Monday 16 May 2016

UPDATE; Newly elected Chairs of Brent Council committees and an audacious nomination for Standards Chair

Cllr Allie at Full Council  February 22nd
More appointments will be made this evening but I now have fuller information for readers on appointments to positions on Brent Council committees etc.

One nomination, if true,  is particularly audacious - that of Cllr James Allie who sat reading the Catholic Herald through much of the budget setting meeting on February 22nd, which included discussion of the impact of  cuts to services.

A complaint was made to Fiona Alderman who replied:
I have considered the complaint under the Members’ Code of Conduct complaints procedure and have consulted the Independent Person, the Chief Whip and the Chief Executive. In all the circumstances, I have decided that on this occasion your complaint does not warrant any further action under the Code of Conduct. I have, however, reported your complaint to the Chief Whip for the Labour Group and written to Councillor Allie to advise him that the conduct you complained of must not be repeated.
Cllr Butt has apparently nominated Cllr Allie to be chair of the Standards Committee which may well be charged with responding to complaints about Cllr Butt's conduct over the Tayo Oladapo case as well as the  double Planning Committee shenanigans. Sandra Kabir, the Chief Whip who managed the Cllr John Duffy case, is nominated as Vice Chair. Other members are Cllr Krupa Sheth and Cllr Tatler.

Cllr Allie has been a staunch Butt supporter following his defection from the Lib Dems and was one of the few to support Butt's bid to end elelctions for Deputy Leader.

Although Allie was never charged with any offence in a 2011 fraud case, he was referred to the borough solicitor for not declaring an interest by the then Labour leader Ann John. At the time Allie was a Lib Dem councillor for Alperton and chaired the budget scrutiny committee. LINK

Krupa Sheth is a close relative of Cllr Ketan Sheth and replaces Bernard Collier who one councillor said was known to 'ask tough questions'.

Many observers thought Cllr Liz Dixon, a woman of principle, would have been a more independent occupant of the position.

The chairs of the  two Scrutiny Committees elected on Saturday are Matt Kelcher and Ketan Sheth. Kelcher is the chair of the present single Scrutiny Committee and Sheth previously chaired Planning.

Sarah Marquis was elected as Chair of the Planning Committee.  She was interrupted mid-speech  on Saturday by applause when she promised that she would be politically independent in the role. Cllr Agha was challenged to distance himself from Cabinet pressure if he got the role but replied that it was important that all members contribute to the Planning Committee, including the Council leader.

The leadership are claimed to have ignored Marquis' plea that the process of appointing members to the Planning Committee should be opened up to reassure the public that there was not a lack of independence from councillors which would open up claims of political interference in the Committee's work.

I understand that one Cabinet candidate, who was not elected to a position, when asked which other council they admired, replied 'Tower Hamlets.'

Given Cllr Butt's narrow majority for leader and the tied vote for deputy it is not certain that his nominations will get through this evening  but doubtless considerable pressure will be applied on individual councillors.


Anonymous said...

I also complained about Cllr Allie's rude responses and lack of engagement within the community - nothing was done about that either.

Anonymous said...

Any information on who voted for whom in the 'leadership' and deputy polls, Martin?

Anonymous said...

Cllr Sheth was similarly caught out a couple of years ago spending a whole meeting texting on her phone

Anonymous said...

Given the amount of money on various apps that have been spent on council ipads ( and the amount of time other councillors spent reading twitter, tweeting and having #Bants during council meetings - i've rethought this.

If Cllr Allie wishes to be a luddite, reject the apps and read stuff actually printed on paper then so be it. At least he's being true to himself whilst probably paying the same amount of attention as the rest.

Perhaps Cllr Allie is for a bit of #anarcho-primitivism and if he is so be it. Contributions from many are often limited anyway.


Scott B.

Alison Hopkins said...

Allie was my predecessor as chair of Finance Scrutiny. The excellent officers who supported both him and me - and who have now left Brent, so I've no problem saying this - thought little of him. He never showed for the preparation meetings nor did he contribute to reports or other documents. I well recall him pulling the trick of showing to one meeting of another committee for five minutes simply to get his attendance credit.

Dixon spoke against residents and their vehement opposition to a planning application.

Ketan is decent and objective, and so is Marquis.

Agha's comment is appalling and goes against standards, code of conduct and much else, being of dubious legality.

Tower Hamlets? Yeah. We're not far off.

Anonymous said...

Was that when Allie was a Liberal Democrat and you were a little less vocal about his failings, Alison?

Anonymous said...

I have read the post and the above comments with interest. I cannot see how Cllr Allie can really head this committee from what I read.

Alison Hopkins said...

I hardly knew Allie as a councillor when he was a Lib Dem. I was elected in late March 2012, he pushed off a couple of months later. I then replaced him as Chair.

Philip Grant said...

A member of the public complained about Cllr. Krupa Sheth not paying attention to proceedings, as she was texting on her 'phone, at the Planning Committee meeting where the application to redevelop Willesden Green Libray Centre was being considered.

The then Chair of Planning Committee, Cllr. Ketan Sheth (her uncle?), still allowed her to vote on the application.


Philip Grant said...

I think that is the point. Cllr. Butt does not appear to want Standards Committee to be chaired by someone who is keen on upholding the high standards of conduct which are meant to be upheld by members of Brent Council!


Anonymous said...

Brilliant. To allyou spoilsports out there, let's make it COMPULSORY to not pay attention during meetings.

Anonymous said...

If all former Libdems or wannabe Libdems (like Cllr Butt) were still LibDems would Libdems have a majority?

Anonymous said...

'There's a guy in the funny papers we all know
Allie oops-oops, oops, oops-oops'
(The Hollywood Argyles, 1960)

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Perhaps 'lack of leadership' is a problem that knows few boundaries, whether it is in Middleton, Leeds as exposed by Labour councillors' responses to Leeds Hands Off Our Homes housing campaign group to show some defiance toward Conservative Government policy, or the Labour Party national leadership's apparent reluctance to raise the matter of the perils of Universal Credit at PMQs.

Maybe ultimately, leadership is more to be found among grassroots organisations such as Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group and bloggers such as Martin Francis of Wembley Matters, along with Kate Belgrave who actually accompanies vulnerable people to jobcentres where they would otherwise be treated more degradingly than they already are?

And there is Revd Paul Nicolson, founder of Taxpayers Against Poverty.

Dude Swheatie of Kwug, expressing a personal point of view

Anonymous said...

Well that all seems pretty clear.
A council head whose standards of conduct have been notoriously bad since assuming office appoints as head of standards of conduct a man whose conduct has been twice investigated for not reaching the required standard.
Over to you, Private Eye (with photographic evidence).