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Sep 13 2014

Labour’s Move from Neighbourhood Champions to Community Champions Explained

harrow_council_logoAt last, Harrow Labour’s unexplained renaming of Susan Hall’s successful Neightbourhood Champions scheme has finally been subtly revealed.

According to the most recent Neighbourhood Champions’ newsletter, Neighbourhood Champions could soon see their roles expanded to “…getting involved in removing litter from country paths” and “…river cleaning.” Clearly, Dave’s planning a whole host of cuts: next he’ll be looking for volunteers to help work a 40-hour week at the council so he can save on full time jobs.

Dave’s Champions could also be rubbing cheek to jowl with “…other groups in the area, such as guiding and scout movements.” Fabulous. Just when we thought child labour had all but disappeared, it looks like he’ll be roping them into it. Got a few chimneys to send ’em up, Dave?

The only (possible) bright bit of news is that he wants to “review the training” to “ensure it provides you the skills to be a Community Champion” – which sounds awfully like how to use a bin bag, a pair of gloves, and to pick up dog crap from parks.

There are many, many things Dave could be expending his energy on: like getting his council to treat residents with a modicum of respect once in a while, or engaging in dialogue with those of us outside the mainstream free press.

Shabby Dave. Shabby.

 

 

 

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  1. Concerned Harrovian

    You couldn’t make it up. He wants volunteers to spend vast amounts of time on these jobs UNPAID! So Neighbourhood Champions will be paying council tax for the privilege of working for the council for free. When this is revealed at the Champions conference I expect most people will vote with their feet.

    He works two days a week on council business and gets paid. Would someone let us know what salary Dave receives? I expect councillors to lead by example. So how many councillors will be out at weekends dredging the River Pinn and the Wealdstone Brook.

    Also will they be out in Harrow’s shopping areas with black, plastic sacks picking up rubbish.

    Would you publish any photographs you have of councillors doing these jobs as residents would like to see what is involved.

  2. sonoo malkani

    Can’t see any more folk wishing to join this scheme with ideas which beggar belief.In fact,many might consider giving up in sheer disgust.This would be tragic especially as the group in its existing form ,thus far ,has been an asset to our borough since its inception.These Neighbourhood Champions have provided great support in our policing as well.With cuts in our street lighting as well,we are looking at trouble on this front as well.I hope our policing and crime portfolio holder will look into this seriously.

    The kind of consultation envisaged at the Conference,is ill thought-out and could badly backfire on those hoping to float the ridiculous ideas making the rounds.

    Time to eat humble pie and seek support from those who have willingly helped serve our neighbourhoods in a genuine and sincere spirit.We aren’t here to pick litter or clean any mess.These are services for which we already pay quite substantially through our Council taxes..

  3. PraxisReform

    Dave’s scheme makes more sense than the previous Neighbourhood Champions lunacy did, which seems to have cost circa £100/head in order to teach people how to use a website and make phone calls, when there’s already the excellent and very simple to use http://fixmystreet.com/ that seems to do everything the Neighbourhood Champions wheeze did, minus billing Harrow taxpayers £100,000 p.a. in running costs.

    However, Dave seems to have forgotten that most people are busy with paying work – and even if there are some retired people, unemployed people or stay-home mums that want to get out and pick up litter or clear rivers – they won’t have the training, experience and equipment that properly trained contractors will, so the council will have to arrange all the task training, heath and safety and first aid for the volunteers, in case someone falls into this river or cuts themselves picking up some broken glass etc.

    So, I suspect that whereas a professional business would descend on the task with dozens of trained, efficient, experienced staff, Dave will find that he has a small handful of untrained, inexperienced, part-time volunteers working an hour or two here and there. Thus the tasks will take much longer to complete whilst the volunteers gain experience and pick up speed.

    The scheme will likely have more hidden costs in respect of having to train many more people and provide many more sets of protective equipment, etc. for people that are effectively there for the change of scenery, to get a little exercise, meet new people or whatever else motivates volunteers, rather than the potential of a cash bonus / promotion if they work hard and beat their targets.

    But, how much money is this really going to save? I see people advertising gardening services for £10/hour so I’m guessing that litter picking is going to pay less than that… Therefore, even if Dave can convince 1,000 people to do an average 2 hours unpaid tidying up each, he’s only going to save £20,000 p.a. less the costs of training 1,000 people and supplying them all with protective equipment, and then having to deal with the potential outcomes of using less skilled people.

    Relative to the £568 Million that it costs the council to run, the saving is peanuts. Whilst at the same time it will be taking resources away from charities, who are already complaining that the financial crisis, cuts and austerity is taking away from the amount of donations and volunteers that they used to get.

  4. Concerned Harrovian

    Praxis

    You have made some very good points. Perhaps they ought to employ you as a PR consultant. I understand there is a job going and you could command a substantial salary. The administration seems to be in dire need of someone who could give them some common sense. It would appear that sense is something that is not common at the Council.

    Looking forward to seeing pictures of Dave (on the two days he works) in his waders in the River Pinn or the Wealdstone Brook.

    Have they thought about the dangers of Weil’s disease when cleaning out rivers? Also when volunteers are shovelling grit if they place it wrongly they could damage cars and cause accidents. How much will the insurance cost?

    It seems they are deskilling the people trained to do the various jobs by saying any ordinary Joe could do the jobs.

    Would like to hear from any Council employees who do these jobs to hear what their opinions are about this. It would have to be anonymously because I would not want them to put their jobs at risk.

    Perhaps Paul could find out what council employees think about untrained people doing these jobs.

    1. PraxisReform

      Concerned,

      I’m touched by your vote of confidence, but I fear that we may have a slight misunderstanding. It’s Councillors jobs to set policy for the way that the borough operates; and whilst I’d hope that they take on board some of my suggestions, I suspect that more often than not my ideas are difficult for them to handle.

      So, whilst I’m tempted by the big salary, the job of the PR consultant is to reframe the “bad” things that the council does into “good” things, and since I have to both live in Harrow and live with my conscience, I wouldn’t find it very fulfilling to spend my days sending you guys press releases like these:

      “New Council policy of leaving parks unlocked and grass uncut attracts more butterflies and wildlife to the area, whilst allowing greater freedom for midnight dog walkers.”

      “Innovative plan to close the libraries in Harrow will help boost profits at local bookshops.”

      “Not sweeping the streets has resulted in a massive decline in the amount of rubbish sent to landfill – Big savings all round.”

  5. Concerned Harrovian

    Yes, I can see why anyone with principles would find it difficult to take money, to lie through their teeth,.to put the administration a good light.

    I am sure the spin you have put on their actions is much more imaginative than anything they could come up with to explain the cuts and it is also witty. Thanks for giving me something to laugh about.

  6. Concerned Harrovian

    Reduce grass cutting in public spaces.

    Perhaps they should put goats and cows into the parks to keep the grass short. They could then charge children to see a pets corner. Another profitable side line could be selling the milk from these animals. Looked after and milked by volunteers of course.

    Reduce the number of staff answering the main switchboard. This means the average waiting time will increase.

    If the number of staff answering the telephones is reduced it means fewer residents can get through to either request things to be done or complain. Therefore the level of satisfaction with council services will rise because fewer people will be able to ask for things to be done or register a complaint.

  7. sonoo malkani

    Interesting comments though hardly a laughing matter,considering the serious implications for our neighbourhoods and the inevitable health concerns already touched upon.

    Rather an unsavoury and unpalatable manner in which to try and solve the huge debt Harrow is drowning under.One can appreciate some cuts have sadly to be made to try and fill this gaping hole in our Council purse.

    Such a pity our Council has not been run like a tight ship over the past few years.Otherwise we might have been in a happier position like our sister borough,Hillingdon, which manages beautifully to be fair to its residents and also keeps the rates in check.

    The disenchanted public of Harrow,having contributed their fair share will not be best pleased and will vote with their feet—,for ESSENTIAL SERVICES LOST –when the General Elections are held.That’s the reality our Council must face.

  8. Susan Hall

    Sonoo, We Conservatives did run a tight ship for the eight months we were in control and came in 13.9 million under budget, had we been given the opportunity to run Harrow from May we would have continued to make good strong decisions about taxpayers money and we would certainly not have proposed some of the ridiculous things we are hearing about. We immediately removed the top job saving taxpayers over 1million in the first term. As we all know Labour propose to bring back the Chief Executive position at tonights Cabinet meeting. As Leader I also worked 5 days a week and a minimum of 9 hours per day. Dave works just 2 days a week, thats why he needs the extra support of a Chief Executive. Luckily he works Thursdays enabling him to attend Cabinet and Council, I suppose we should feel grateful! With regard to the re naming of Neighbourhood Champions this has been done purely because the Tories invented this brilliant scheme and they want to do away with the branding – stupid. They cant even recognise a winning concept when its staring them in the face. I worry about the next four years with Labour in control, taxes will rise, front line staff will lose their jobs and of course us taxpaying public will as always pick up the tabs – Harrow will decline with filthy streets, unkempt parks and possibly even street lights turned off. Such a shame.

    1. Harrow Dude

      Susie Susie Susie where has this figure of £13.9 million under budget emanated from considering you were spending an unsustainable amount of money in your 8 months from the contingency fund and Children Services etc Is it not the reality that you actually put Harrow Council at risk with your disorderly approach to public money. Surely this is something you would have highlighted to secure votes in May alongside your pre-election clean up. However If you feel that this is untoward please direct me to where this underspend is recorded.

      Yet again you are harping how you worked 5 days a week well, well done you for been fortunate enough to be able to employ staff to run your business for you.

      Are the cuts are the fault of the government – err yes. Your mate Dave (we’re all in it together) Cameron made it quite clear in 2010 that his solution to solving the debt crisis brought on by his cosy club pals was to fleece the public sector.

      Susie I have to say that your comments are somewhat mendacious, nevertheless feel free to correct me if I am under the wrong impression.

      1. Susan Hall

        The Cabinet report is here- as you well know http://www.harrow.gov.uk/www2/documents/s115188/Revenue%20and%20Capital%20outturn%20Final.pdf

        I find it incredible that the Union support the return of the Chief Executive and yet dont fight for the front line staff as I always have. The Union constantly criticises what the Conservatives say-no change there then. I care about our environment frontline staff and am so grateful for the work they do for us Harrow residents and would much rather see them keep their jobs than we employed one person on an exorbitant salary – I wonder what Paul’s iharrow readers think. Would they rather have more street cleaners,groundsmen, refuse collectors etc or a CEO? btw. We Conservatives managed very well without a CEO and brought in the savings. Harrow residents deserve clean streets,well kept parks and our top class refuse collection, we pay enough for them.

        1. Timeforchange

          Why do people conveniently forget the reason it was necessary for cuts was the vast debt the labour government got us into. Should the Tories have continued to spend and make the country bankrupt or tackle the debt which could only be done by way of cuts? Clearly there was no choice other than cuts.

          I still don’t know what the former Chief Exec actually did and he certainly didn’t deserve his exorbitant salary. He wouldn’t even meet the residents of Harrow to answer their questions despite being asked many times to hold residents meetings. Susan is quite right we have managed very nicely without a CEO.

          The streets around West Harrow are now strewn with rubbish, in my road alone there are several items of clothing just dumped on the pavement together with the usual empty cans and bottles. So for me I would far prefer street cleaners etc than a CEO.

          Does anyone know whether this role will entail working 5 days a week for a full time salary or will he/she be allowed to work 2 days a week and still claim a full time salary like Dave?

  9. Concerned Harrovian

    If the Neighbourhood Champion scheme is rebranded what is going to happen to all the literature under that name? Will it be reprinted under a new name and how much will it cost?

    Will volunteers be provided with waders for cleaning out the rivers and how much will it cost the Council?

  10. Susan Hall

    It all beggars belief CH, they waste money on that sort of thing and bringing back the CEO and then complain that the cuts are the fault of the government – err no. Choices have to be made by the administration and they have no innovative ideas or ability to deal with complex financial matters. In the words of Private Frazer ‘we are doomed!’

  11. sonoo malkani

    Susan,I heartily endorse all the sensible steps taken by the Tory run Council during those eight months and the savings which followed suit..I have openly and sincerely applauded the works done during that period several times and stand by that very firmly.Nobody can deny that the quality of life went up for the people of Harrow.Of course,there would have been some winners and some losers who will probably want to deny the good that was delivered.That’s just politics.

    However,In normal times,meaning when our coffers are full,I would love to have a Chief Executive at the helm who has sole responsibility for the lot.Sadly,we are still NOT in a healthy enough financial position to afford such luxuries and should be thinking very seriously about using the funds we have with extreme caution and wisdom.

    CUTTING STREET LIGHTING ,which I am personally experiencing every night after eleven o’clock right outside our home since the past three weeks has already kicked in.When I reported this to Harrow Council, the person in charge made out we probably had a faulty street lamp and that he would see it was put right.Nothing of the sort happened!It has made people in the vicinity FEARFUL and INSECURE.Totally unacceptable.

    There are at least six families whose homes and cars etc are standing in total darkness–this prior to the darker nights arriving!What an easy target for burglary.Unhappily for burglars I am a staunch NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAMPION who has decided to contact each one of my neighbours and advise them what should be done to keep trouble at bay.I happen to be a night owl so Heaven forbid anyone trotting down to cause mischief here!I am terribly concerned since two neighbouring ladies lives alone and another is rather frail and partially blind.Of course,it also means if anybody sustains a fall they could end up in trouble ,many being elderly.This is bang out of line.I shall be saying so at the Neighbourhood Conference in October.The lack of care shown is telling.

    I had recently questioned our local Councllor,Deputy Mayor, Krishna Suresh about the change in name and remit.He assured me it was nothing much just a name change.It seems to me there’s much more to it than meets the eye!Never mind the wasted printed brochures,training manuals,leaflets etc,Seems totally ludicrous.It’s blatantly obvious the new team cannot bear to have it continue and flourish in its ORIGINAL form.I had hoped they would put the people first and not tinker with something that is working so well.Even our Borough Commander and his team find the existing group most helpful in preventing and detecting crime.

    My humble appeal to people spending our tax-pounds to please stop being so petty minded and only thinking about the politics. Harrovians will surely remember this and vote with their feet next year but we will have suffered unnecessarily at their hands.This must be stopped right away.

    I find it galling that this new administration has the cheek to want tax-payers to dip into their pockets for MORE of their hard-earned monies to PROVIDE LESS SERVICE—cutting our lighting at the most vulnerable time of the year,planning to shut libraries,not locking up parks at night,cutting back on mowing the grass in certain areas ,CHARGING residents for collection of GARDEN WASTE and making it a FORTNIGHTLY COLLECTION,less operators to man the phones.The list is endless!i am very concerned that we hang on to front-line staff.Otherwise it will all become chaotic!

    I am lost for words when I read the proposed list of cuts.Emptying our bins regularly and making sure that LITTER is dealt with promptly impacts on our HEALTH in a big way,quite apart from the aesthetic impact and that on our economy.How will folk feel welcome to our borough and want to shop here or spend their money in our restaurants if we carry on in this slovenly fashion?It’s very unfair all round,not least to the businesses who are doing their best to get the LOCAL ECONOMY going.We spent loads of money doing up the Centre of Harrow to ATTRACT business.Are we going to trash all that too?

    I guess I am very green in such matters but I am amazed that a Leader of the Council can be a part-time worker!Surely it is a huge responsibility and requires total committment ,especially with the financial challenges Harrow Council faces.Perhaps the government needs to review practices within our local boroughs so the residents get a proper service from their Council.

    I am aware there are some die-hards who thrive on knocking people they do not like,harbour ill-will towards them and simply cannot admit the good works that have been delivered —eg NEIGHBOURHOOD CHAMPIONS.They would love to see things turned upside-down just to get their own back.It’s very petty ,churlish and childish and not at all fair to the people of Harrow who are being short-changed.

    Sincerely hope,for all our sakes,that wisdom dawns at tonight’s Cabinet meeting.

  12. Concerned Harrovian

    Susan

    If the street lighting is either stopped during the darker evenings or reduced does it mean that the Council will have to pay out for claims when people have accidents. The old, frail, disabled, visually impaired or even the able bodied stand an increase risk of tripping in the street.

    Many people ride bicycles on the pavement which you can neither see or hear if they come up from behind you in the darkness The bicycles would be even less visible in reduced street lighting.

    Also the risk of crime will increase which would undermine all the sterling work Commander Ovens and his officers are doing. Would a victim of crime be able to sue the council for providing the environment for criminals to flourish?

    I am asking you these questions because you are a councillor who interacts with residents on iharrow.com.

    The silence from the administration to questions posed on this site is deafening! They then want to spend £3,000,000 to improve their image.

  13. Susan Hall

    Concerned Harrovian, I will check it out but I think almost certainly the Council would be under no obligation to compensate. There are after all a lack of lights on country roads. We must remember however we are in a built up area with different problems and in my view the Council should do all it can to keep its residents safe and feeling safe. This is certainly something that I would not like to see happen in Harrow and I will campaign against it.

    1. Harrow Dude

      Susie I would have expected to point out that cycling on the pavement is punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £30 under Section 51 and Schedule 3 of the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. Ask Simon if you don’t know.

      1. GrahamL

        Advice issued by the Home Office in 1999 and still valid tells police to use their discretion when enforcing the cycling laws due to too many roads being too dangerous and some cyclists not being confident in confronting a couple of tons of metal and aggressive drivers. Basically if your riding at slow speed taking due to care your fine but if your flying down the pavement at 20 mph your going to get fined.

        But your cheap political point scoring is just trying to deflect from the real issue in the blanket cuts to the services thast we expect from our already extortionate council tax and if Comrade Dave thinks he’s going to get anymore council tax out of me if he stops refuse collections, cleaning the streets, turning off street lights and not maintaining parks he’s got another thing coming!

        1. Harrow Dude

          Firstly Graham the point I was making was that as responsible Councillor Susie should have remind CH about the legislation.

          Secondly “discretion” leaves people at the mercy of overzealous officers PSCO or MPS.

          Thirdly out of stopping refuse collections, cleaning the streets, turning off street lights and not maintaining parks, you will only see (or not because you will be asleep) is street lights turned off…

  14. PraxisReform

    I thought past changes of Harrow’s street lighting from Sodium-vapour lamps to modem LED lighting was supposed to be yielding massive savings in terms of lower running costs, less maintenance and increasing the frequency with which bulbs had to be changed…

  15. Lisa

    I actually went past a gentleman yesterday who was cycling on the pavement and was stopped and was being given a fine for it. He certainly was not going fast! Also lots of other Boroughs turn street lights off in the evenings to save money and again lots of our neighbouring boroughs also have to pay for their garden waste to be removed. No it is not an ideal situation but the cuts have to be made. I myself would be quite happy to pay a 2% rise in council tax to stop some of these essential services being cut . We have been and are spoilt in Harrow and don’t like the changes that have to be made which ever political party is in charge would have to make these savings none of us like having to pay more for it but the facts are if we want it we have to pay for it some how.

  16. GrahamL

    Sorry I disagree Lisa the one service that everyone in the borough uses is refuse collection and for me that should be guaranteed as part of my council tax. Its the bare minimum I expect for my already high council tax and the council as custodians of the borough first priority should maintaining the area not letting it fester, but that always seems to be a hallmark of labour controlled councils. It also makes no sense to charge for garden waste when they are still taking organic food waste.

  17. Susan Hall

    Lisa, I and many more Council Tax payers would rather not be paying even more Council Tax. We are the third highest payers in London already. When this Labour administration is prepared to increase costs by employing a Chief Executive and yet lose street cleaners etc one has to be concerned about their priorities. Our Council tax would have increased this year had we Conservatives not taken control. Efficiencies must be made. You may be happy to pay more but many of us cannot afford to constantly pay more and why should we when we receive a lot less.

    1. Harrow Dude

      Susie Susie Susie are you flapping because the person you shafted is returning. As Wilson Mizner said and I quote
      “Be nice to people on your way up because you’ll meet them on your way down”

      Where do you park the 500 now Susie?…

      1. Susan Hall

        What an interesting comment ‘Harrow Dude’ If you are referring to our previous CEO Michael Lockwood that is exactly what I have heard Gary Martin head of Unison is reported to be saying. Just for the record I am neither flapping nor did I shaft anyone. The fact that I removed the position of the CEO was not a personal issue as I got on well with Michael. To remove the position which cost the taxpayers over 1m over a term was, I still maintain, the correct thing to do and we managed very well without someone in that situation. Amazing that you are inferring that he is definitely coming back and here am I under the illusion that the decision on who gets the job has to go through due process. If he does just ‘get the job’ it must leave plenty of questions to be answered. Thanks for the heads up on this Gary. I will keep an even sharper eye on correct procedure

        1. Harrow Dude

          Susie Susie Susie you infer, I imply…. based on what has been reported in the local press (apologies for the big Willy linguistics lesson)

          http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/local-news/familiar-face-linked-returning-chief-7798608

          Once again for the avoidance of any misconception I am not Gary although you do seem a teeny weeny bit obsessed with him…

    2. Lisa

      Susan i am not happy to have to pay more !!What i meant was i would rather pay more than lose some services. I would rather get rid of some of the highly expensive Consultants and the many Managers we seem to have .

  18. Concerned Harrovian.

    I was under the impression that garden waste put in a brown bin was turned into compost and sold by the Council. Am I wrong in thinking this?

  19. Mike N

    I for one expect my bins to be emptied regularly, my streets to be kept clean, road and pavement surfaces to be in a good state of repair, as the very basic in council services, and to pay as little as possible in council tax! I don’t want to be paying more for less! If Harrow council starts to charge to remove garden waste in the brown bin which after all decomposes just like the food waste it will just end up in a black rubbish sack in the green bins on its way to the land fill or worse still dumped on our streets.

  20. Gary

    Susan, yet again you desire to report inaccurate statements i.e.” you have heard Gary Martin” maybe if you had your finger on the pulse regarding these matters then you would have been aware that this was reported in the local media, again not me. you should be more than aware that if I have something to report, then it would either be through the press or Unison notice boards, however you may not have read the notice boards due to the fact that you hardly enter the civic centre these days since the election defeat. I would also remind you that I am not Harrow dude, another figment of your obsessive imagination, please refrain from your poor attempt to slander my good name. I challenged the process enacted over the previous CEO which was highly disrespectful due to the fact that you failed to consult the recognised trade Unions another breach of the council obligations, nor did you consult with Harrows residents, yet you appear to knock David Perry for his engagement with staff. I understand the residents frustration of high paid salaries, yet you fail to disclose the fact that under your tenure we supported two high salaries for the same position one of approx. £130,000 including on-costs and one of approx. £167,000. when you disclose information on this site can you ensure the statements are accurate and supported by corroborative evidence, not hear say supposition or disingenuous attempts at possible slander. finally I did invite you to the official opening of unison offices, however we did not even receive an acknowledgement, or the courtesy to decline our RSVP invitation.

    Regards
    Gary Martin/ not Harrow Dude

  21. Angelina

    I am fed up with people on here sniping at certain individuals and not giving any credible input into how we can improve what I and others perceive to be a damaged relationship between the residents and the Council. If people cannot come up with sensible ideas and just use this forum to side swipe then may I suggest you bow out of the conversation.
    As for politics, for it to be understood, then you should know that voting at a local election is very different from voting at a general election, and people should vote accordingly? You cannot blame a Tory run council for any legislation that a Tory government has enforced, similarly for Labour or any other party in power for that matter. Each Council/administration will have their own ideas for what needs to be cut to save money, therefore it will always go on performance of the ruling administration at the time, and how they listen, interact and perform for their residents.
    I wholeheartedly agree with Sonoos comments, and personally feel that Susan Hall worked wonders with the Council whilst she was Leader. Susan swept through that council and got rid of a lot of dead wood, saving money whilst doing so, all the while with a previous Labour administration who were shabbily airing their dirty linen in public.
    I am most grateful that Susan Hall interacted with the residents on here and continues to do so, whilst David Perry lied and continues his deafening silence, as he also promised to interact on here when he first became Leader of the Council?
    The fact that tweets come out sealing the spitting ban before it is passed the following evening at the cabinet meeting maybe proves that there are other ‘dirty deals’ sealed before it reaches cabinet for proper approval? Of course one of these is the decision to rubber stamp the return of the Chief Executive, which may by all accounts see Michael Lockwood returning, who definitely did not interact or want to meet with the residents? If so is he going to return the pay off he was given? I am furious that in times of austerity and hardship for a lot of people, Labour want to bring back the CEO and are perhaps seeking to hike the Council tax by 2%, absolutely disgraceful! There were very few votes for the return of the CEO and the timing was lousy hence the low turnout. What makes it even worse is that David Perry did not even attend the council meeting the other night to get his decisions rubber stamped!
    This is not a listening council, has not been for a very long time, and is getting worse, however there appeared to be a glimmer of hope with Susan Hall at the helm.
    I would suggest that this is now not the time for apathy but time for the residents to rally and show David Perry how unhappy we are!
    Susan Hall
    or Paul Boakes who should we all complain to other than the Council about the poor relationship so far with the current administration, and to whether it is acceptable for our current leader of the Council to work only 2 days a week?

  22. Lisa

    Does anyone know where Cllr Perry was the other night ?

    1. Harrow Dude

      At last someone has asked the salient question and the answer is……drumroll…… Councillor Perry is on his honeymoon. What do you want expect him to do Susie/Angelinea Skype?

      1. Angelina

        Harrow Dude why are you so negative towards Susan Hall…….it appears you may have a personal axe to grind with her? If your accusations are true then substantiate them? Also why hide behind a false persona, some may think you are a coward for doing so? We are looking for solutions here and not someone whose comments do not help.
        As for Cllr Perry he works 2 days a week spending our hard earned tax payers money on the wrong things so far………. so yes I do expect him to Skype.

  23. Concerned Harrovian

    Does anyone know if there is a deputy Dave and who is in that post? Why not take a honeymoon during the summer months when it is quieter and there is less Council business going on?

    Any consultation about important things usually happens over the summer months when fewer residents are about. Residents answering a consultation that gives a wrong result would put a fly in the ointment.

    1. PraxisReform

      Keith ‘Feckless’ Ferry is Dave’s deputy.

      I’ll add my voice to the others here that seem rather confused as to why anyone would apply (let alone be accepted) for a high profile job, where they are limited in the amount of time that they want to devote to that role.

      I see in the news that a few major British companies are looking to fill similar vacancies at the moment, so imagine that you turned up to see the Recruitment consultant smartly dressed with all the right qualifications and experience, saying “Well I’d like the job, but I’m only prepared to work two days a week, I won’t do any overtime, oh, and by the way I’m off on holiday in a couple of weeks time…”

      They’d laugh you out of the office.

  24. Lisa

    On honeymoon Congrats on the Wedding Cllr Perry. I for one being a resident do not begrudge you your honeymoon, but do hope when you get back you get started on putting Harrow back on track please.

  25. Concerned Harrovian

    In ancient times some believed that paying Council tax to the ferry man would help them cross the River Pinn/Wealdstone Brook and this would lead to the entrance of the borough of Harrow (now renamed Utopia). If someone could not pay the fee it was said that they would never be able to cross the rivers. This ritual was to be performed by the residents every April.

    The fee for crossing the rivers to dwell in the new Utopian Harrow is I believe due to be increased in April 2015. Of course now the rivers have been dredged by Harrovian volunteers the crossing will be much faster.

    In view of the cuts maybe residents should be asking just what it is we are paying the fee for Utopia or Hades?

  26. sonoo malkani

    Been extremely busy and am trying desperately to clear the backlog.and digest so many passionate comments about a subject which has certainly stirred up a hornet’s nest.

    First of all,HEARTY CONGRATS to Dave Perry on his wedding.Hope he has thoroughly enjoyed his honeymoon.Let me also wish all our Hindus celebrating NAVRATRI,our Muslims celebrating BAKRI ID and our Jews celebrating ROSH HASHANA a very HAPPY time with their nearest and dearest.The same for any other communities celebrating their special festivals.One has DASSERA and DIWALI not far off along with celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary.On top of that one can already spot signs of CHRISTMAS thanks to our shops.They really know how to tempt us with so many beautiful things!

    With some of the niceties out of the way,it’s time to belt up and get on with the challenges we face.The public surely will not be happy with the environment being neglected nor will they appreciate more crime which could result from lighting cuts.Surely,we should not handicap our excellent policing with such non-sense.Also,leaving parks open at night is an open invitation to criminals and drug-dealers.When will people learn lessons from those who have been there and suffered??These are short-term,FALSE ECONOMIES which will COST DEARLY in the long run!

    I have no idea what the Council have finally decided about cutting street lighting which is a source of great concern,with the dark nights round the corner!I am still very cross that ,on my street,some lights have been going off just after 11pm EVERY SINGLE NIGHT consistently for the past FOUR WEEKS.WHO has authorised that?Seems ill-thought out.

    This is PRIOR to lighting cuts being passed OFFICIALLY by the Council,I have heard from other residents in RAYNERS LANE WARD that they have had a similar experience.Does that mean that the public consultation was just eye-wash and an after-thought?

    Might I remind politicians that tax-payers and residents find this treatment high-handed and insulting.Much better to persuade them and negotiate something palatable for both parties and arrive at a reasonable outcome,allowing the Council to make cuts in the LEAST DAMAGING WAY.That would be a win-win for everybody.It is COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE to antagonise residents who are keen to help make the necessary cuts,minus the STING!

    I am sure no single person is the Oracle so I see no shame in genuinely seeking advice from local residents.We can do so much better collectively!.I couldn’t agree more with Angelina that we must stop this disgusting habit of sniping and making rather unnecessary barbed comments,merely for political point-scoring.Must learn to look at the picture holistically.

    Anyone who SINCERLY wishes to contribute should have the courage of their convictions and speak under their OWN NAME.If you don’t like A,B or C please have the decency to say so very politely.

    Remember,it’s fine to DISLIKE or even HATE the ACT/ACTS but not the PERSON.Please,let’s start practicing that so that ,as we get closer to the General Elections, our behaviour does not degenerate into one which reflects poorly on the people of Harrow.

    POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENTS WILL COME & GO–the world over.We must be very mindful that it takes years of hard work to build strong and close-knit communities which of course,are HERE TO STAY

    I was always taught”Manners make a man! PLEASE may we get back to basics and behave like DECENT,civilised people.It won’t take the problems away but WILL make it much easier to work together and dispel the horrendous acrimony we are experiencing at present.

    To me that is what a REAL CHAMPION represents. You know the old adage– a rose by any other name and all that!Let us try and resolve to find peaceful,sensible solutions in a spirit of good-will.

  27. sonoo malkani

    Very pleased and relieved that our street light was fixed literally within 36 hours of reporting it to a number of “movers and shakers “in our borough.I was delighted to receive a letter from MP Gareth Thomas that he has personally taken up this matter with the person in charge at Harrow Council and that he would get back to me once he had received their response.

    I have written and thanked him for his prompt action and hope in future others will also find their problems solved as efficiently.

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