In the light of the out-standing electors' objections to Brent Council's accounts over the Cara Davani payout these are intriguing items on Tuesday's General Purposes Committee agenda. The Committee is chaired by Brent Council leader Muhammed Butt and consists of 6 other members of the Cabinet plus John Warren, leader of the Conservative Group:
7. Exclusion of Press and Public
The following items are not for publication as they relate to the following category of exempt information as specified under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, namely:
1. Information relating to any individual.
2. Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.
3. Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
4. Information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matter arising between the authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office holders under, the authority.
5. Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings.
6. Information which reveals that the authority proposes –
(a) to give under any enactment a notice under or by virtue of which requirements
are imposed on a person; or
(b) to make an order or direction under any enactment
7. Information relating to any action taken or to be taken in connection with the prevention, investigation or prosecution of crime.
The paper informs the Committee of the contractual costs of redundancy and early retirement of the Director of HR and OD.
The press and public are to be excluded from this item at General Purposes Committee, and the report is to remain secret because it contains 'information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual.'
However, agenda item 8 reveals that identity, as Brent only has one Director of HR and Organisational Development, David Veale. He only took up post in July 2016 [a year after his predecessor, Cara Davani had been given her (allegedly unlawful) pay-off of £157,610]. Now he is apparently being given an early retirement / redundancy package!
What is going on in HR at Brent? And will Mildred Phillips (Cara Davani's protege) again take over acting as Brent's top HR officer?
Interesting isn't it.
What's going on now then.
Think that I'll apply for this job next .... I could do with a nice handy pay out.
Well they've had their meeting with it's secret session. Now they should let us know what is going on.....after all it is our money they are spending.
It was our money they were spending when they paid Cara Davani £157k in June 2015, but Cllr. Butt and his then "interim" Chief Executive, Christine Gilbert, refused to admit whether anything had been paid to her, let alone how much it was!
As a result, the other councillors had no opportunity to question whether this was a misuse of Brent Council funds. It wasn't until Brent's 2015/16 accounts were published a year later that the hidden facts came out.
The only way then that this £157,610 pay-off could be challenged was by objecting to those accounts, which is what five local electors did in August 2016. We are still waiting to find out whether or not the Council's auditor will decide that the payment was unlawful.
By being secretive, Brent's Leader is actually costing Council Tax payers more money than if his colleagues could properly scrutinise what is going on behind closed doors.
And this is what it so disgraceful.
Butt and his cohort must have ot brought home to them very firmly that they can be as casual as they like when spending their own money but if they are spending ours we have a right in saying how it is spent and questioning whether we are getting the best value for money and the most appropriate services.
I have been sent the following comment via email from Anonymous: I understand that the pay off to David Veale,including pension deal,is £137,000.It begs the question as to why the appointment was made in the first place - only a year or so earlier?I also understand that there is no formal agreement that prevents him returning as a consultant....watch this space!!
The minutes of this 21 November meeting of General Purposes Committee have now appeared, with the agenda for its 6 December 2017 meeting. They record:
Althea Loderick (Strategic Director Resources) introduced a report seeking approval to the contractual redundancy and early retirement costs for the Director of Human Resources and Occupational Development.
The Committee noted that the proposed severance arrangements had arisen as a result of a restructuring of the Senior Management Team within Resources, approved by Cabinet on 23 October 2017.
Under the Localism Act 2011 there was a requirement for severance packages above a set financial threshold (taking account of any capital costs payable to the pension scheme) to be formally approved by Council or a Committee appointed for that purpose. The severance arrangements detailed within the report were therefore being presented to General Purposes Committee for approval.
In response to queries raised by Members, further details were provided on the calculation of the capital costs payable to the pension scheme as part of the overall arrangements detailed within the report. In addition, clarification was provided on the timing of the senior management team restructure within Resources, which members were advised had been designed to deliver further capacity on key corporate priorities whilst generating additional efficiencies. Clarification was also provided in relation to future consultancy activity.
RESOLVED that the Committee approve the contractual redundancy, severance
and capital costs of early release of pension as detailed within the report, relating to the termination of employment of the Director of Human Resources and Occupational Development on the grounds of redundancy.'
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