Thursday, 30 June 2016

£157k payout leaves Davani laughing all the way to the kennels

The Brent and Kilburn Times LINK today reveals that former Director of Brent Human Resources, Cara Davani, was paid out £157,610 when she left the Council, almost to the day, last year. Davani as well as her job with Brent, also had her own HR Consultancy and a dog breeding business.

At the time Brent Council said:
'Cara Davani, Director of HR and Administration, will leave the Council at the end of June. She intends to take a career break for a while.

The Council is grateful for the significant contribution that Cara has made over the last 3 years.’
Part of Davani's 'contribution' was to land the Council with an Employment Tribunal case in whcih she and the Council were found to have victimised and racially discriminated against an employee, Rosemarie Clarke.

Cllr Butt and Cara Davani
Council leader Muhammed Butt went out of his way to protect Davani and refused to allow any disciplinary action against her.  The Pavey review of Brent Human resources was excluded from dealing with the Employment Tribunal case. This was a decision that Pavety recently said he regretted remarking that he should have fought harder for a broader remit LINK.

Philip Grant and I both tried to raise the case at Brent Council meetings but were denied the opportunity.  LINK

I very seldom agree with Tories but Cllr John Warren's comment to the BKT hits the nail on the head:
£157,610 compensation for loss of office is a sick joke. There's no way they should have given her a penny because it's a reward for failure. It would be interesting to see how they justify it as I don't believe they needed to pay her that. Not a bad deal to be rubbish at your job and get a payoff like that.


Philip Grant said...

Congratulations to Nathalie at the B&K Times for finally getting the information about the pay-off, and putting it in the public domain.

I fought a long and unsuccessful battle with Brent Council and its then Interim Chief Executive, Christine Gilbert (a close associate of Ms Davani), to try and get this information disclosed last year.

Cara Davani had managed to promote herself up from Head of HR to Director of HR and Administration during her time with Brent, finishing on an annual salary of £122k. When she left a year ago, she took with her enough of OUR Council Taxpayers' money to fund a fifteen month "career break".

A £157k pay-off to a person against whom there was clear evidence, nine months earlier, to justify their sacking for gross misconduct, defies common decency and common sense.

Because the details of the payment, and even whether there had been a "pay-off" to Ms Davani, were concealed from Brent's councillors and residents, there was no proper scrutiny of the decision to pay her off. The payment, and any supposed justification for it, do need to be scrutinised now, and any wrongdoing by councillors or Council Officers involved in the process exposed. We may never get the money back, but at least the truth should be told, and lessons learned.


Anonymous said...

Is there any wonder Brent Council is broke,not only has Davani and Butt cost the tax payers over a million pounds in a payout for the loss of the tribunal but to actually reward Davani for being crap at her job is disgusting. I have no doubt she will be asking for a good reference sometime in the future, and will probably get one if this fiasco is anything to go by

Anonymous said...

It is with great sardonic pleasure that I noted the main subject on the agenda for the forthcoming Wembley Connects meeting - Councillors Butt and McClellan ate wishing to be told what residents feel about how the Council runs it's business and how people feel it could be improved!!!!! Do you think that they ate ready for the onslaught!!!! Oh boy Oh boy Oh boy !!!!!;

Nan. said...

As part of her leaving package, Davani would have insisted on receiving a good reference.

In fact the press release trumpeting what a great job she had done, was part of the public rehabilitation aimed at assisting her to obtain further work after leaving Brent.

Nan. said...

At last we have an answer to Philip's Question.

At last we know why Brent Council stonewalled and refused to answer that Question.

At last we have a clear illustration of how the (Cara) Davani, [former HR Director] and (Christine) Gilbert [former Chief Executive] duo operated in cahoots to milk every bit of public cash they could to line their own pockets.

Whose idea was it that the payout was a mechanism for protecting the council? What did the council need protecting from, precisely? What role did Andy Potts - the council's employment solicitor and father of Davani's children and Davani's business partner - play in providing advice on the payoff?

This is utterly disgraceful behaviour from people who had experience of operating at the senior-most echelons of the public sector. They would therefore have understood the impropriety of their actions. Their very seniority would have equipped them to understand just how to present their actions as being justifiable.

I would be really interested to know how Nathalie Raffray of the Kilburn Times came by the report - has someone internally had a crisis of conscience, perhaps?
Well done for publishing and once again, congratulations to Philip for his tenacity in pursuing this.

Philip Grant said...

Thank you, Anonymous (1 July at 18:46), for bringing this to our attention. Here is the invitation that I hope many local residents will accept:-

'The next meeting of Brent Connects Wembley is scheduled for Wednesday, 13 July 2016 [at 7pm] at Patidar House, 2nd Floor, 22 London Road, Wembley HA9 7EX.

Council Leader, Muhammed Butt and Deputy Leader, Margaret McLennan will be meeting residents at the forum to hear their issues first hand and will take the opportunity to talk about the council’s vision for the borough. THIS IS AN EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY TO PUT THE TWO CABINET MEMBERS ON THE SPOT ....

Councillor Ketan Sheth, Chair, Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee and councillor Matt Kelcher, Chair, Brent Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be discussing ways of making scrutiny count in Brent. EFFECTIVE SCRUTINY IS A VITAL PART OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT ....'

Well, there it is in the Council's own words! More answers are still needed from Cllr. Butt about his response to the Rosemarie Clarke case, and more scrutiny is definitely required on Brent's decision to pay £157k (or anything at all!) to Cara Davani.


Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Just the sort of thing to get me blogging before breakfast! (And that was just from seeing the headline in your sidebar.)

Along the lines of: "Cllrs Butt and McClellan wishing to be told what residents feel about how the Council runs its business and how people feel it could be improved," that pre-breakfast offering on the Kilburn Unemployed blog is What do Brent Council Tax payers, including those with incomes "too low to tax," think of Davani's compensation payment?

Philip Grant said...

We still only have the answer to ONE of my questions.

How much in damages, compensation and costs, on behalf of Cara Davani as a separately named co-respondent, Brent paid as part of its secret, last minute out-of-court settlement of Rosemarie Clarke's Tribunal claim last September, is still unanswered.

The B&K Times article last Thursday came as a complete surprise to me, but I now understand that the source of the information was a Brent councillor. The Council itself, through an unnamed spokesman, only commented afterwards. So much for openness and transparency!


Anonymous said...

I think that we should all be awarded £250k compensation each as a minimum paid directly from the accounts of Butt and Davani with all their assets seized.The more I see of all this the more amazed and angry I become. The relationship between Davani and Andy Potts and the friendship between Davani and the then Chief Executive just adds to this. Well Well Well. We've had Barmy Brent and now Completely Bent Brent. What comes next?????

Anonymous said...

There continues to be something wrong and rotten with the state of Brent Council, particularly its leader Muhammed Butt, who seems to have a knack for supporting and rewarding mediocrity, and haachhhooo an innate skill for successfully distancing himself from anything that would require responsible action from him.

He is not shy of courting the media when it comes to raising his profile, but shuns it when it would mean the incompetency of the organisation he presides over is exposed.

Well done BK for outing yet another example of Brent Council's shambolic workings, in a time of austerity, and in a time when the Council continues to seek devious ways of wringing the last remaining pennies from hard working Brent residents.

That woman should be made to pay back the monies, which effectively belongs to Brent Council tax payers.

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Re Christine Gilbert, is that the one who was married to Tony McNulty? The Tony McNulty who said as Minister of State for Employment & Welfare — before resigning over an expenses scandal — "Benefit thieves have to understand that they will not get away with it"?

Philip Grant said...

KUWG - you've got it in one!

Kilburn Unemployed Workers Group said...

Regarding Brent as an employer, at this time of going to comment, an LB Brent advertising feature in Community Care online magazine starts off by stating all the wondrous technological gadgets and gizmos Brent social workers would have at their disposal for working away from the office, then states: "To serve Wembley, one of Britain’s most ethically [sic], economically and socially diverse boroughs, arming social workers with a suite of such exercises is a major boost."

Perhaps we could say that the services provided to vulnerable older people in LB Brent in contrast to the payout given or awarded to Cara Davani IS "ethically diverse"!

Philip Grant said...

"Ethically diverse" - it may be a misprint, but it is also true.

The ethical standards at Brent Council vary from very high, as exhibited day-to-day by many front-line employees, to the very low / virtually non-existent of those in positions of power who have abused that power, like Cara Davani, or been willing to protect and cover-up for her and give her a large and undeserved pay-off.


Philip Grant said...


It was not only Cara Davani who got a pay-off from Brent Council in June 2015. So did her partner, Andy Potts!

I found this out by asking questions about the Council's 2015/16 accounts (the document which finally disclosed the £157,610 payment to its former HR Director at Note 30 to the accounts). I was not able to find out how much the payment to Andy Potts was.

Q. Why did Brent pay Andy Potts to go?
A. Because he was made redundant.

Q. Who would have organised the staff restructuring under which he was made redundant?
A. Almost certainly, the Council's HR Director, Cara Davani.

Q. Who would have negotiated and approved the amount of the redundancy payment to Andy Potts?
A. The HR Director, Cara Davani, or if she had stepped aside from this because of a conflict of interests (as Andy Potts was her partner) the then Chief Executive, Christine Gilbert.

Am I the only one who thinks that something dodgy went on here?