Jul 05 2013

Constitution Confusion on Harrow Council’s Website

The Council’s Constitution is essentially the ‘bible’ to all that the Council does. So you’d imagine it would be easy enough to find the definitive version on the Council’s newly tarted-up website?

Alas, no.

Firstly, you can use the search function, which takes you here if you click the first result, and presents a number of links to other PDF files for each section, which, it says, were “updated in September 2012”. Confusingly, the constitution index is dated November 2011.

Or, you can take the second approach, and look in the Council and Democracy section, to find the library entry for the constitution, which takes here you to a version dated March 2012.

Interesting that ‘hard core labour activist’ @Matt333Lloyd (who, incidentally, tried to block @iharrow from following him on Twitter) couldn’t find at least one of these versions:


Footnote: the links above may well change as the council reacts to this story.

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  1. ewf

    I found the constitution by googling “Harrow Council Constitution.”

  2. …which would (currently) have found you the wrong one. See the problem?

  3. Jeremy Zeid UKIP Harrow

    And once again the Council prove that they shouldn’t be allowed to run a bath. Do these MORONS not TEST the new website before going live? It’s a bloody good job they don’t design cars or we’d all be dead, and here they are pontification on all and sundry as to how they know/it all and better than anyone else.

    No wonder public attendance at Council apart from a few diehards is virtually nonexistent and that election turnouts are falling….. Unless that is the agenda, to so disgust the decent majority so they don’t vote, while those in receipt of tax funded largesse, grants and special privileges use their often postal votes to reinstall the corrupt, the lazy and the arrogant.

    Next years local are going to be very interesting. Don’t expect me to pull any punches.

  4. john p hobbs

    ewf try googling Harrow council constipation predictive should take you straight there .

  5. Praxis Reform

    Mr Zeid has a very good point here, a lot more people would probably take an interest in what the Council was doing if they could make sense of the website.

    Heck, it wasn’t until all the recent furore over the recent budget, with Councillors etc. tweeting that Harrow residents should come and see what was going on that I realised that the public were even _allowed_ to observe Council meetings

  6. john p hobbs

    I am looking forward to the next one , my grammar aint to good my spelling is atrowshus but boy can I shout …. when put out . Time to shout now .

  7. Praxis Reform

    Shouting… Nice idea, till you get yourself labelled as a “domestic extremist” and carted off by the Police or some more shadowy Government agency… I know the weather is pretty hot at the moment, but getting waterboarded seems a rather extreme way to cool down.

  8. j p hobbs

    Well all of the Harrow police I have met lately seem to agree with me 100% maybe they have had enough as have our BRAVE badly treated troops . Now that’s an idea for a new Government , a non Arab spring . Police & Forces and it would make a good film .
    PS , I ACTUALLY SHOUT QUIETLY , now I can have my say on here . Thanks to Paul great job .

  9. Praxis Reform

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly *not* saying don’t kick up a fuss, just be careful how you do it. I think we all know just how useless and self-serving most politicians are, both locally and nationally. I suspect this is because the Conservatives are in the pay of the Banksters, whilst Labour are in the pay of the Trade Unions (I’ll be very interested to see if Harrow’s new Independent Labour group can make a better fist of things, but I digress here).

    Most importantly though, don’t get fooled by the law of small numbers. Harrow police are a fairly small group, and as such they can be easily ignored by the Politicians. Similarly, nearly everyone that comments at iHarrow wants to see change in some form or other, and whilst Paul does a first rate job of tolerating us all venting our spleens, we’re only a small fraction of Harrow’s population – and so the changes we each want to see need to be scaled up into bigger actions in the outside world – thus it’s easy to delude yourself that anyone else actually gives a stuff about your issue.

    When you realise this fact, the instinctive reaction is to make a lot of noise in the hope that people will see that you are outraged and “someone” should do “something”, at which point you lose credibility, since the lazy (but by no means stupid) Politicians can simply point and laugh saying “look at that silly old fool making a lot of noise”… or invent some trumped up claim (we caught him talking about organizing a non Arab spring to political malcontents on the internet) in order to have you taken away by your buddies in the Police and labelled a Terrorist, etc. Councils regularly use laws brought in to prevent terrorism to spy on dog walkers who might not be clearing up after their pets, or to check if parents are sending their kids to a school in the wrong catchment area, so don’t think for a second that I’m being dramatic here – especially if you’re presenting a threat to their ability to turn old rope into cash.

    The changes to lights you’ve mentioned a few times seems like a worthwhile cause to pursue (my sister suffered similar problems when she lived here), but I have the feeling that you aren’t really focusing your efforts, and so I can imagine Harrow’s politician’s sitting back with their cigars and brandy saying “Mr Hobbs is all light and no heat, if we ignore him long enough, he’ll get fed up and go away…” n.b. Politicians should really only be a last resort anyway – a lot of what I read in occasional blog postings that Harrow’s Councillors make sounds to me like they get involved with issues that could probably be more quickly and effective dealt with by the resident calling the Council main switchboard rather than a Councillor.

    So, try to find out who specifically is in charge of these lights (could be the council, the highways agency or some other 3rd party), speak to them and explain the situation clearly, highlight the inconvenience they are causing. If you have a better solution, give it to them – since it’s easy for people to get caught up in a hive mindset where they don’t realise the effects of what they are doing, simply don’t have a better answer, or just haven’t considered the matter a high enough priority to do anything about yet.

    The important point here is don’t settle for the first bod you speak to; if you don’t get a sensible answer, ask to speak to the boss and try again. If you still don’t get a sensible answer keep trying with people up the chain till you get to the Directors. People at the top of bureaucracies like to surround themselves with “a wall of idiots”, since it removes any potential challenge to their leadership, allows them to blame someone else for their incompetence and stops complaints by getting you tangled in a web of “But things have always been that way”, “I don’t think you can change that”, “It’s not policy”, “we don’t have the authority”, “you’ll have to fill out a dozen forms first”, “Nobody complained before”, “I’ll have to check and get back to you”, “You’re the only one complaining”, etc. etc.

    Eventually, you’ll get an authoritative answer along the lines of “There’s a law in place that says we have to do that way”, or someone will manage to convince you that you’re wrong. Be very cautious of any excuse that involves Health & Safety since this is a regular scapegoat to blame for corporate incompetence. Ask to see the risk assessments and try find out what hazard the originator of the diktat was trying to guard against.

    At this point, you’ve either learned something new or you start speaking to the Politicians – you pay their not ungenerous wages out of your taxes, so they should help you – If instead they give you a load of bull about why they can’t do what you want, or worse, ignore you, then your target changes to the specific Politician them self, because they have effectively just told you that they’re unfit for office. Prepare for the long haul, get writing letters, bring in the Press and other media, organize a protest if you have enough people, set up a website, just have the manners to tell your opponent that you will do what ever it takes to get heard.

    With your politician now “on-side”, they should be able to guide you as how they can best make the change you want (or convince you that you’re wrong). At this point it should just be like instructing a Tradesman – they have a job to do and you expect them to get on and do it, not sit about all day slurping tea and eating all your biscuits. Obviously, just like a team of lazy builders, politicians will slope off back to the kettle as soon as you turn your back, but that’s just a matter of keeping an eye on them.

  10. john p hobbs

    Well I am not sure what lights you are talking about my objection is to the stealth camera at Wealdstone Station and the 1,700 tickets it sent to motorist in one year and that’s just one of four cameras in a few hundred yards raising about £100,000 thats with me using the lowest fine to be generous .
    I don’t know why most local Politicians are just ignoring this I have tried the Conservatives and the council just ignored their request made under the FOI , the Lib Dems said they would look into it I received their news letter this morning not a whisper about it , I emailed a few local papers only one reporter replied and asked me to meet their photographer at the Station i did this in pouring rain and very cold weather , went home and never heard another peep i phoned this reporter several times and left messages but never got an answer.
    I have had a right old gripe on this forum seen by many councillors I am sure , the only one to show interest and give me any backing is Jeremy I can see why the support for UKIP is rocketing in Harrow Weald . Beware you others or you will be also runs . I believe every other thread on here is mentioned in todays local papers , I feel like a Leper !!!!! can you get me one ?

  11. Praxis Reform

    Somehow I got it into my head that it was a traffic light problem, but that just goes to show how much attention people pay to issues that don’t directly effect them.

    Anyway, similarly to when you write to the press, you have to almost write the story for the reporter, when you write to a politician you need to tell them who you’ve spoken with, and who is responsible for the camera. They don’t want to be troubled finding out very basic information like that for themselves, and if you haven’t been determined enough to find out first, you probably won’t be determined enough to see things through to the end…

    Looking at Harrow council’s website the first thing you find is that traffic enforcement in Harrow is the responsibility of “The London Safety Camera Partnership”, which turns out to be part of the Mayor’s office, so it’s doubtful Harrow’s Councillors could help you even if they wanted to.

    The LSCP website is http://www.lscp.org.uk/ or phone 0207 601 2757, since it seems to have been offline for a while now.

    A quick Google turns up an article giving the technical specs of Harrow’s camera system and highlights LB Harrow’s inability to tell the difference between a minor motoring offence and a major crime:

    Also, another article from 2010 might be of interest:

    The organization mentioned in that article is:
    http://www.penaltychargenotice.co.uk/ I’m sure they’ll have plenty more advice for you.

    If you’re still intent on pressing matters with councillors, then the camera likely falls into Marlborough ward, so you’ll probably want to speak to:
    Cllr Krishna James (krishna.james@harrow.gov.uk)
    Cllr Varsha Parmar (varsha.parmar@harrow.gov.uk)
    Cllr David Perry (david.perry@harrow.gov.uk)

    However, since the camera seems to fall under the mayoralty, your better bet (politically) is likely to be Harrow’s London Assembly Member, Navin Shah (navin.shah@london.gov.uk)

    That little lot should give you a few ideas to try

  12. john p hobbs

    Thanks for the info as you can see I do persevere it took me a long time to get the stats they seem to have ignored Bob Blackman as he tried quite some time for me , I was passed thru several names but decided to stay after moneybags Mick , I am not even trying to get money back but I just think people should be aware as its mostly the elderly or their carers that are getting caught by this deliberate and dishonest trap and scam . do you know how the rules stand , this camera affects traffic coming from four major roads at the !!! TRAFFIC LIGHTS !!! and only one direction has a warning sign it would be nice if this were illegal and they had to give refunds . It would help a lot of pensioners pay LABOURS INCREASED TAXES . CHEERS JP

  13. Praxis Reform

    I’m not a fan of CCTV at the best of times, but my concern is for the general state of the Harrow area, which seems to be going downhill pretty fast, with not much action to arrest that state of affairs.

    Looking at old quotes from the local papers at the time the Conservatives introduced all these cameras, there’s a lot of talk from Cllr Hall about the need to keep traffic moving and stop drivers stopping (even for a short while).

    Now, if this had been followed up with more car parking spaces, that were priced comparably to the big shopping centres, this might not have become such a problem.

    However, now we’re faced with the problem that drivers have effectively been forced out of Harrow for fear of getting massive fines or having to drive round for ages looking for a cheap parking spot.

    The upshot being that unless drivers absolutely must go to Harrow (the elderly or their carers, is a good example), people will reason why should I bother with all that nonsense, I’ll just go to the big out of town shopping centre instead, where the parking is cheaper, and I’m unlikely to get clobbered for some minor misdemeanour.

    As a result, we see more and more local shops going to the wall, because the council thinks the answer to all it’s problems is simply to hike prices up, penalise drivers or reach a little bit deeper into resident’s pockets to make up for the shortfall.

    A bit of entrepreneurial thinking tells you that not making things difficult for drivers and visitors to Harrow would encourage people to visit regularly, spend more money and support the local economy; with the result that everyone benefits from having more shops and businesses, etc. open in the area, which in turn would provide better facilities to local people, create more jobs and make Harrow a desirable place to live, starting a virtuous cycle, rather than the depressing downward downward spiral that the Council is encouraging at the moment.

  14. john p hobbs

    Praxis Reform Thanks
    Exactly my thoughts , I now drive to Edgware to shop massive car park & shopping centre first two hours parking free , its only a ten minute drive from Harrow Weald , buses and trains to most places and I have not seen one stealth camera its like a breath of fresh air , but then I do believe its Barnet not Harrow . My elderly friend has moved to Winslow Buckinghamshire from Harrow about a year ago , plenty of free parking no massive Supermarket loads of little shops and I didn’t see one of them empty or boarded up , a breath of fresh air . Harrow is dying .
    Thank you again PRAXIS REFORM well put . jp

  15. j p hobbs

    Now this rabble of misfits are cutting the taxi service for the elderly and disabled why don’t you be honest and have us all put down…. oh no then there will be no one to screw for your ill gotten gains , shame on you all , this will all come back at you next year for the elections and I will devote all of my time helping make sure it does . We built this country you are now destroying ,,,, sorry have destroyed . j p hobbs

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