Thursday 31 August 2017

Your rights as a Brent citizen

Click on image to enlarge

I will let readers decide whether this works in practice. Source Brent Constitution changes LINK
Citizens’ Rights 
The Council welcomes participation by its citizens in its work. Citizens have a number of rights in their dealings with the Council. Some of these are legal rights, whilst others depend on the Council’s own processes. The local Citizens’ Advice Bureau and Community Law Centre can advise on individuals’ legal rights. Citizens have the right to:
·      vote at local elections if they are registered; 

·      contact their local councillor about any matters of concern to them; 

·      obtain a copy of the Constitution; 

·      attend meetings of the Council and its committees except where, for example, confidential or exempt information would be disclosed; 

·      petition to request a referendum on an elected Mayor; 

·      contribute to reviews conducted by the Scrutiny Committees and/or their task groups; 

·      find out, from the Forward Plan, what Key Decisions are to be decided by the Cabinet, Cabinet Committees or officers, as well as other decisions to be taken at a meeting of the Cabinet or Cabinet Committees and when; 

·      attend meetings of the Cabinet or Cabinet Committees, except where exempt or confidential information is being discussed; 

·      see reports and background papers, and any record of decisions made by the Council and the Cabinet;
·      complain to the Council about its service provision;
·      complain to the Ombudsman if they think the Council has not followed its procedures properly. However, they should only do this after using the Council’s own complaints process;
·      complain to the Monitoring Officer if they have evidence which they think shows that a councillor has not followed the Council’s Code of Conduct; and
·      inspect the Council’s accounts and make their views known to the external auditor.


Philip Grant said...

There is no mention in this list of citizens rights to speak at Council or Committee meetings, or to present deputations to those meetings. Have they just forgotten to include these rights in the list, or have "the powers that be" at Brent Council decided to quietly do away with those rights? Those rights are important ones.

I certainly found, from personal experience in 2014 and 2015 (in the year after deputations were first introduced, "to improve contact between the Council and its citizens") that all sorts of obstacles were put in my way to STOP me from presenting deputations. I know that Martin had the same problem at the first Full Council meeting after the right was introduced.

If Martin had been allowed to present his September 2014 deputation on the appointment of a permanent Chief Executive, the Council Leader might not have been able to extend Christine Gilbert's time as interim Chief Executive for another year (unlawfully, because Full Council did not, and was not asked to, approve the extension).

If I had been allowed to raise points then (in respect of the Rosemarie Clarke Employment Tribunal case and the "pay-off" to Cara Davani), so that councillors had the opportunity to discuss these matters openly, and question what was going on, we might have avoided the trouble and expense of exercising another right - to object about the Council's accounts to the external auditor.

On another point - the Structure Chart is wrong in showing that the two co-opted independent members of the Audit Advisory Committee are "non-voting members". The whole point of setting this up as an "Advisory Committee" was so that the independent members could be VOTING members.


Anonymous said...

Well said Philip.