Thursday, 8 April 2010

NCCLols is Billy No Mates

I recently wrote to my three local councillors, Cat Arnold, Rob Lee and Mick Newton, as well as my MP Graham Allen about the CEHRNN debacle. Thought I'd update you on the response I've had so far.

Of the councillors only one has replied, Mick Newton. Not a peep from Cllrs Arnold or Lee, despite my sending a reminder.

I've written to Cat Arnold a few times now and I've never heard anything back. Previously I'd never bothered with Rob Lee after, having voted for him as a Lib Dem, he then defected to Labour over the issue of housing benefits sanctions for alleged anti-social behaviour. I put that to one side for this issue due to its importance but my initial assessment that he is little more than a worker drone for JoCo has yet to be challenged.

Who knows, they may well be so busy campaigning behind the scenes that they haven't found time to reply to lil ole me and if that turns out to be the case I'll be more than happy to take it all back.

As for Graham Allen not a peep, on this issue at least. I know that technically he has absolutely no jurisdiction over NCC affairs (and made that clear in my email) but he does have influence and surely would and should have a view,

On the other hand, today I got a rather chummy letter from him about the Robin Hood Tax. Thankfully, GA supports this measure and was obviously keen to highlight our common ground, a couple of days after the general election was called.

Maybe I'm asking too much, after all I'm only worth one vote.


leader said...

surprised you haven't picked up on the story of the new change manager at the police authority yet

Andy said...

Don't really do police stuff

The Merry Man said...

Hi Interesting issue this,

Perhaps the Council/Councillors have moved on,from what I can see their opinion was the CEHRNN was not coming up to scratch and not worth the money.

Inappropriate representation on the CEHRNN board.

Lack of cover for staff in key positions, staff absence and difficulties.

The CEHRNN continues to focus on mainly race inequality instead of looking at all forms of inequality equally

(ironic,an equality organisation,not looking equally at inequality)

Not setting out new name and remit quickly enough.

Not enough work with groups other than black and ethnic minority groups

Offices sometimes not open or staff not contactable.

"Unfortunately, despite considerable support from the city council, it has not been able to fulfil its wider role.

It seems to me that their "work" was too narrowly focused and unprofessional,there is also the issue of their part in the EDL demonstration,did they aggravate the situation? which cost $200.000 to police.

£318,000 funding is not a sum to be sniffed at,especially if its not being used as it should be,

I`m not sure why a "volutary organisation" should receive tax payers money anyway...

There does seem to be some legal issues here also,its all quite a mess,and a bit of a hot wonder your councillor`s and Mp are not over keen to get involved...;-)

Andy said...

First thing is we only have the Eve Post's word for the reasons behind the decision and while I'm not suggesting they would make it up they have to simplify it for the paper and there's the possibility of their own subconscious interpretation of things as well. Plus they are only reporting on NCC's version of events, something that I know from personal experience is often very unreliable.

Secondly, many of the organisational criticisms could be made of just about any of the grant aid supported groups in the city or even of many parts of the council itself. I could give you allsorts of horror stories about numerous organisation, again from my own experience or from first hand accounts. We're talking about embezzlement, virtual employee rebellion and yes, offices closed for days or weeks due to lack of employee cover. Not one of these organisations has had all their funding removed in one fell swoop, the action is simply unprecedented.

CEHRNN used to be the local Racial Equality Council. It's only recently that they widened their remit and as yet I'm not sure if that was their own decision to do so or in response to a demand by NCC. Whatever, that is a major change in emphasis and role for the organisation and is impossible to manage overnight. NCC regularly claims it has offered 'support' (cf the Radford Unity Complex and claims to have worked with the orgs to find alternative accommodation, all bollocks) which rarely amounts to anything.

Oh, and 'voluntary' does not mean being reliant on volunteers and it's a term that isn't really used now. The current jargon tends to be 'Third Sector' or non-profit. The fact that there has been an increased trend for councils and central govt to commission services from the third sector has moved these orgs into the firing line of people who resent any taxpayers money being spent on anything (apart from the projects they approve of themselves of course).

There may well be some substance in the criticisms made but the way NCC has reacted is unprecedented. It has also, of course acted in secret which is far from normal. They have also, in my opinion, acted unconstitutionally. Even in a worst case scenario, funding should be selectively suspended for a time before outright removal.

But truly, the idea of NCC lecturing any organisation about how they are run brings tears to my eyes. And councillors have absolutely no business sticking their heads in the sand over the issue.

The Merry Man said...

It seems everyone is being kept in the dark,have they got something to hide?

Would a Freedom of information request force them to reveal all the details?.

Andy said...

That's kind of my point. The thing that they're hiding is probably that there's no justification for pulling the funding.

Prob with FoIA request in this case is that NCC have said that the decision details are exempt from disclosure under the Local Govt Act. FoIA says that if info is exempt from disclosure under other legislation it's also exempt under FoIA.

Of course the body who gets to decide whether info is exempt under LGA is...Nottingham City Council.

leader said...

Its much more than a police story. Alan Given was CEO of the Crime & Drugs Partnership. He has been moved over to the change management team and taken 2 more of the CDP senior management with him (both of whom had been selected for redundancy from NCC)They announced on Thursday and left on Friday. And who is chair of both said organisations and pal of Mr G? Your mate JC. Evening Post have been bought off with promise of exclusives later and no one else has really even covered it. People in the Police will NOT be happy. Dig around a bit!

Andy said...

Mate, help me out, send me stuff via email.

It sounds like a story, I will do some digging when I can, but any info you can send me will speed things up.

leader said...

I don't seem to be able to link to the email through your profile?

Andy said...

No idea why