Monday, July 21, 2008

So long for now

Regular readers will have noticed that we've not been posting anywhere nearly as regularly as we used to. We feel bad about this, we really do want to provide an outlet for stories and information about Greenwich Council, but we've become more and more busy with our own lives and so we've decided to take a break from this blog.

When we set this blog up in May 2006 we did so with the aim of cutting though the spin coming out of Greenwich Council, helping to keep the Council on its toes and offering the long suffering residents of Greenwich a small platform to air their views though the comments section. We hope that we have in some way been able to do this, over the last 2 and a bit years we have had a number of small successes, some of the highlights have been;

We will leave this blog up for anyone looking for information and we do ask that you keep it in your RSS aggregator and check back from time to time as you never know we might find an opportunity to start it up again! Also if you do find anything out about Greenwich Council or its elected officials that you really think needs to be made public then do email us as we will keep an eye on the inbox.

Finally a big thank you to all those people who have emailed us views and tip offs and also to all our commentors, this site simply would not have been what it was without you.

We hope you enjoyed reading the site.

Greenwich Watch

Friday, July 11, 2008

Councillor Kanta Patel R.I.P

Councillor Kanta Patel has passed away last week after being ill for some time. She had served on Greenwich Council for 21 years.
She was a Councillor for the Plumstead ward along with Councillors Cornforth and Jawaid.
Our respects to her family and friends.

The official council tribute can be found here.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Greenwich Council jumping the gun

Looks like Greenwich Council have been caught jumping the gun again. In the Audit Commissions' Report of the repairs and inspection services it looks like Greenwich Council has been threating legal action before it should. This way it gets what it wants from people.

Paragraph 95
The gas servicing programme is not sufficiently managed. The programme is based on a geographical basis, with contractors targeting properties in a given area at a given time. While this generally ensures that contact is sought with tenants before the CP12 expires, it also means that on some occasions the Council is seeking access shortly after the issue date of a CP12. In one case we found that despite the CP12 being issued in February 2007 the tenant had received numerous access letters, including a legal enforcement letter by October 2007. Not only does this mean that the Council are threatening legal action before the expiry of the CP12, but the necessity for tenants to arrange access so soon after the completion of a CP12 means more inconvenience for the tenant. This is not a customer focused approach and causes preventable inconvenience to tenants.
- A CP12 is the documentation provided to the tenant and retained by the landlord confirming the completion of the annual gas servicing check

This also shows that the council is making its tenants complete a second CP12 right after one has already been completed. We've posted before about Greenwich Council's treatment of tenants but this takes a different approach to it all.


Friday, June 20, 2008

All aboard the 20.08 Gravy Train has arrived

Here are this years pay rises. This year the councillors gave themselves a pay rise of about 2.5%. We'll let you digest these figures, we think there all correct but the work experience photocopier boy isn't what he used to be.
Just like last year most of the positions for panels go to favored Labour Councillors and the ones who don't get a freebie might get the change to be the Mayor the following year.
- we are sorry about the formatting, blogger won't let us easily put in tables, so you will have to put up with a list. It is listed with the highest pay at the top, followed then by name.

Councillor Party Council Position Total Pay
Chris Roberts Lab Leader £62,668
Angela Cornforth Lab Cabinet Health, Adults and Older People £32,329
Denise Hyland Lab Cabinet Economy and Skills £32,329
Jackie Smith Lab Cabinet Children’s Services £32,329
John Fahy Lab Cabinet Culture and Olympics £32,329
Maureen O'Mara Lab Cabinet Neighbourhood Services £32,329
Mick Hayes Lab Chair of Audit and Risk Management £32,329
Peter Brooks Lab Deputy Leader £32,329
Peter Kotz Lab Cabinet Performance Review and Value for Money £32,329
Rajwant Sidhu Lab Cabinet Greener Greenwich £32,329
Alex Grant Lab Chair of Planning £28,388
Spencer Drury Tory Leader of the Opposition £28,386
Clive Mardner Lab Communities £20,059
Dick Quibell Lab Children & Young People £20,059
Harry Singh Lab Scrutiny Panel Chair £20,059
Janet Gillman Lab Scrutiny Panel Chair £20,059
John Wakefield Lab Scrutiny Panel Chair £20,059
Norman Adams Lab Chair Pension Fund £20,059
Sajid Jawaid Lab Cabinet Modernisation £20,059
Steve Offord Lab Mayor £20,059
Brian Woodcraft Lib Dem Leader of the Lib Dems £15,833
Paul Webbewood Lib Dem Deputy Leader of the Lib Dems £15,833
Ray Walker Lab Chair of Licensing £15,833
Peter King Tory Deputy Leader of the Tories £13,023
Eileen Glover Tory Tory Group Whip £13,022
Allan MacCarthy Lab Deputy Mayor £11,732
Barbara Barwick Lab Chair of Best Value Review Team £11,732
Gary Parker Lab Chair of Best Value Review Team £11,732
Mary Mills Lab Chair of Best Value Review Team £11,732
Alex Wilson Tory Backbencher £10,210
Andy Jennings Tory Backbencher £10,210
Beverley Jones Lab Backbencher £10,210
Bill Freeman Lab Backbencher £10,210
Chris Taylor Tory Backbencher £10,210
Clare Morris Lab Backbencher £10,210
Danny Thorpe Lab Backbencher £10,210
David Grant Lab Backbencher £10,210
Dermot Poston Tory Backbencher £10,210
Don Austin Lab Backbencher £10,210
Elizabeth Truss Tory Backbencher £10,210
Geoff Brighty Tory Backbencher £10,210
Graeme Coombes Tory Backbencher £10,210
Jagir Sekhon Lab Backbencher £10,210
John Hills Tory Backbencher £10,210
John Kelly Lab Backbencher £10,210
Kanta Patel Lab Backbencher £10,210
Mandy Brinkhurst Tory Backbencher £10,210
Margaret Mythen Lab Backbencher £10,210
Nigel Fletcher Tory Backbencher £10,210
Paul Tyler Lab Backbencher £10,210
Terry Hales Lab Backbencher £10,210


Friday, June 06, 2008

Tunnel back to usual

Its being reported that the new Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has enacted one of his election promises and has overturned Ken Livingstone's policy over the Blackwall Tunnel's tidal flow operation. This means that the tidal flow operation is now back in use, this is likely to be welcome by anyone trying to drive in Greenwich in the mornings.
Does this mean that the possible Greenwich Congestion Charge is also being sailed down the river?

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Arms and fists all up in the air again?

Last night was again the Council's AGM, we wouldn't have bothered to write a post as apparently it was very similar to last years. With councillors awarding themselves different jobs which have already been decided in closed door discussions. The Tories and Lib Dems made their usual plea for a more impartial mayor as it is constitutionally supposed to be an unbiased position, and not the former Labour Deputy Whip as the Council administration got.

Like we said we wouldn't normally bother to write about this, as it is about as regular as the tides in the Thames. However at the very end of the meeting we are led to believe that the often outspoken half of the dynamic duo, Cllr Paul Webbewood managed to lose control of his senses again. By all accounts he got up at the end of the meeting, marched over to the Labour front bench and threatened the Labour Councillor and Chair of Licensing Cllr Ray Walker. Why you may ask? Was it because his local watering hole was refused a late license? No, apparently it because Cllr Ray Walker wouldn't let Tory Councillor Eileen Glover be on the licensing committee.

So let's just go over that again, a Lib Dem Councillor tried to get into a fight with a Labour Councillor over the views of a Tory Councillor. An all-party Royal Rumble!

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Greenwich Time get's a facelift

Following on from our last post about Greenwich Time and the role that it plays within Greenwich its interesting to note that this week sees a relaunch of the viewspaper. It would appear to be trying to mimic the style and front page content of a real local newspaper albeit with a strong tabloid influence. The front page has as its lead story a photo of Charlton Athletic's Zheng "Zizi" Zhi along with a tired, emotional and unshaven looking Cllr Chris Roberts. This is along with numerous competitions on the inside pages; there is still some space left over for what the communications budget is supposed to be spent on, that being informing the public about various official council activities, such as Council Housing and Jobs.

The front page also hosts an editorial from Peter Cordwell, the editor and publisher from Community First Journals, which by all appearances earn a vast amount of their income from Greenwich Council. It says "GT will find the people who are already beavering away behind the scenes to improve their neighbourhoods." along with "We'll also be promoting Greenwich Council services and initiatives working to make Greenwich greater". We can't but help remind ourselves that who pays the Piper, picks the tune.

The final passage of the editorial really caught our eye though, "Cynics like to say there's no such thing as communities, but we're having none of that... and we'll prove it every week in the new GT". In our view a real community would welcome it if people pointed out their flaws, afterall how are they supposed to improve otherwise, that and it keeps them honest. So we look forward to seeing the minimum 2 photos of Council Leader Chris Roberts and the photo of a random cabinet member for each edition. What will be interesting is if any of the reports will cover both sides of the story, as real local papers try to do, or even if these problems ever get a mention;

At the same time as all of this it looks like the Council are also conducting yet another survey, this time into Greenwich Time, take a look.

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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Informing the public?

Looks like the nonpartisan, kitty litter liner that is Greenwich Time was being delivered on the Polling Day for the Mayoral and GLA elections. Along with the usual pro Council stories and smiling photos of various Council Cabinet members there was also a piece covering the elections. Now, was it that Greenwich Council and the newspapers' controller in chief (Cllr Chris Roberts) wanted to help promote a candidate in the election, or was it incompetence?

The Council knew the date of the election, and did the normal thing any council would do and tell people how to vote but still failed to allow time for the newspaper to be delivered? When they realised that the election was on Thursday they called up the company that delivers Greenwich Time and at short notice got them to rush out the viewspaper?

So either incompetence, corruption or just yet another funny coincidence? You decide.

Either way, we wonder if Chris Roberts will let there be a photo of the new Mayor of London, the Conservative Boris Johnson? Or if only the GLA Representative, Labour's Len Duvall, will get any coverage?

Hat Tip: Indigo and Dizzy Thinks

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

GLA and Mayoral results in for Greenwich

Here are the final results for Greenwich for the Assembly Member;

Len Duvall LAB

Andy Jennings CON

Brian Robson LD

Susan Luxton GRN

Tess Culnane NF

Stephen Hammond CPA

Arnold Tarling UKIP

Jennifer Jones LL

Johanna Munilla END

Chris Flood SOA


The Turnout at 42.4% was, as we reported yesterday, much higher than in 2004.

So it looks like Len Duvall gets to keep his job, although now with Boris Johnson elected as Mayor he will presumably be leader of the Opposition Labour group instead. If this is the case, and with his experience from Greenwich Council as Labour being in control it is going to be interesting to see if he able to function well in opposition?

We shall have to see.

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Friday, May 02, 2008

High Turnout in Greenwich

We're getting reports of a very high turnout in Greenwich for yesterdays elections. The count is being done today and the result should be out by around 6pm. We'll post as soon as we know what's going on.
Looks like this has been an interesting election afterall.

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