, to indicate its commitment to the highest standards of conduct by the Council as it moves forward under a new Chief Executive.
Martin Francis
The public can attend tonight's meeting to support Philip Grant, who has appealed against the refusal of his deputation, and to see if Brent Council can live up to its professed ideals. The meeting is in the Conference Hall at the Civic Centre at 7pm.

It can be watched on the live stream HERE and you can follow and comment via Twitter using #BrentLive


Anonymous said...

I have just read on the Kilburn Times website that Cllr. Muhammed Butt (usual smiley photo) has told their reporter Brent will take at least 50 Syrian refugee families (details still to be worked out). I welcome that announcement.

However, the phrase "a good day to bury bad news" comes to mind. With a Council meeting coming up this evening at which I may be presenting my Deputation about the need to improve standards of conduct at the Civic Centre, a motion is on the agenda calling for an independent inquiry into Brent's handling of the Rosemarie Clarke Employment Tribunal case, and the possible fall-out from the Labour leadership's treatment of Cllr. Duffy, Cllr. Butt and his (Council Tax funded) PR machine may have been influenced by these in the timing of his announcement.

Or am I just a cynic?

Philip Grant.

Anonymous said...

50? Lets hope they can pay the bedroom tax otherwise they'll be out quicker than they got in.