Havering’s Residents Associations (H.R.A) statement
Havering’s Residents Associations, of which the Upminster and Cranham Residents’ Association are members, released the following statement prior to the London Borough of Havering’s Annual Meeting of the Council, held on 27 April 2021.
Havering’s Residents Associations will not be putting any names forward for Chairs of the existing Committee structures at this year’s Annual Council, simply because they do not agree with the structure in place.
Chair of the H.R.A, Councillor Gillian Ford said, “It would be disingenuous of us to put names forward for Chairs in a system we want to change. In 2018 a Cross-Party Review of Overview and Scrutiny came up with the agreed recommendation to reduce the Overview and Scrutiny Committees down from 8 to 2. When it came to the vote, the Conservatives and the Harold Wood Councillors rejected it, keeping the existing system. The H.R.A will continue to advocate for a change to the structure.”
Looking towards 2022, the H.R.A have suggested they will re-structure the system if they get into power, giving greater opportunities for back-bench Councillors to fully engage in the democratic process.
Leader of the Opposition, Councillor Ray Morgon went onto say, “We do not want to be part of this charade, the public want to see value for money, instead they are seeing Special Responsibility Allowances being used as bargaining chips to buy support from members.”
This has clearly been evidenced with Councillor Sally Miller who left the Residents Association, rewarded for crossing the floor with the Chair ship of the Crime & Disorder Scrutiny Sub-Committee with an allowance of £7803, Councillor Michael Deon Burton who crossed the floor to become the Mayor and Chair of the Joint Venture Group with allowances accruing to £19,890, Councillor Martin Goode from the Harold Wood Residents Association who on the night of the 2018 election along with the other two Ward Members, aligned with the Conservatives, Councillor Goode benefiting from an allowance as Chair of the Audit Committee of £7803, fellow Councillor Brian Eagling receiving £7803 as Chair of Highways, and the third Harold Member Councillor Darren Wise rewarded with £14,706 as Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Board.
Councillor Ray Morgon concluded by saying “Special Responsibility Allowances need to be on merit, and workload, ensuring the checks and balances are in place to test Cabinet policies and the delivery of services, as part of an open and transparent process and not for buying favours and keeping your group and members under control.”