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Aug 14 2014

Transparency Measures Will Shed Light on Secretive Harrow

harrow_council_logoThe Department for Communities and Local Government has announced new provisions to help increase public involvement in local authority meetings. In particular, residents will now have unfettered permission to film and record meetings and make use of communications technology and social media to report on meetings in real-time. The news has been welcomed by the Conservative Group in Harrow, after the Council’s Labour administration broke a cross-party agreement to allow opposition councillors to sit on Cabinet and chair Scrutiny committees.

Conservative Group Leader Cllr. Susan Hall said: “Anything which makes it easier for Harrow residents to see how decisions get made is good news, and allowing people to debate and discuss what’s happening on social media during the meetings is an exciting prospect. Through their cowardly decision to kick the opposition off Cabinet, Labour effectively removed any scrutiny from the meetings – which are now just Labour congratulating themselves for 90 minutes. My hope is that, with cameras in their faces, people poised on Twitter, and knowing that residents will be able to see if they act in a secretive fashion, Labour will be more open when conducting themselves in public.”

Regular readers of iharrow.com will know that we’ve asked Dave if we can film meetings. To cut a long story short, Dave said “I would be happy to give this new idea further thought…” He must have given it a lot of thinking, because almost a month later, we asked again. “ I shall be discussing this issue with Officers and the logistics of such a request…” he replied. “I shall respond to you in due course.”

Now, a further month down the line, there’s still been no response on it.

Cllr Hall finished: “David Perry promising to look into something or offering a review is increasingly the same as if he’d just said ‘no’ to begin with. He’s also promised reviews into working with the voluntary sector and the future of non-executive Cabinet members – both of which seem to have died a death. But on this occasion David Perry has done nothing for so long that he’s been overtaken by events!”

So, the next Cabinet meeting is on September 18. If you’ve got a video camera or a smart phone, we’d suggest you spare a couple of hours at the Civic Centre that evening to record the meeting. You can also Tweet, take photos, and use all kinds of other Social Media tools to broadcast details live from the meeting.

 

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9 comments

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  1. Harrow Dude

    Susie talks a good talk but when it comes to transparency she is some what more opaque than than she professes to be. I as a resident of Harrow have repeatedly asked Susie questions relating to to decisions she has deemed to make on my behalf.

    Susie has to date has preferred to ignore these questions and always respond with what is now known as Susie spin. Therefore as Susie proclaims “to be the bearer of all that is transparent and honest and not cowardly” I will once again ask the same questions before submitting them as public questions and once accepted we can all see who is acting in a secretive fashion.

    Susie my direct questions to you are as follows:

    1) How much money did you spend in your 8 months as non-elected (by the residents) leader of Harrow Council?

    2) How many agency staff did you have to employ achieve your pre-election clean up?

    3) Did You remove funds from any another service to support Street Cleaning, Blitz Team, Neighbourhood Champions, etc, if so what services?

    4) Does your local business employ the services of Harrow Council to remove your trade waste, if not who do you use?

    5) Do you as a Harrow Councillor and local business owner pay your lowest paid staff the London Living Wage, if not why not?

    Susie Susie Susie, confirm, clarify or deny I will await your reply….

  2. Angelina

    This is very welcome news! The cloak of secrecy that surrounds Harrow Council at the moment and in particular the complete silence of David Perry is disgraceful.

  3. riders of the sybian

    dude one word corruption and many people complicit nuff said.

  4. Susan Hall

    Harrow Dude. Firstly may I suggest that you do an FOI asking for the answers to questions 1, 2 and 3. That way we will know who you are and you will not be able to hide behind your fictitious name. Please note it was not a ‘pre election clean up’. We Conservatives would have maintained the staff and cleaning in order to keep the Borough clean. Something that this Labour administration are not bothered about. May I also remind you that the Public do not elect a Leader but a party and in both the 2010 elections and the 2014 elections the Conservatives polled more votes.

    As for the last two questions I do not respond to questions regarding my business, it has nothing to do with the public. The questions however confirm yet again who you are, since I know why not let the readers of iharrow know? We can all be obnoxious rude and provocative behind a mask.

    1. Harrow Dude

      No problem with the FOI Susie although I always they were only needed when people didn’t really want the public knowing what they have been up to.

      It’s a shame that you as a Harrow Councillor owning a business in Harrow think a question about the London Living Wage is nothing to do with public considering Harrow has highest proportion of low paid jobs in London.

      http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/11412038.Borough_has_highest_proportion_of_low_paid_jobs/?ref=var_0

      As for been “obnoxious rude and provocative” you need look no further than the closest mirror, I have seen how you treat people that you consider beneath you. Your dismissive temperament will be plain to see once they start video recording Council meetings.

      It’s easy to say what you would’ve done I presume I could find copious amounts of residents that can tell what they would do too. Bottom line is your plans were not sustainable as the FOI will show. You are quite right that that the Public do not elect a Leader but a party, but they didn’t elect you or your party when you usurped your mate Thaya.

      Susie stop playing the “we won really card” you didn’t, get over it….

      1. riders of the sybian

        dude all you have done is to ask hall reasonable questions that someone in her (previous position) should not have had any trouble with answering but no up went the shutters and she sat silently in the shop or salon as the tumbleweed blew down wealdstone high street .

  5. riders of the sybian

    so you find questions rude and obnoxious ?i think youre in the wrong line of work darling so much for transparency eh susie love.

  6. Concerned Harrovian

    At least Cllr Hall responds to issues raised on this site which is more than Cllr Perry does!

    “They seek him here, they seek him there
    Those Harrovians seek him everywhere
    Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
    That demned elusive Pimpernel”

  7. PraxisReform

    From looking at council’s across the country, it seems like they all follow pretty much the same plan.

    1) Arrange a huge overdraft
    2) Blow the credit on things residents never asked for
    3) Announce that there’s not enough money to pay for services residents actually want
    4) Decide to shut libraries / public toilets, sell off buildings / school playing fields / artworks etc. or just cut services regardless, in order to pay down the debt
    5) Rinse and repeat

    Perhaps what we need is a clause in the council’s constitution saying that a local referendum needs to be held, in order to justify the council taking on any sort of overdraft…

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