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Posts Tagged ‘marc francis’

Every month councillors are required to submit a timesheet detailing the work they claim they’ve been doing to collect their allowances and special responsibility allowances from the public purse.

Well, let me clarify that: they’re meant to submit them and they collect their allowances regardless of the work they actually do; the timesheets and their pay are not in any way related.

So in some ways, these timesheets are meaningless.

However, they are somewhat illuminating because they shine a we light on a councillor’s character. Some take them very seriously and submit them as regularly as clockwork. Some are also completely honest about what they state on them.

For example, Labour’s excellent Bow East councillor, Marc Francis, falls into both categories. His timesheets are pretty much up to date and you can read his latest one for January 2014 here:

Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 09.23.10In fact, this probably understates the work he does.

In contrast, let’s have a look at the latest Tower Hamlets turncoat, the newly Independent Anwar Khan, who will now stand against his own sister-in-law in Bow West.

The last timesheet he appears to have submitted (and hey, as a management consultant he knows full well the importance of well kept timesheets) was in September 2011. In fact, in the 46 months since he was elected as a councillor, the council only displays records for nine months.

And in that time since he’s been a chief whip for the Labour group, one of whose duties was to ensure colleagues kept up with their timesheets.

Perhaps he was just too busy to submit them. I mean, he’s a really busy man, it seems.

Have a look at his timesheet for September 2010, the month before Lutfur was elected mayor and when he would have presumably been spending an awful lot of time on party, not council, business.

Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 09.40.59

Wow. A hugely impressive 144 hours on councillor business that month. That’s 36 hours a week–a full time job in itself. How he managed to combine that with raising a young family and a high-powered job in the City, I’ll never know. He must have understanding employers.

I wonder whether his timesheets for them include such guff as 15 hours on “community events”. In fact, he states 15 hours per month on every sheet he’s submitted. It’s a lovely catch-all phrase is ‘community events’.

But out of the various councillor records I’ve looked at, his isn’t the worst. His latest enemy and fellow Bow West councillor Ann Jackson takes that prize: she hasn’t submitted once since January 2010.

Councillors may think these timesheets futile but they are among the few scraps that their voters have to examine what they’re doing.

Here’s a little table of the records for Respect and the independents:
Screen shot 2014-03-08 at 10.02.04

I’ve put a N/A by the name of Gulam Robbani (who has had some previous difficulties with his timesheets, remember) because the council’s website has none next to his name. Shurely some mistake?

I don’t have time to go through all the other councillors, so maybe someone else can help.

However, among the group leaders, we see this:

Labour’s Sirajul Islam – Dec 2013

Tories’ Peter Golds – Sep 2013

Lib Dem Stephanie Eaton – Sep 2013.

And unless I’ve missed it, I can’t see any timesheet section for Mayor Lutfur Rahman himself. Maybe he just uses a tachometer.

 

 

 

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This motion has been submitted by the Labour group for debate at next Wednesday’s full meeting of Tower Hamlets council (declaration: I’m a Tower Hamlets Homes leaseholder).

Proposer: Cllr Marc Francis

Seconder: Cllr Carlo Gibbs

This Council notes:

  • In 2008, Full Council agreed a motion authorising the Lead Member for Housing to commission an independent audit of leasehold service charges following concerns about the two-thirds increase in the level of Management & Administration fees, numerous historic disputes over the costs recharged and a Scrutiny Review which called for much greater transparency and accountability in the calculation of service charges;
  • In 2009, a Project Steering Group (PSG) involving councillors, Tower Hamlets Homes (THH), Tower Hamlets Leaseholders Association (THLA) and other leaseholders agreed detailed Terms of Reference for that audit, commissioned Beevers & Struthers Ltd to carry it out;
  • In spring 2010, THH attempted unilaterally to introduce new methodology for the calculation of management fees and a new policy to charge to ground floor leaseholders for services they did not benefit from, which was blocked by the Lead Member;
  • In summer 2010 a draft version was produced for the PSG, identifying a series of very challenging issues for THH around the management of leasehold services, value for money, caretaking, repairs and maintenance, management and administration fees, and several Service Levels Agreements with LBTH;
  • However, publication of the final audit report was delayed by the Mayoral Election in October 2010 and not finally signed off by the PSG until May 2011, by which time LBTH/THH had already begun consultation on a “Leasehold Policy Review” which was claimed to have been based on its findings;
  • The Mayor and Lead Member subsequently established a Leasehold Action Plan Working Group (LAPWG), including representatives of leaseholders to bring together the Beevers & Struthers’ recommendations, those of the Audit Commission and THH’s own Leaseholder Service Improvement Group, and a Statement of Intent was agreed by all those involved to implement the 54 recommendations or agree an alternative remedy;
  • Over the next 18 months, just five of the 54 recommendations were implemented and in October 2012, THH sent leaseholders “actuals”, which included significantly increased charges in most areas, particularly block/estate cleaning, a 17 per cent “Overhead” fee and new SLAs with LBTH.  They were told these costs had been calculated on the B&S audit and had actually been “dampened” and so would increase further over the next two years;
  • In spring 2013, the St Stephen’s Estate Leaseholders Association published a damning scrutiny report, which exposed the failure to implement the recommendations in the original Beevers& Struthers audit;
  • In response, the current Lead Member for Housing & Development, is now proposing an “review” of the original B&S audit.

This Council believes:

  • The Mayor and THH have not implemented the recommendations contained in the independent audit in accordance with the agreed Statement of Intent and that the original aim of increasing transparency and accountability has been lost;
  • Leaseholders should be fully recharged for the costs of the services they receive, but that the 2011/12 “actuals” are not based on the methodology set out in the recommendations in the B&S audit, but are instead opaque and represent very poor value for money;

This Council resolves to call on the Mayor to:

  • Explain why only 5 out of 54 of the recommendations in the B&S audit have so far been implemented;
  • Explain why an 17 per cent “Overhead” has been introduced across most Heads of Charge:
  • Justify the Service Level Agreements between LBTH and THH and explain what action is being taken to ensure best value;
  • Instruct THH to publish a report detailing how the actions it has taken since October 2010 to achieve “savings” have resulted in reduced costs to council leaseholders and tenants.

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Here are the list of questions the Labour group will pose to Mayor Lutfur Rahman at next Wednesday’s full meeting of Tower Hamlets council.

None of them will be answered by him of course.

Denise Jones has an intriguing angle.

Councillor Question                                    

Cllr Rachael Saunders

Is the Mayor prepared to be honest about how his re-election campaign is being funded?
Cllr Carlo Gibbs Why has the Mayor suspended the community chest and transferred the funds to the community events fund?
Cllr Shiria Khatun Why has enough not been done to reduce ASB on the brownfield estate in my ward?
Cllr Abdal Ullah What has the Mayor done about the decimation of Safer Neighbourhood police teams?
Cllr John Pierce What has the Mayor of Tower Hamlets done to improve cycle safety in the borough? 
Cllr Denise Jones Does the mayor agree that fraud has no place in our politics?
Cllr Ann Jackson Can the Mayor enlighten us on the allocation of social housing in the Olympic park on a per borough basis and the rationale used for allocation?
Cllr Joshua Peck What assessment has the Mayor made of the supply of large family homes (over three bed) in the open market in the borough and what does he plan to do to ease the shortage to allow growing families to stay in the borough?
Cllr Anwar Khan What is the current vacancy rate in each of the borough’s town centres?
Cllr MA Mukit How many incidents of anti-social behaviour in Weavers over last year?
Cllr Marc Francis Can the Deputy Mayor and Lead Member for Community Safety services tell us what action is being taken to improve the safety of residents in Fish Island using the Hackney Cut and Hertford Union canal towpath?
Cllr Zenith Rahman Why does the Mayor think almost 20,000 incidences of anti-social behaviour in one year is acceptable? If he doesn’t, why hasn’t he acted?

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