Wednesday 8 March 2017

UPDATE Flytipping and Litter fines NOT DISCUSSED PUBLICLY at Scrutiny tonight

As he is now a member of Scrutiny Committee there will be a chance for Cllr John Duffy (Kilburn) to get to the bottom of the Kingdom contract which employs operatives to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for litter dropping in the borough, at tonight's meeting..  Duffy has raised the issue of the legality of the contract as well as whether the Council has received 'best value for money' from the arrangement.

One of the documents tabled has been withheld from the public. The public report can be found HERE


When it came to the agenda item this evening Carolyn Downs, CEO said that the public and press should be excluded from the meeting because of the 'below the line' report. It apparently contained information that had not yet been communicated to Kingdom. I suspect this means that it contains a recommendation to end the Kingdom contract and perhaps to provide the service in-house. Downs also said that it was unusual to have a paper discussed before it had gone to Cabinet. Councillors who are not on Scrutiny were allowed to stay as they are bound by confidentiality rules.

Separately Cllr Duffy protested at the withholding of documents he had requested from Downs.  He'd discovered that there were no minutes of the meeting where Kingdom was awarded the littering contract. He'd then asked for any notes that officers had taken at the meeting. Downs refused this saying that these were private notes by officers and that if they were released it was likely that officers would stop taking notes at meetings for fear that they would be made public.

Duffy asked, 'What's the point of electing councillors if officers are going to make the decisions?'

Surely in a Council with nothing to hide scrutiny should take place in front of press and public? 


Scott said...

"One of the documents tabled has been withheld from the public" -

The running of Brent Council by Labour is so slimey.
What are they ashamed of doing with our money?

Anonymous said...

Any contract needs to be seriously different from what is now happening. Instead of loitering waiting for someone to drop a cigarette butt they need to be properly utilised in catching the fly tippers and real rubbish dumpers. This needs to include night-time vigilance and be utilised during major events at places such as Wembley Stadium. This should include dumping into resident's gardens or onto their property. I am sure long-suffering residents would happily agree to this.

Anonymous said...

Or to put it more accurately why are they so ashamed of the council tax payers and residents finding out how their money is being spent and how it is being wasted or misused. Everything should be out in the open. The officers should be accountable to the councillors who are supposed to be accountable to their constituents whom they are supposed to be representing. There has been (and still is) too much jiggery pokery going on. If things do not improve perhaps there will be a need for much more public interest issues to be raised.
If people do not want to adhere to these principles of democracy they should resign now and not put themselves up for election again. Current ethics leave much to be desired.

Anonymous said...

Anyone with half a brain cell can see that the current FPN system is really just a council money making scam masquerading as an anti-litter crusade. As someone who has been wrongly accused and fined under this scheme (and I suspect I'm not the only one), I have found it to be unethical on many different levels. It seems Enforcement officers can approach any innocent member of the public and make false allegations and issue a fine without any evidence whatsoever. There is no appeals process in place, so the only option for innocent victims is to let LBB take them to court, risking a larger fine if they are not believed, not to mention the hassle and stress this would cause. Many people will feel they have no option but to pay up. If criminals used methods like this it would be called extortion! I have been forced to change my route in to work, to minimise my chances of encountering these people, as I feel it is the only way I can protect myself from further wrongful accusations.
Needless to say, I now have a very low opinion of LBB (and that's putting it mildly), who I now regard as a disreputable organisation. If they are to regain any credibility, they must scrap this scheme. NOW.

Anonymous said...

People should not drop litter, but the way this contract was given to Kingdom and has been carried out in practice is wrong.

The only Butt that needs to be dropped is the Council Leader!

Anonymous said...

Surely questions have to be asked why there are no minutes for the meeting where Kingdom was awarded the littering contract. This surely must have been an official meeting and not just a casual chat over a cup of coffee. Are we to believe that things are so slapdash that minutes are not taken at meetings where contracts are awarded to outside organisations. I just feel this is ridiculous. I feel we should be given a full explanation about this. Also how often this has happened and what they were.

Anonymous said...

On that we are all agreed!!!!!

Martin Francis said...

In another interchange earlier in the evening Duffy quoted 73 fly-tipping fins versus 4,000 fixed penalty notices mainly for fag ends. Southwood said proportion of FPNs for fag ends had been reduced to neaer 60% after talks with Kingdom. Duffy said still out of balance. Officer said how difficult it was to get evidence for fly-tipping, even if addressed letters found inside blag bags etc. Dispte between Duffy and Southwood about whether whether Brent was the second worst London borough for fly-tipping. This might run and run.

Anonymous said...

Seems FPNs kill two birds with one stone here. Can't get evidence against fly tippers, so use a system that requires no evidence or indeed any crime to be committed instead.
Also the 60% figure is concerning as it implies that this requires them to find the other 40% for other reasons. Could explain why I was deliberately falsely targeted.

Angry resident said...

This is yet another complete shambles with the decent residents being badly let down yet again.
A complete farce.