Thursday 7 December 2017

Brent CEO attempts to clarify errors in FoI response on Butt's meetings with developers

Carolyn Downs, Brent Council CEO, has replied to Philip Grant's email about Cllr Muhammed Butt's meetings with developers and the accuracy of the FoI answer provided to Andrew Linnie LINK:
Further to your email, all of the information that was provided in the FoI has been checked, and where any was found to be incorrect, we have established how the error occurred.

In the FOI response, two meetings were referenced;

1)      5th April 2017; this meeting actually took place on 5th April 2016*. It was attended by Cllr Butt and Aktar Choudhury. The Executive Assistant who checked through Mr Choudhury’s outlook records accidentally typed the wrong year, and the error was then carried forward into the FOI response. The email chain that lead to this error has been seen. The diaries of the attendees have been cross referenced to confirm the date the meeting actually took place.

2)      23rd May 2017 - this meeting took place at the time and date stated in the FOI, and the attendees were correctly stated**.

The FOI also highlighted hospitality received by Cllrs Butt and Tatler from R55’s representatives, and the declaration forms and the various diaries to confirm the details of this have been checked. The hospitality records show that this meal was registered on the 10th May 2017. The FoI incorrectly used this as the date that the hospitality was accepted. However, the form correctly declares that the meal took place on 9th May 2017, and attendee diary records confirm this.

There are no formal minutes of the discussions that took place. Aktar Choudhury was the only officer present at the meeting on 5th April 2016, and he confirms that no note exists of this meeting. Amar Dave did make a handwritten note of the meeting he and Aktar attended on 23rd May 2017, which I have read.
* The question arises as to if this meeting did indeed take place on 5th April 2016 why did the October 31st FoI response say that 'the meeting was also attended by Amar Dave (Strategic Director - Environment and Regeneration)' when Dave although appointed in March 2016 did not take up the post until June 2016?

 ** On the meeting that was held on May 23rd 2017, the day before the Planning Committee where Downs said that Dave made a handwritten note, why did the FoI response on October 31st not include those notes?

Andrew Linnie, who  made the FoI request said, 'So the meeting that raised eyebrows did in fact take place on that day, and though they have a handwritten note they failed to release it.  Doesn't paint any better a picture!'

Linnie confirmed that despite Butt's letter to Philip Grant of December 1st stating that 'clarification and an apology is in the process of being issued' LINK as the author of the FoI he has still not heard anything from the Council.
It is not only May's government that is a shambles.


Anonymous said...

If Dave could not have attended on 5th April 2016 as he was not in post until June, it suggests that either the 2016 date is STILL wrong or there has been fabrication.

Concerned said...

Gets more interesting dunnit.
(I) I think the handwritten notes should be released.
(ii) when was the suggestion of the height limit for the Alperton Development Area being able to be breached, especially by the degree that it was. Who suggested it, who agreed to it and when (Butts memory can't be that bad ....if it is he's not fit to be in office.
(iii) I feel that the members of the planning committee who voted for this should also be asked why they agreed to such a breach of the limits and what they believed would be the benefit to the area of doing so.

Anonymous said...

This is a bit like playing ping pong isn't it and I hate to tell Butt that the way it's going it will be game,set and match to us.
If Butt's memory is so poor perhaps we shall also need to ask questions of Cllr Tatler and the Council Officers involved.