I have two great Scrutiny Chairs who are doing a superb job...we have no need to make any changes.
Thank you for the advert for democracy in the borough.
If the leader of this council has 'my' chairs of scrutiny in his pocket there can be no confidence that the scrutiny process is independent and fair because of the words he used. Because of the words of the leader we now know that scrutiny is a rubber stamping of everything, a 'yes' to everything and no effective scrutiny.
We have found that the most significant factor in determining whether or not scrutiny committees are effective is the organisational culture of a particular council. Having a positive culture where it is universally recognised that scrutiny can play a productive part in the decision-making process is vital and such an approach is common in all of the examples of effective scrutiny that we identified. Senior councillors from both the administration and the opposition, and senior council officers, have a responsibility to set the tone and create an environment that welcomes constructive challenge and democratic accountability. When this does not happen and individuals seek to marginalise scrutiny, there is a risk of damaging the council’s reputation, and missing opportunities to use scrutiny to improve service outcomes. In extreme cases, ineffective scrutiny can contribute to severe service failures.
Our inquiry has identified a number of ways that establishing a positive culture can be made easier. For example, in many authorities, there is no parity of esteem between the executive and scrutiny functions, with a common perception among both members and officers being that the former is more important than the latter. We argue that this relationship should be more balanced and that in order to do so, scrutiny should have a greater independence from the executive. One way that this can be achieved is to change the lines of accountability, with scrutiny committees reporting to Full Council meetings, rather than the executive. We also consider how scrutiny committee chairs might have greater independence in order to dispel any suggestion that they are influenced by partisan motivations. Whilst we believe that there are many effective and impartial scrutiny chairs working across the country, we are concerned that how chairs are appointed can have the potential to contribute to lessening the independence and legitimacy of the scrutiny process.
for Public Scrutiny states that:
Legally, the Chairing and membership of overview and scrutiny committees is a matter for a council’s Annual General Meeting in May. Practically, Chairing in particular is entirely at the discretion of the majority party.
Majority parties can, if they wish, reserve all committee chairships (and vicechairships) to themselves ... the practice of reserving all positions of responsibility to the majority party is something which usually happens by default, and can harm perceptions of scrutiny’s credibility and impartiality.
Chairs from a majority party that are effectively appointed by their executive are just as capable at delivering impartial and effective scrutiny as an opposition councillor, but we have concerns that sometimes chairs can be chosen so as to cause as little disruption as possible for their Leaders. It is vital that the role of scrutiny chair is respected and viewed by all as being a key part of the decision-making process, rather than as a form of political patronage.
City Council where all scrutiny chairs are opposition party members, states
This has taken place under administrations of different parties and we believe that it adds to the clout, effectiveness and independence of the scrutiny process; it gives opposition parties a formally-recognised role in the decision-making process of the authority as a whole, more effective access to officers, and arguably better uses their skills and expertise for the
benefit of the council.
Our Councillor Butt is looking more and more like a spoilt brat and playground bully. His leadership is looking more and more in decline as his arguments hold less and less water, a bit like wealdstone Brook and the River Brent, filling with more and more .... and boy oh boy, doesn't it smell
Some Labour councillors, and not new ones you might add, most obviously need the meaning of 'point of order' explaining to them. After 9 years they still don't know what they are doing!
A few days ago Martin published the Labour Party Accounts showing the close to £100,000 p.a. share the Labour Party in Brent gets out of the over £1 million Brent Council pays out in Councillor allowances.
Power and patronage lies in the hands of the Labour Leader who has a record of removing Councillors who pose the tiniest of challenges to him.
Money for Labour coffers is one reason why Labour take the chairs of all committees including Scrutiny and even all the Consultative Forums. The power of patronage means that Labour Councillors toe the line fearful of Cllr Butt's anger and removal from a PAID position.
Councillor Butt's performance at the AGM (and his obvious ignorance of what independent scrutiny of his (Brent has a Leader's model) decision making simply represent the arrogance of a not very bright man.
It is of course the reputation of Brent that suffers when such an unsuitable person is handed a position clearly beyond his abilities. Incompetence and corruption is the inevitable result.
Let's just remember the following re the current Barham Park planning application and any future decisions re Barham Park - this is why we need scrutiny into how Brent Council is being run and how The Barham Park Trust is being run - we need council tax paying local residents on the Barham Park Trust Committee and cross party councillors on the scrutiny committees, not just all Labour councillors who are towing the Labour Party line...
Cllr Mo Butt, Leader of Brent Council is currently chair of the Barham Park Trust which is trying to get protective covenants removed for this development, they should instead be protecting this historic park!
His brother Cllr Saqib Butt and his brother-in-law Cllr Ajmal Akram are both on the planning committee.
Cllr Mili Patel is Deputy Leader of the Council and she is also on the Barham Park Trust while her husband is Cllr Matt Kelcher is Chair of the Planning Committee.
Cllr Mo Butt's fellow Tokyngton Cllr, Krupa Sheth, is also on the Barham Park Trust while her uncle Cllr Ketan Sheth is a Wembley Central councillor - Barham Park was recently moved into Wembley Central ward due to boundary changes.
Another Wembley Central Cllr Rajan-Seelan is also on the Planning Committee.
This needs full disclosure and these seemingly 'compromised' councillors should not be able to decide on this planning application.
Cllr Miller is so pathetic tone policing
Can somebody please put the Leader of Brent Council on a course for Public speaking, as er, umm, but but but, every other word proves he is absolutely rubbish. The diction, and pronunciation by some members is an abomination to the English Language.
If there was an Olympic Medal for BS, then Butt would be a World Class winner. He ums and err's because he is unsure of what he's talking about, and clearly in a position above his pay grade. Out of his depth and rowing up Schitts Creek the wrong way without a paddle.
Watching the new lady Mayor bumble her way through proceedings, constantly being prompted and coaxed as to what to say, was also embarrassing to watch. She too could probably do with some extra tuition on how to fulfil her role.
Why are you referring to her as the 'lady Mayor'? Isn't she just The Mayor same as any male Mayor would be???
The previous mayor was no better - how do they get voted in?
It's patronage for their votes, ie. I'll keep you in power if you let me be Mayor
The Council is now so incestuous, yet the Labour supporting dimwits keep voting them in. If you want change then do the right thing come voting day.
Trouble is local people vote in local elections based on national issues - what happens in Parliament is nothing to do with what happens in Brent.
You should vote in local elections based on whether you think your local council is being properly run, things like whether dangerous potholes are repaired, whether flytippers are caught etc!
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