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Nov 09 2016

Harrow Council: Execs out of control?

harrow_council_broken_2According to the minutes of the Chief Officers’ Employment Panel from November 1, 2016, it seems that the council’s Corporate Director, Community, feels that the rules of recruitment process don’t apply to him.

The function of the panel – chaired by interim leader, Cllr Sachin Shah, is approve employment of Chief Officers – pretty much what the title says. So when the council looks to recruit a chief officer, such as the Divisional Director of Housing, you’d expect any properly functioning council to seek approval to do such recruitment to the panel. In fact, this is made clear under section (f) of the ‘purpose of committee’ pages: “to approve remuneration packages of £100,000 or over for any Council post.”

But not in Harrow.

The Corporate Director, Community, seems to have ignored due process, and gone out to commence recruitment without gathering such approval up front, perhaps relying on the old adage that it’s better to seek forgiveness than permission – which doesn’t necessarily apply when you’re possibly spending over £114,000 of residents’ money.

The minutes go on to say, “The Member [presumably one of the Conservative members, perhaps the only people in the room trying to not waste money] expressed the view that there was a lack of detail in the report, no comparison of the two grades, no comparison in terms of costs and no indication of savings in terms of agency costs.”

They continue, “A Member [presumably the same one as above] questioned why Cabinet Members had not highlighted the remuneration package for this post and stated that Members should be aware of the recruitment process and alerted officers. Another Member [again, probably Conservative] expressed concern that candidates had been applying for a role without the financial arrangements in place.”

The Corporate Director, Community, said he had “been unaware of the need to seek the Panel’s approval to the remuneration package.” So that’s alright then.

Note: Harrow’s stock of council housing is smaller than Brent’s (who are also paying up to £114,000).

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5 comments

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  1. Someonewhocares

    Ah, so the Corporate Director involved was ‘unaware’ of the rules. And just what is *he* paid to care so little about the established ‘approval’ rules then? Incredible that someone with the word ‘Community’ in his title should be so clueless about *involving others* with the process; Inept (at best).

    Edit; Looks like the Director here is actually Tom McC; Only been here 11 months (from Hackney) so ”just a ‘newbie’ mistake” maybe(?); Salary £130K

  2. F.D.Billson

    Whats new! This ranks with the usual shananigans that Harrow council gets up to with taxpayers money. The only answer is removal of this wretched group of Labour councillors from out of our sight.

  3. red mirror

    arses will not depart from couches so don’t bemoan the corporate slouches .in other words people get the governments they deserve ENJOY.

  4. Smithy

    The real question is why do official council minutes never, ever mention the names of those that spoke. Surely the whole point of minutes and the committee process is to promote transparency? How do residents make informed judgements about their elected representatives come election time when the council hides all details of their activity?

    1. Someonewhocares

      That’s an excellent question: ‘A *member* said this’ and ‘a *member* said that’ in such minutes is indeed borderline concealment – and yet the Council frequently preaches *accountability*, *responsibility* and so on. Do they mean US and not THEM?

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