Thursday, 28 September 2017

Cllr Duffy asks Standards Committee to defer his item to allow independent input

Cllr John Duffy, subject of a report going to Standards Committee tonight LINK, has requested that members refer back the report to allow independent input into the matter.

This is his email to Cllr Allie, cahir of the committee.
Dear James , 
I was not informed of this meeting and only read about it on Wembley Matter on the 22nd September. No doubt the CEO and the head of legal will say I was told six months ago this would be referred to the next meeting, however it is up to you to decide, whether it would be reasonable for CEO to inform me of the date of that meeting once it has been fixed.  

Anyway I am unable to attend tonight for personal reasons. Can you pass this email on to the co-oped members.

Let  me first point out there is no independent input into the report and I refused to accept that officers can come to a decision on selective emails and therefore I refuse to co-operate unless someone who was not on the officers “payroll” was involved.

Let me get things right and state why I believe the CEO was wrong  to leave Brent  to sit on operation Gold. I believe operation GOLD, was a complete waste of time,it's not my opinion it's the opinion of many  people.I strongly believe that quangos very seldom solve problems and I believe I have a right to voice that, as we live in a democracy.

In the aftermath of the disaster I believe the Ministers were wrong to set up a quangos of CEOs as many of the victims believed senior officers were responsible for not listening to them. What was needed were operation teams with hands on experience of logistics  and how to deal with problems that would arise from Re -Housing, Social Services , Bereavement counselling, Food distribution etc. CEO could play a role by nominating their best officers and put them into the field with resources.The ministers view that we need more Chiefs instead of Indians was proven wrong. 

The following day I went down to South Kilburn  and identified two blocks I believe were of concern, George and Swift House and raised it with the CEO during the next few days neither the CEO, the lead member for housing Cllr Harbi, the lead member for Regeneration Cllr Tatler appeared in South Kilburn, even though they were aware of SK  close proximity to Grenfell and the  fabric of the buildings was similar.

The officers on site did a sterling job on ensuring all survey were carried out.I also recognised that the Leader and Deputy Leader and the MP Tulip Siddiq (who chaired a very well received meeting) turned up to reassure residents.

However the CEO's decision not to support a emergency meeting was in my opinion wrong. It was clear the meeting may have been difficult as many resident needed to vent their  anger and frustration.

The CEO had a number of options of how to respond to the request from the 5 Councillors,Cllr Chan and Cllr Hector requested a meeting via all councillor email which included the Mayor.  

She could have supported the meeting and assist the members who were calling for a meeting to get passed, or to ignore those members of the council and use the bureaucratic tactics to ensure it did not take place. The CEO then compounded the issue saying a meeting would take place but the residents would be barred and the meeting would last no -longer than a ½ hour.I believe the later decision was  the worst decisionand an affront to the democratic process 

I believe the CEO was wrong so I am releasing some of the private emails LINK between the CEO and myself and other officers,which may explain what was going on at the time,means from the bottom-up.

I do have respect for the CEO and I believe she is very competent, however she is not infallible and on this occasion I believe she made a mistake on this occasion.

Overall I believe Brent officers did well following the Grenfell disaster. Therefore I think the CEO should concentrate on where we agree not where we disagree. 

I would ask committee members to refer the report back to allow independent input into the report.

I have other things I wish to raise with the standards  which I will send you later to today before the meeting .

The emails Cllr Duffy refers to can be found on his blog Kilburn Calling HERE

1 comment:

Philip Grant said...


We have seen (in a recent blog) the Chief Executive's advice to the Mayor over (not) holding the special Council meeting in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, including the date and times of the emails between them.

We know that, at the time of those emails, Cllrs. Pavey, Stopp and Warren had backed Cllr. Duffy's request for the Mayor to call a special Full Council meeting.

We now know, from Cllr. Duffy's email above to the Chair of Standards Committee, that Cllrs. Chan and Hector also backed the request for a special meeting in emails. The information now needed is the dates and times of the emails which those two councillors sent.

If at least one of those emails was sent, and received by the Mayor, before the Mayor (or whoever wrote the email on his behalf - see comments on the "Brent CEO's advice to Mayor" blog) accepted the advice from Carolyn Downs not to hold a special meeting, then the special meeting SHOULD have been held.

Even though the Chief Executive may not have known about one or two of the councillors who had notified their support for calling a special meeting, if the Mayor had been notified by at least 5 members in time for a special meeting to be held, that should have been sufficient for the meeting to be called.

If that was the case, the Chief Executive should not have stood in the way of a special meeting, even though it was inconvenient for her and other Council officers, and not the best use of Council resources (in her opinion). Depending on the facts over the timing of the emails from Cllr. Chan and Cllr. Hector, Cllr. Duffy may well have had good grounds for feeling frustrated that the special meeting he had called for was not held.