Gerrymandering Judicial Review- by Havering Residents Association.

  • thehaveringdaily.co.uk

The H.R.A Group Leaders would like to update residents on what actions have been taken in relation to the audio recording shared with us by Councillor Bob Perry.

From the beginning the H.R.A have adhered to the Councillor Code of Contact process and it became clear very early on, that it was not fit for purpose in this instance. There was no option but to turn to legal advice, and the H.R.A commissioned Simon Bell, a Barrister specialising in Public and Local Government.

Judicial Review

The Chair of the H.R.A and Group Leaders met with the this week to discuss the viability of taking the matter to Judicial Review.

Despite Councillor Damian White’s actions being declared undemocratic and against the Nolan Principles, if a JR were to be pursued it would not be able to focus on his actions. The JR would have to be based on the lack of due process and the unsatisfactory decision making process.  

The legal advice confirmed there were grounds to pursue to JR due to the lack of ‘rationality’, and that there was ‘actual bias’ which suggests ‘pre-determination’ as the Conservative Committee Members had ignored the legal advice, placing the Council in a very difficult position.

Cost

To take the case to full JR would cost between £15-£25,000 which would require public fundraising. Simon advised that there is a 50%-70% chance of the H.R.A winning the case, however there were some areas to consider.

If the H.R.A were successful, the decision would be that the process previously undertaken would be null and void, and the matter would have to come back to the Council and potentially be decided at Full Council. Clearly that would not be satisfactory as, having the numbers, the Administration could simply vote it down in the same manner. Therefore, what would we actually gain from the action and costs undertaken?

The matter of costs against the H.R.A were also discussed. The H.R.A would be liable for paying any costs the Council incurred if the H.R.A were to lose the case, which could potentially mean a further £25,000 or more.  Conversely the Council would have to pay the H.R.A costs if they lost and not the Conservative Group, meaning the money would be coming from the public purse.

No Sanctions Possible

Taking everything into consideration the H.R.A Group Leaders have therefore reached the conclusion that what might be achieved by pursuing a JR, would not result in Councillor Damian White facing any sanctions and  would potentially place the burden of costs solely on the public. The only way to achieve sanctions, is at the ballot box in the 2022 Local Elections.

Not over yet

There are however some outstanding complaints against Councillors Matt Sutton and  Ray Best, the Chief Executive Andrew Blake-Herbert and the Monitoring Officer Abdus Choudhury, as well as an FOI request for the correspondence between the Leader of the Council and the Chief Executive, during the initial Boundary Commission process.

The Local Government Boundary Commission of England consultation was inundated with responses, with around one in three making reference to ‘Gerrymandering’. The decision to go back out to consultation or not will be made mid-December by the Commission, with a possible consultation process taking place in January.

And finally, a letter and supporting documentation has been submitted to the House of Lords and The Committee for Service in Public Office to highlight the inadequacy in the current arrangements for the oversight of standards in councils, which in this instance has resulted in a failure to scrutinise or sanction a serious allegation against those in positions of authority.

3 thoughts on “Gerrymandering Judicial Review- by Havering Residents Association.

  • 9th December 2020 at 3:48 pm
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    For these four walls, I’ve been able to, only recently, it has been agreed, for some reason to allow me to run the Council as a dictatorial democracy, and, erm, I’ve been able to. What a great shame that the HRA and the residents of Havering, are unable to have a full JR investigation in to the Gerrymandering scandal perpetrated by Mr White and his cronies. May all those involved in this injustice to the residents of Havering, hang their heads in shame at their despicable actions. On a brighter note, whilst not being found guilty, even though there was a case to answer to, Mr White wasn’t found innocent either. Instead, he had to rely on a technicality that the flunkies used to gloss over the scandal, and Mr White then swells with pride and states, “The Council’s adjudication and review committee has made a decision on this issue and as far as I am concerned the matter is closed.” That speaks volumes when he doesn’t have the b**** to actually allow a fully independent review of his and his cronies actions. What is even more disgraceful is the fact that some of those flunkies were present at the meetings and failed to declare an interest. Roll on the outstanding complaints against two Councillors, the Chief Executive and the Monitoring Officer. Funny how all four have been so very quiet since this scandal came to light. This entire issue just goes to show that it appears to smack of corruption in the council, from the top down. The next best outcome after the complaints are upheld, is for the Boundaries commission to leave the boundaries as they are and then we can show Mr White and his deadbeats just what we really think of them at the next council elections. Unfortunately, the truth couldn’t be printed here.

    Reply
    • 31st December 2020 at 4:45 pm
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      Well said getting rid of Johnson covid19 and dozy Damien at the same time best year ever

      Reply
  • 31st December 2020 at 4:43 pm
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    This Tory council as well as the Tory government needs throwing out of office by Havering residents in may elections in 2021

    Reply

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