Tower Hamlets Watch

Cllr Oliur Rahman spills the beans on Members Enquiries | December 9, 2010


Last night the meeting of full Council at the Town Hall in Mullberry Place was an absolute farce. After watching the protesters try to barge their way in and get detained, I found scenes on the actual chamber floor more disturbing than the scenes of desperation outside.

I understand that their were some really serious points regarding the austerity measures that our councillors all seem to want to stand by, no matter how they phrase their denials, as well as numerous other serious issues, but I also know their are far greater writers than me who were there who will report those actions in greater detail. What I did find appalling though was the following. This is all about the issue surrounding confidentiality of members enquiries. Heres the councils official statement on members enquiries:

4. CONFIDENTIALITY OF MEMBERS’ ENQUIRIES
4.1 Confidentiality and trust is central to an effective Members’ Enquiries process and the Council’s Constitution includes a Member/Officer Protocol which sets out the key requirements in this regard.
4.2 This message has been reinforced in the guidance that has been distributed to ensure that responses to Members’ Enquiries are timely and of high quality, but that answers should be sent only to the Member who made the enquiry and to anyone they have specifically asked to be copied in. Members Enquiries and/or responses should not be copied on to other Members for information at officers’ instigation, but only at the enquiring Member’s specific request.
– pg 33 Agenda Item 8.1 O&S meeting October 2008

Quite clear and precise, well read on..

At last nights council meeting Cllr Bill Turner posed a serious question to Cllr Oliur Rahman regarding his sanctioning of the privatization of Disabled Childrens Services: at the recent meeting of the Cabinet on the 1st December.

8.11 Question from Councillor Bill Turner to the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Councillor Oliur Rahman

“Can the Cabinet Member tell me what steps he has taken to ensure that families, quality of service and local providers are not adversely affected by changes to the Personal Care Contract for disabled children in the Borough in light of the decision to transfer the contract away from local service providers with their roots in Tower Hamlets to multinational private companies?”
– page 49 Agenda Item 8: 8 December Full Council Meeting

Cllr Turner started of the question by stating:

“In your many political incarnations I have never seen you as as constant supporter of privatisation, but lets see how you do with this question”

A quick background on this statement regarding Cllr Rahman who used to be chair of the Public Service Union PCS which campaigns against privatising public services. Here are two past quotes;

Oliur Rahman, chair of the PCS civil service union in east London, said privateers are ‘completely useless’ at running public services.
http://www.wrp.org.uk/news/2877

“The private market will never provide the housing working people and our children in Tower Hamlets need”Cllr Oliur Rahman Tower Hamlets Leaseholders Association

Anyway heres Cllr Rahmans damning response to Cllr Turners question:

“Thankyou..uh..Cllr Turners..uh.. for your questions,..uh.. this is a very important questions, and.uh..a very important issue..uh.. The issue ..uh..of sitting on this bench and with the mayor we take this very seriously. Uh..we..uh…In 2008….and, and I know you have done a members enquiry so you will probably have some of that information already..um..uh…I’m a do….I’m a do”

Someone shouted that

“members enquiries are confidential”.

Cllr Rahman then actually hung himself by claiming that members enquires are “not confidential”.

Chaos then erupted at hearing this, with shouts of

“of course they are you idiot”

Lutfur Rahman by this time had sunk his head in his hands, while Cllr Rahman who had realised what he had revealed and the huge mistake he’d made by revealing this, was trying to calm everyone down by shouting “let me answer the question”

He went on to say that in 2008 that the council had carried out a consultation of users of this service (please read this report it states that out of 107 users they consulted only 14 severely disabled children). That the council is committed to local service providers and values their contribution.

Cllr Rahman then hastily tried to retract his statement by repeating numerous times:

“Just for the record cllr Turner I did not say I had seen a copy of your members enquiry”

Cllr Turner ignored this and went on:

“I would just like to point out that in fact, Mr Rahman did let slip that he had seen a copy of my members enquiry”

He then went on to ask the CEO Kevan Collins on a point of order to confirm to members that Members Enquiries are confidential, and to launch an investigation into how Cllr Rahman obtained a copy of his own Members Enquiry.

Cllr Peter Golds then launched into his own point of order, regarding one of his own Members Enquiries. Stating that “today he had a meeting with the Chief executive and the head of legal services” regarding his Members Enquiry which had been handed to a member of the public. He also called for an investigation to be launched into Cllr Rahman, and his illicit handling of another members enquiry, and whether Members Enquiries should remain confidential. He also urged members that he had talked to MP Jim Fitzpatrick the night before prompting him to ask if his own enquiries were confidential as his.

Cllr Golds upon creating a Members enquiry about the company MediaLinks, found that his members enquiry had been leaked to the company itself. Apparently the Managing Director had telephoned Cllr Golds and threatened him with legal action for putting the members enquiry in, which then forced Cllr Golds to meet with the Chief Executive & Isabella Freeman to check the legalities of the question he’d asked. They replied that he had every right to ask a question like that.

Although I do not have a copy of Cllr Golds or Cllr Turners members enquiries, Ted Jeory has done an excellent expose of the response from Cllr Golds Members Enquiry regarding MediaLinks involvement with the Council.

Kevan Collins stated that the councils policy on Members Enquiries are quite clear, that they are confidential to the Members and also to a member of the public if they urged the members enquiry in the first place. He added that he would investigate the matter and report back to this council with the results of his findings.

Cllr Golds then urged a procedural motion on calling for the Overview & Scrutiny Committe should look into the matter, including the confidentiality of such enquiries. This was seconded and passed by members.

Sources within the council tell me that some within Members support services are trying to backpedal as to what really happened. They now claim that the real version went something like this. That Cllr Rahmans statement was quite simply that he knew that “Cllr Turner put in members enquiries” and that other members had tried to turn this around and make it look like Cllr Rahman had said something quite different.

Believing this propaganda would have you believe that Cllr Rahman innocently remarked on a common observation about Members enquiries, thats like saying i know cars have wheels. What Cllr Rahman said was far more sinister and showed a real insight into the real inner workings of the Rahman Cabinet. Where nothing is sacrosanct, members enquiries are handed out to anyone who may wish to see them. This all may seem trivial to some, but as I’m discovering myself, these type of enquiries should be confidential, otherwise interested parties could provide pressure on the person making the request. Remember also that huge numbers of the public lobby their elected councillors to provide them with a members enquiry. This is much faster than the Freedom Of Information request service that councils must provide and has the added benefit that this comes from and elected representative that can chase the matter up for you. You can ask your councillors anything within reason, and if people start to realise that others may see your enquiry or who you are, how would this affect your ability to freely make these requests. Remember far dodgier sections of society and corporations may not stop at making threats of legal action.

Cllr Scumbag Rahman should be de-frocked or whatever you call it, deselected, tarred and feathered, pilloried through the streets, whatever. This type of abuse of authority at such a level eats right at the heart of a free and democratic society. This should be front-page news, splashed all over the place, but sadly this will probably get brushed away like every other scandal.


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5 Comments »

  1. […] As my fellow blogger TowerHamletsWatch highlights in an accurate post here, Lutfurite cabinet member Oli Rahman revealed he knew other councillors had been submitting […]

    Pingback by Descent in to the lawless Wild West « Trial By Jeory — December 11, 2010 @ 10:58 pm

  2. I think they are all full of shit! Oli is a great bloke with a clean heart,but got dragged into dirty politics in tower hamlets that changed him! He is NOT to blame for anything.

    Comment by Mishtake! — January 5, 2011 @ 10:33 pm

  3. May you find peace one day Oli! xxx

    Comment by Mishtake! — January 5, 2011 @ 10:34 pm

  4. abul hussain is that you? lol lol i just realsied it was another wordpress blog!! hahaha

    Comment by Mishtake! — January 5, 2011 @ 10:36 pm

  5. Met ‘Oli’ on numerous occasions, the mans a scumbag. If this post is true, he should be resigning.

    Comment by Moose — January 6, 2011 @ 6:28 pm


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