Saturday 11 February 2023

Recycling and street cleansing call-in refused by Brent CE0

 The 'call-in' of Cabinet decisions by Labour backbenchers and opposition councillors is one of the few ways that the powerful Cabinet can be held to account. Opposition councillors called-in the decision on the award of the new recycling, waste collection and street cleansings to Veolia for further consideration LINK but this was refused by Carolyn Downs, the out-going CEO in this email:

As you are aware, in accordance with the Constitution the call-in request in respect of the Cabinet decision to award the Integrated Street Cleansing, Waste Collections and Winter Maintenance Services Contract has been sent to me to decide if its valid.  As required by the Constitution I have consulted with the council’s statutory Scrutiny Officer and the Monitoring Officer in considering this issue


One criterion for validity of a call-in request is as follows:


Have the reasons for calling in the decision already been discussed by the Scrutiny Committee?  If the reasons for calling in the decision have been discussed by the Scrutiny Committee prior to the decision being made the call-in will not be valid,


The Resources and Public Realm Scrutiny Committee met on 15 December 2022 to consider and discuss a report called Redefining Local Services: Update on the Integrated Street Cleansing, Waste Collections and Winter Maintenance Services Contract Procurement.  This was the only substantive item on the agenda for the meeting which lasted 3 hours and so there was extensive discussion by the committee in respect of procurement including the specification and the consultation undertaken, both the process and outcome.


The minutes of the meeting reflect specific discussion in relation to use of sacks for some recyclable materials and the “intelligence led” street cleaning service through which any ‘headers’ issues can be mitigated) with which the call-in request is particularly concerned.   Indeed, this is also reflected in the call-in request itself.  The minutes also reflect discussion of the consultation undertaken.


While Cabinet is not obliged to accept recommendations from Scrutiny Committee, it is worth noting that Cabinet did agree to investigate further the use of sacks and possible alternatives. 


The call-in request also refers to the structure of the procurement (whether the contract could have been split into smaller areas) which was not part of the Scrutiny Committee discussions.  However, there is no proposal for alternative action that could now be implemented put forward in the request.  This does not meet the requirement that a valid call-in request must:


  • include the member’s suggested alternative proposals, action, or resolution of the matter


In view of the above, I am afraid I am not able to accept your request as a valid call-in.




Anonymous said...

No democracy in Bent Council

Anonymous said...

They didn't listen to residents on their 'consultation' and the Wembley Road Show was only announced on their website on the day it was taking place which meant a lot of residents had no chance at all of attending it - clearly the decision was made before their 'consultation' and it was just a box ticking exercise!

Anonymous said...

Brent's leadership don't like being challenged, they even change the rules to prevent challenges progressing and if necessary will waste hundreds of thousands of pounds to win

Paul Lorber said...

It was only after she made her decision that the Chief Executive became aware that when I went to the previous meeting which discussed these changes to make representations on behalf of residents I represent in Sudbury (one of the key duties of a Councillor is to represent their residents - a simple fact not recognised by some Labour Chairs) I was not allowed to speak and the Chair questioned as to why I was there.

Sadly just like the so called Brent Council 'consultations' the matter of effective Scrutiny is also just a 'sham'.

Anonymous said...

Scrutiny, no Scrutiny in Bent