Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information
BEFORE the key Meeting of 3 July—that gave Cabinet go-ahead for the HDV—there had been repeated contact with Lendlease.
A Freedom of Information question by a resident, discloses that Haringey’s Cabinet Member for Children and Families (Doctor Elin Weston), met with Lendlease as early as 24 April 2017.
The meetings mainly concerned HDV-branding (strategy or pitch), but there were also three “Shadow Board” meetings, including one Shadow Board Dinner.
This is the first time at least some Councillors (certainly me) have heard of the HDV Shadow Board. These contacts took place at the same time as a Council Scrutiny Panel was considering risk and Governance arrangements for the Development Vehicle.
I am not aware that Doctor Weston attended any of the Council's Scrutiny Panel meetings, including the illuminating evidence-gathering sessions. I'm not sure the Scrutiny Committee was aware of the HDV Shadow Board meetings.
Board-in-the-shadows might be an accurate description.
In the correspondence disclosed, we know that on one occasion, a LendLease representative apologised for the lack of biscuits (sic; see link above). New-Labour Haringey Council is placing approximately £3,000,000,000 [three billion pounds] worth of business with this one company (i.e. the HDV plus the recently announced, £1bn “High Road West”). That takes the biscuit.
I recently attended the Cabinet Member Signing where the Council Leader nominated Ms. Weston and others to the HDV Board. In terms of elected nominees, a sole Councillor will represent the Borough's interests on the Board that would meet four times a year.
Extracted from the FoI answer:
5. No minutes were circulated following these meetings.
6. A list of all correspondence between Cllr Weston and Lendlease has been attached.
(the Hornsey Ward Councillor
sometimes pictures herself in
selfies on exam-results day)
Here's my latest variation on Haringey Council's Joego logo.
My free gift to the Council. No payment sought or received by me. No dinners, lunches, free flights or even biscuits involved. Attached to my graphic file is one of the notorious emails from Lendlease about the secret "Shadow Board"
The biscuits shown are "Jammie Dodgers". I used them purely to illustrate a popular biscuit. I've no idea about the actual items on the repast offered at different times to our "leading" councillors.
The are made from shortbread with a raspberry or strawberry flavoured jam filling. They are currently produced by Burton's.
MORE on the Shadow Board, courtesy of another Member's Enquiry that was forwarded to me. Doctor Weston is the Council's nominee to the HDV Board and—as part of the three person LBH side—would represent the interests of the Council and Borough in that Board as a whole.
The other side comprises the multi-national developer LendLease. Even though this (below) appears to have been a particularly convivial dinner, Lendlease are likely to eat New-Labour representatives for breakfast.
The obvious interests of Lendlease and the supposed and claimed interests of New Labou reps. (never mind their proper interests of serving the Borough), would appear to be opposed.
Your enquiry: Why was the meal with developers covered by the Council / list occasions since May 2014 where Cabinet members meals were covered by the Council. Our Reference Number: LBH/6650717
Thank you for your enquiry, which is set below. For clarification, your enquiry is in response to my confirmation that the Council covered the cost of the shadow HDV board dinner for its attendees, being Lyn Garner, Richard Grice and Cllr Weston.
Is this normal practice. Does the council normally cover the cost of Cllr's participating in meals with developers? My understanding is that our member allowance and SRA are intended for that purpose. What were the special circumstances in this case that allowed Cllr Weston to claim for the meal.
Can I receive a copy of the relevant entry, the cost and the breakdown of what was covered by the council. Did it include alcohol?
Bernie can you advise me whether under our procedures this is an appropriate use of council resources.
Can I also receive a list of all other occasions since May 2014 where Cabinet members meals within the M25 have been covered by the council and the reasons.
How was it paid? Was it a subsequent claim ? Who approved the claim. Did someone take petty cash ( which I doubt) was it invoiced by Lendlease?
I would request a full and proper investigation in to this incident.
I am responding to your enquiry on behalf of the Council’s Monitoring Officer, Mr Ryan. Mr Ryan has approved the content of this response.
For ease of reference, I have broken down your enquiry into the 5 questions posed as follows:
- Is this normal practice. Does the council normally cover the cost of Cllr's participating in meals with developers? My understanding is that our member allowance and SRA are intended for that purpose. What were the special circumstances in this case that allowed Cllr Weston to claim for the meal.
- Can I receive a copy of the relevant entry, the cost and the breakdown of what was covered by the council. Did it include alcohol?
- Bernie can you advise me whether under our procedures this is an appropriate use of council resources.
- Can I also receive a list of all other occasions since May 2014 where Cabinet members meals within the M25 have been covered by the council and the reasons.
- How was it paid? Was it a subsequent claim ? Who approved the claim. Did someone take petty cash ( which I doubt) was it invoiced by Lendlease?
In response to your enquiry, and to use the same numbering:
- Cllr Weston did not claim personally for the meal. In this case, Cllr Weston was part of a Council delegation and as such her meal was covered by the Council. The Members’ Allowances Scheme provides for Travel and Subsistence Allowance in other cases.
- The total cost claimed was for £450. £209.50 of this was for room hire. Alcohol was included.
- As stated in my email of 4 October 2017, this is being dealt with under a separate Member Enquiry, ‘Council covering the cost of Cabinet Member meals’ -ref. LBH/6658017.
- This was paid via a subsequent expenses claim. The Chief Executive approved the claim. No petty cash was taken, and Lendlease were not involved in any payment process.
I hope that you are satisfied with my response to your enquiry. If you have any follow-up queries or need more information, please contact Member Enquiries in the first instance.
[Named Haringey Council officer]
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