Harrow Council for Justice
a campaigning national organisation - promoting the principle of 'different but equal'

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    Our positions
  • people are not blind to colour in a colour conscious society
  • racism affects black and white people both but differently
  • racial harassment is anti human rights - more than hate crime
  • equal opportunity is to practise 'different but equal'
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Standards Committee specific news - updated 30 /11/11
The Harrow Council for Justice welcomes the Localism Bill to remove the requirement for local authorities to have a standards committee because of the nature of its assessment sub-committee which is made up of one independent member of public and two local councillors who consider the complaints about the conduct of their councillors in the authority.

Due to the nature of these assessment sub-committees and the secrecy surrounding their work, the public confidence in their work has not been high particularly as the initial assessment by them determines the next stage of investigating the complaint about the conduct of a councillor. Our experience confirms this.

For example, very recently the HCJ asked the Harrow Council’s Standards Committee to investigate whether  Councillor Susan Hall, the leader of the opposition Conservative group on the Harrow Council, acted within the defines of the Council’s Code of Conduct for Councillors in terms of  accessing and obtaining the Harrow Police and Community Consultative Group (HPCCG) accounts information  and using it in the ways and manner as described by the HPCCG Chairwoman Sonoo Malkani in her public comment at:
http://www.harrowtimes.co.uk/news/9137376.Watchdog_under_fire_over__unacceptable__spending/

The Assessment Sub-Committee* of the Standards Committee  in its meeting on 27 September 2011, behind the closed doors, suggested that “Councillor Hall may benefit from training in media and interpersonal training and training in holding voluntary groups and public bodies to account”: paragraph (b) of the Decision in the Decision Notice (gov 008-039/ 442202): but decided to take “no further action”. Councillor Susan Hall, leader of the opposition Conservative group was first elected as a councillor in 2006.

(*according to the Harrow Council’s website, those attended the sub-committee meeting on 27 September 2011 were: an independent member of the public, a Labour councillor first elected in 2010 and a Conservative councillor first elected in 1982)

We are not able to publish the committee’s “Decision Notice” (Harrow Council's website does not publish the Notice either) but public is entitled to contact the Monitoring Officer to inspect copies of the decision notices held by the council!

We hope that the elected and community representatives would join us in convincing the local authorities to establish open, transparent and independent arrangements to monitor the conduct of their elected members.

Update: as a part of the follow up action, the HCJ has asked when and where Councillor Susan Hall, the leader of the opposition Conservative group on the Harrow Council, would go through the training prescribed by the Standards in the Decision Notice (gov 008-039/ 442202).

Latest: The Harrow Council’s Assessment Sub-Committee meeting on 16 November 2011 resolved to amend  the published minutes of the meeting held on 27 September 2011 in terms of  (quote) deletion of the words ‘the training that they specified’ and the addition of ‘media and interpersonal training and training in holding voluntary groups and public bodies to account’ (unquote) to bring the text in line with the Decision Notice (gov 008-039/ 442202) issued.
http://www.harrow.gov.uk/www2/documents/g61009/Printed%20minutes,%20Wednesday%2016-Nov-2011%2014.00,%20Assessment%20Sub-Committee.pdf?T=1

Headlines

Met racism inquiry
• Fuel poverty - a national problem
Code of conduct - public accountability
• Would standards committees be missed
'Don't play politics with the economy'
Broken Society'
HPCCG plight
Community consultation
• Housing benefit changes hit the vulnerable most

Community lettings
Threat to social cohesion
A school of national interest
The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act

NHS - Dr Foster Hospital Guide
Immigrants to create extra households?
Student unrest over fee
Progressive approach to town twinning
Twinning - Harrow's situation
Re-claiming the 'inner cities'
Housing benefit cuts – onslaught on vulnerable
'Big Society'

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