Saturday 14 January 2017

Call for independent review of Brent planning decisions after 'damning' PcW report

Following on the revelations of 'fraud and errors risks'  in Brent Council Planning Department's processes LINK the Brent Conservative Group have submitted a motion calling for an independent review of planning application decisions made in the Price Waterhouse Cooper's report period:

“This Council notes the damning report by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) into the workings of the Brent planning department......the report highlighted:
  1. "Significant weaknesses in the planning application review and assessment process."
  2. "The Council may not be able to demonstrate that it has taken steps to prevent bribery resulting in non- compliance with the Bribery Act 2010."
  3. "Anti - bribery awareness training has not been provided to planning staff."
  4. "Audit trail is susceptible to manipulation .This could result in planning applications being approved inappropriately due to fraud or error."
  5. "No code of conduct for officers. No requirement for officers to make formal declaration of interest."
PWC concluded that it could only give the Brent planning service "limited assurance." 

This Council believes that only "limited assurance” is simply unacceptable, and believes that it is essential that all our residents have confidence in the integrity of the planning process. 

In the light of the PWC report, this Council instructs the Chief Executive to initiate an independent review into planning applications submitted in the report period - 01/01/16 to 31/07/16 - and to report back to Full Council with the results of her findings.”
The motion will be heard at the Full Council meeting at Brent Civic Centre on January 23rd LINK


Anonymous said...

Brent Conservative Group is real opposition, hats off to them.

Anonymous said...

It's a shame this overlooks one of the biggest problems in Brent's planning process: Cllr Butt pressuring officers and cllrs to make the decisions he wants. I've heard officers and cllrs grumble about this, but everyone is too scared of Butt's backlash to put it in writing

Philip Grant said...

I agree that this small Group is the only one which has really tied to challenge the leadership of the Council on important issues since the 2014 local elections. Unfortunately, as with previous motions from this source, it will probably be voted down by a block vote of the Labour councillors, and with no support from the other Conservative Group.

What Brent needs, if Cllr. Butt's administration is to be held properly to account (which it needs to be, in the best interests of local residents and local democracy) is for backbench Labour councillors to speak out when there are matters which they feel are wrong, and not just blindly "follow the leader".