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Jun 29 2014

Harrow Council’s Cabinet Meeting – June 26, 2014

harrow_council_logoAl Murray lookalike, Cllr Dave now safely ensconced as Leader of the Council, took his seat for the first time to chair his Cabinet meeting on June 26. Clearly, cabinet meetings are going to be a lot shorter, now that he refuses to have any scrutiny from the opposition group on his cabinet – previous Leaders have had a number of not-voting executive seats given to opposition groups, so that they can ask questions and provide the additional scrutiny and questioning that’s currently missing.

The meeting itself kicked off at 6.30, and closed 53 minutes later, having cut short the councillor questions and public questions – again, recent Cabinet meetings have taken a view that public questioning is an essential part of an open, and honest council, but that no longer seems the case. We had expected it be to be shifted back a little, following a tweet from @sachrshah when the meeting was originally moved to 6.30:

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Confusion continues, if the minutes are anything to go by. According to the minute #7 (page 3 of this document), which refers to ‘recommendation 3’  concerning the Harrow Pupil Referral Unit, only two options were shown in the Reports Pack (item #8, page 33 of this document). What’s more worrying is that the Cabinet decided that Call-in needn’t apply – this is a process where it can be looked at again, if councillors and/or residents object. So, that decision has been pretty much steamrollered through. No consultation. So much for transparency.

In fact, and we’re going slightly off-topic here, removal of transparency seems to be a common theme over the last four weeks. A request to meet with Carol Cutler, Director of Business Transformation and Customer Services, was swiftly referred to the Council’s PR team, who rejected that request. Since, there’s been a deafening silence. Given the openness experienced just over a month ago, it’s logical to assume that this shuttering of communication channels is coming from the administration, and not officers themselves. Likewise, a request to meet with Cllr David Perry has also been ignored. But then, since he’s still got a full-time job, which he doesn’t seem to be quitting, maybe he simply doesn’t have the time. After all, even Cllr Sachin Shah (@sachrshah) says he spends 20-25 hours a week on Council business. And that was when his group was in opposition:

201406629_sach_tweet_2And what happened to the requests from residents to stream the meetings over the internet, live and for free? Nothing. It’s being discussed between Dave and officers. Still.

The Conservatives are, imaginably, incandescent with rage with it all, judging by this stream of tweets from @councillorsuzie that night:

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It’s going to be an interesting four years.

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3 comments

  1. Harrow Dude

    As Lance Corporal Jack Jones once said “They don’t like it up ’em!”

  2. the red mirror

    well said dude

  3. Concerned Harrovian

    Thank goodness for Paul Boakes and his FOI requests because it looks as if the kind offer by Ricky 123 to stream Council meetings (so residents would know what is going/or not going on in Council meetings) is not going to be taken up.

    The lack of transparency makes voters suspicious and Harrow Dude you are right residents certainly do not like it up em. REMEMBER HARROW VOTERS VOTE COUNCILLORS IN AND THEY CAN VOTE THEM OUT. Why is there such secrecy? What don’t they want voters to know? The Council meetings seem to be operating like freemason meetings with nods, winks and handshakes. Let us hope they’re not dressing up in freemason robes as well.

    There may be no untoward activity but in the interests of transparency let voters see what is happening in meetings and put them on the internet.

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