Thursday, 16 November 2017

Cemetery asbestos exposure being dealt with 'seriously and properly' by Brent Council

Carolyn Downs, Brent Council Chief Executive, has responded to Clrr Duffy's call for an independent investigation into the asbestos waste exposure at Paddington Cemetery. LINK

Ms Downs wrote:
The letter to you from Chris Whyte intended to make clear that we will ask internal audit to undertake an initial investigation and that dependent upon their findings we will consider whether to pass the matter to an independent investigator, the police or any other relevant body or whether there is no evidence to support a claim of wrong doing. Pre-judging the outcome of this initial investigation, or any speculation at this stage about who is to blame, is not appropriate or helpful in my view. Internal audit will be able to pull together the relevant documentation, take a view on the matter and make recommendations. If we do proceed to an external review or some other action then this work will be very helpful to the third party involved at that point.

It is unfortunate that you believe residents will take the view that our colleagues in internal audit, who bring to bear their experience and specialist skills to investigate serious internal and external allegations all the time, which in appropriate cases have resulted in many successful prosecutions, would engage themselves in a “cover up”. I disagree. I am very clear that they will investigate this matter properly and thoroughly and this is entirely the right way for the Council to proceed. Even though any proposed follow [up] action which is an executive function will need to be formally reported to Cabinet, reports from internal audit are within the remit of the Audit Advisory Committee which reports to the Council and not the Cabinet. I do hope that you will feel reassured and able to make clear to any residents that the matter is being dealt with seriously and properly by the Council.

Please also note that the attached report is in the public domain already which covers the health risks related to this serious matter. LINK

Rest assured that the council already has been and will continue to be open and transparent about this matter and is mindful of the need to ensure appropriate scrutiny and accountability.

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