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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Monday, 26 June 2017

COUNCIL'S PR MAN DOES A RUNNER!

For years the Dame has been urging the Council to scrap the PR Dept as being expensive and unfit for purpose.
Though she doesn't  generally approve of outsourcing her recommendation was that a smaller agency be retained to manage strategy and high-level execution and a skeleton staff maintained in-house.

The cost of Mr. Fizzy Fitzpatrick's Dept was over £400k a year and the strain of the Grenfell Tower tragedy just overwhelmed him and his team: in fact, it seems that Fizzy has upped sticks and done a runner!
FITZPATRICK DOING RUNNER

The Council has now appointed Newgate to damage limit. The cost? 
Well, the Dame speculates the bill be in excess of £250,000.

LABOUR CALLS FOR HEADS TO ROLL

Labour Cllrs say Leader and deputy must go
 
Labour Councillors at Kensington & Chelsea Council are calling for the immediate resignation of the Leader of the Council and his deputy, who is the Cabinet member for housing and property.
 
‘These two politicians should take responsibility for the Grenfell Tower disaster, which took so many lives needlessly, despite the warnings by residents and Labour councillors,’ said Robert Atkinson, leader of the Labour Group, whose ward includes the tower.
 
‘It is totally unfair to force the resignation of CEO Nicholas Holgate for carrying out  the policies determined by politicians.’
 
Cllr Atkinson added that there is no confidence in North Kensington in the political leadership of the Council. Cllr Rock Fielding Mellen, Cabinet Member for  Housing and Property, and Cllr Nick Paget Brown should do the decent thing and resign.
 
The Labour Group welcomes the criminal investigation being undertaken by the Metropolitan Police and will assist in any way it can.

Saturday, 24 June 2017

STOP OUTSOURCING NOW!

There was a time, many years ago, when local government was the pride of British public administration. 
We really were very good at it. 
Council officers were people of talent and integrity....then something changed....
Local Government lost confidence in itself. 
It decided functions it had previously administered so well needed to be handed over to greedy outsourcers. 

Did it save us money? No
We have made him a near
billionaire


Did it make local government more efficient? No





Did it enrich Sir Ron Aldridge, the founder of Capita? 
Most certainly.

In fact, Sir Ron, a one time a low grade council employee, has made so much money out of us poor, sodding taxpayers that he has been able to throw back a few million to build academies.
Ron is not alone. 
There are other private sector leeches clinging to bloated and indolent local councils.

Now is the time to halt outsourcing. 
Councils need to get back to what they were set up to do, and perfectly capable of doing,....running services themselves.

At the same time let's can the hopeless Tri Borough experiment: it's been a disaster. 
The only beneficiaries have been Sir Pooter Cockell and Sir Delboy Myers who got themselves knighthoods.

K&C needs to do three things fast...


  • scrap the Cabinet system and revert to the tried and tested Committee system
  • Cease outsourcing
  • Scrap whatever is left of the Tri Borough project





KCTMO AND ITS BUM CONTRACTORS




Dear Dame

When speaking to a local leaseholder, putting an article together about KCTMO negligence, she mentioned most contractors employed by KCTMO go into liquidation once a major job/work is completed therefore removing all guarantees....just wondering if the Dame had any insights on this you could make known.  

Certainly, our last major works contractor (Frencon) went into administration post job and my friend's contractor likewise. 
Lakanal House contractor (Apollo) also, who are now renamed (Keepmoat) and is being employed for major work in the south of the borough by KCTMO!!!
There is definitely a pattern there for serious investigation, it all makes sense, it's a scam and the section 20 notices keep the scam going with the same defunct contractors (Wates Living Space from reading reviews seems to be the exception)

A friend in Finborough Rd says a leaseholder friend of hers explained scaffolding was erected around their small building two years ago by KCTMO and no work has yet been done so who is paying for the rental and who is getting the cash?

Its also been mentioned the only directors on the KCTMO board are residents or elected councillors - the stooges.

You couldn't make it up.  


Keep up the good work and best wishes to the Dame.

Can I please be anonymous....

Friday, 23 June 2017

SIR DELBOY GOES HELTER SKELTER FROM SHELTER

The Guardian reports that Sir Delboy Myers and mate, Tony Rice, have resigned from Shelter.
Delboy is a particularly obnoxious fellow who twisted the none too bright Pooter Cockell around his finger.
How Delboy ever landed the £260k a year job running K&C is a massive mystery considering his own qualification as a mere social worker. 
That these two 'characters' ever got 'K's is a crushing inditement of the Dishonours System.

Thanks to RBKC residents Delboy is the recipient of a massive pension. 
Something smells very bad here. 
The BIG question is whether Delboy and Rice knew each other prior to joining Shelter


SLUG ISH







Two board members of the housing charity Shelter, including its chairman Sir Derek Myers, have resigned amid reports of internal disquiet over the organisation’s allegedly muted response to the Grenfell Tower fire.
Myers is a former chief executive of Kensington and Chelsea council, which owns Grenfell Tower, while trustee Tony Rice is chairman of Xerxes Equity, the sole shareholder in Omnis Exteriors – the company that sold the cladding used in the tower.
On Friday afternoon, Shelter confirmed the pair had resigned from the board but offered no reasons for their departure.
STATEMENT from Shelter’s interim chief executive, Graeme Brown, said: “Tony Rice has resigned as a trustee of Shelter and the chair of the board of trustees, Sir Derek Myers, has also resigned. The role of trustee is entirely voluntary and unpaid, and we wish them the best for the future.”
Asked subsequently to explain the joint resignations, a Shelter spokesperson said: “The trustees decided to step away from their roles in the interests of the charity. They would not want there to be any unnecessary distraction from the work we are doing to help people affected by the Grenfell fire.”
The Guardian has seen an internal staff email from Shelter union representatives sent earlier this week. It notes that although Shelter’s frontline services had been quick to provide practical help to those affected by the fire, many staff had expressed discontent that the charity “had been slow to speak publicly about the event”.
The email said the reps had raised staff and public concerns over possible reasons for Shelter’s apparent silence to management at a routine meeting this week.
A Shelter spokesperson said it had made several media statements over the past few days concerning the Grenfell fire and the needs of former residents of the tower who needed rehousing. Its website has a four-paragraph press release made on 16 June, two days after the blaze, calling for a full investigation of the fire.
Shelter added that it continued to provide free expert advice to anyone in the country who needed help with bad housing or homelessness, including Grenfell Tower residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed by the fire.

The Guardian say that as far as its aware there is no insinuation of any wrong doing 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

NICK ROSS WRITES......

NICK ROSS

Dear Members,

A journalist has approached the Kensington Society with the specific interest in “a tale of two cities” – two Kensingtons.  I asked our president, Nick Ross, if he could respond.  Please see below his reply:
 

Amanda tells me you wanted to do a story on a divided community in Kensington, and perhaps one about fire safety.

On the first, though I know editors generally aren’t keen on nuance, a warning about clichés. There aren’t two communities in Kensington; there are many, and sometimes few in the sense that neighbours might not know each other well. It’s true there are very big wealth disparities in close geographical proximity, with Kensington and Chelsea having some of the most expensive housing in Britain, though arguably that’s better than having rich boroughs separated from poor ones. It’s also true there is a general wealth gap between the north and the south of the borough, although there is social housing mixed with private housing in every ward. It’s not true to say than only poor people live in high rise, or that the Grenfell tragedy was caused because of the wealth gap. Flats are on sale in Campden Hill Towers, one of the tallest blocks in the borough, at over £1m for little more than 800 sq feet - and that tower block doesn’t have sprinklers either.

What’s more Labour councillors and Labour ministers have been as slow about updating fire regulations, and as resistant to requiring sprinklers, as Conservative ones. I’ve been to see three ministers over the past thirteen years, urging the compulsory fitting of sprinklers in all social housing, and the Labour ones were as dismissive as the Tories. It’s true Kensington and Chelsea were like rabbits in headlights when the catastrophe unfolded, but I suspect most other boroughs, run by any or all political parties, are just as bad about contingency planning for this sort of thing. It’s true RBKC have huge financial reserves, and it’s questionable whether that’s a sensible policy given there is so much deprivation in the borough, but it’s also true that the decisions on how to upgrade Grenfell were taken by a committee with a big majority of tenants and independent members.

So it would be good if you could avoid oversimplifications.

The disgrace about Grenfell is actually complicated. While I and many fire chiefs have been passionate about sprinklers and are angry about what has happened – and you may have seen from Monday’s Panorama the specific warnings given to ministers by the All Party group, as I did to the Local Government Association in 2013 – nevertheless some other fire experts were half-hearted and wondered, given that fire deaths were declining for many years, whether it was worth the investment. Chief fire and rescue advisers to successive governments neither pressed hard for updating building regulations or for fitting sprinklers at least on the most vulnerable housing, and nor did they resign over what I saw as safety lapses. They were all good people, all trying to balance risk against expenditure. I disagreed with them and I think they gave bad advice, but they were not evil and they should not be cast as villains.

The task now is to make sure this never happens again. You could help by pressing the case for sprinklers, especially in social housing where there is often multi-occupation, where people tend not to afford the most up to date electrical equipment, and more residents tend to smoke more. We also need them in care homes, hospitals and schools – in fact everywhere where people rely on someone else for their own safety. Most of the 300 or so who die from fire each year do so in low-rise, so let’s not get fixated on tower block, cladding or ventilation systems, important as they are. No one has ever died in a home protected by a sprinkler. They’re cheap, at around £1,200 to £2,000 per dwelling, around the same as fitted carpets. In around 95% of cases they control the fire before the fire brigade arrives, only one sprinkler head triggers at a time as needed, they cause far less water damage, and they almost never go wrong. At Grenfell they would have put the fire out before it spread, and even if flames got unnoticed to the cladding, sprinklers would have stopped it gaining a foothold in other flats and would have washed the smoke from stairways and kept the temperatures down.

The real story is not one about a divided community but about how, with fire safety, it always takes a tragedy to get us all to act: north, south, rich, poor, left and right.

All good wishes.
Nick Ross, President
The Kensington Society

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

HOLGATE CALLED UPON TO RESIGN?

Holgate has to resign, yet Sir 'Delboy' Derek Myers gets a K! 

It's appalling that Holgate's head should roll in this way.
STATEMENT
SCAPEGOAT











Dear Dame

Yesterday, 20th June, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government required the Leader of RBKC to seek Nicholas Holgate's resignation.

Yours sincerely

Anon KC employee

JOHN McDONNELL SHAMES THE LABOUR PARTY

John McDonnell has suggested members of the IRA active units be 'honoured'....even those who bombed working class areas where children were present.
.....and before people start saying the Dame is anti Oirish...her ggrandfather was a leading Sinn Feiner from Ballina, Co Mayo and arrested by the British.

Those Mayo men would have shot those who killed children.

 "It's about time we started honouring those people involved in the armed struggle. It was bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table." John McDonnell

This may be what McDonnell means..."Three-year-old Johnathan Ball died at the scene. He had been in town with his babysitter, shopping for a Mother's Day card. 
The second victim, 12-year-old Tim Parry died on 25 March 1993. 54 other people were injured, four of them seriously." 

Why are people so shocked? McDonnell comes, via Liverpool, of pure bred Irish Provo stock. 



He even considered a priestly vocation........and that
might have something to do with his reputation as an extreme misogynist.

McDonnell hates the English with a passion. 
That passion is vented in supporting the mass demonstration today.

The results of the recent election show that democracy works in this country. 

But that's not good enough for McDonnell.

The demonstration today will distract the police and the other services protecting Londoners against more terrorist atrocities.

The police and emergency services have enough to do without having to marshal crowds with malice on their minds. 

Let's not beat around the bush....

McDonnell gives the great Labour Party a really bad rap.

The great Labour leaders of the past must be turning in their graves...




Tuesday, 20 June 2017

CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION KICKS OFF AT HORNTON ST



Dear Dame

The Met have served notice on RBKC that a criminal investigation has started and ordered the preservation of all documentation that pertains to Grenfell Tower.  A bit late IMO as I suspect the reason that Kensington Town Hall (KTH) was not only closed at the weekend, but off limits to ALL staff, was so that the shredders could go into overdrive without pesky witnesses.  I've worked at KC (based at KTH) for 25+ years and have NEVER known this to happen.

Re the Met's investigation, KC have retained expert advisors (I understand that a dozen or so QCs were to have attended tomorrow) to prepare for the investigation and Public Enquiry.  Given that the Town Hall is to shut "for safety reasons" tomorrow (Wednesday), I guess the silks will have wasted their journey.

Yours sincerely

Anon KC employee

CLADDING APPROVED BY PLANNING DEPT

Dear Dame

I found this interesting page from original 2012 refurbishment Grenfell Tower application.

It quite clearly shows that the decision on the type of cladding was in the hands of the Planning Dept at that time run by Jonathan Bore.
Yours sincerely
(name withheld)

Bore









Click to enlareg

Monday, 19 June 2017

A TOWN HALL BUILT FROM THE PROCEEDS OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY

Once upon a time, there was a most unpleasant leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council. 
His name was Nicholas Freeman and even has a prize named for him!

Freeman's grand plan was to build a pretentiously vulgar new Town Hall and nothing was going to get in his way; after all, the great Sir Basil Spence had shown him plans for the hideous monstrosity in Hornton St.
It would be replete with armorial bearings of past and present mayors(some mayors never had enough dosh to get that sorted!) and space for the Mayoral Roller and Jag....oh, and a vast Leader's Office.
Very common

There was just one slight problem....dosh again. 
Where was the dosh to come from to build this municipal Kubla Khan style palace?
Freeman decided he would quickly bulldoze the Old Town Hall. 
However, fuddy-duddy lovers of Victorian architecture got wind of it and applied for a listing. Undeterred and over the weekend, Freeman sent in the bulldozers(yes, a bit like the Odeon in the High Street).
Vandalised!

By Monday, there was nothing left.
So, the new Town Hall was built on the proceeds of a criminal action.



More Gossip from the Town Hall...

The Dame hears that Cllr Tim 'Oirish' Ahern has been 'pepping' up the staff, telling them it's all ok and in any case there are over 450 towers in the UK with similar cladding.
Tim's ex wife is 'social alpinist' and Yorkshire ex-copper's daughter, Phillipa Rose.
Poor old Pippa has been fingered by HMRC and told she owes millions for the film finance 'investment' that went wrong.
Tim was a shareholder in her now defunct head hunting operation so might be feeling the pinch.

LIONS LED BY DONKEYS

Dear Dame

I went to the service at St Mary Abbots today.

Despite the intense heat the splendid firemen and police were in their heavy uniforms. 
Young Mr. Feilding Mellen decided to model the cool summer days look with open neck shirt and what we, in our younger days, would call 'sports slacks'.
I will be having a word with his mum to suggest 
her son dress more appropriately for formal civic occasions commemorating the lost lives of residents: after all, if the firemen could take the trouble to dress in formal attire so could the deputy leader....very poor form, dear Dame,

Ever yours,

Lady M........y

Sunday, 18 June 2017

PLEASE DON'T DRAG POOTER COCKELL INTO THE TRAGEDY

In 2013 the leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea was none other than that awful
political poseur, Sir Merrick 'Pooter' Cockell.
Pooter had a phenomenal record for expense claiming on international 'fact finding' sprees...until the Dame put a stop to his little games killing off his hopes of a peerage.
Pooter Playing Elder Statesman!

Money mad Pooter was at one time triple jobbing on the taxpayer to such an extent that he was earning more than the PM!


Nothing gave Pooter greater pleasure than being driven around in the mayor's new Bentley and hobnobbing with rich property magnates.

Not bad for an ex-fag salesman with not a qualification to his name. 
Pompous Pooter has now re-invented himself as a lobbyist and an adviser to PA Consulting (thanks to his mate, Jon Moynihan)
Obviously, the last thing Pooter wants is to be dragged into the Grenfell Tower tragedy so we need to make clear this threatening letter, to Eddie Daffern of Grenfell Action Group, was sent out in July 2013 and Pooter resigned in May, 2013 so that's ok then....

LINK TO INDEPENDENT




TASK FORCE APPOINTED ON GRENFELL DISASTER


The Rt Hon. Amber Rudd 17th June 2017
The Home Secretary
2 Marsham St,
Westminster,
London
SW1P 4DF


Dear Home Secretary
I welcome the recent announcement that the very necessary step has been taken to appoint a government Task Force to coordinate all relief and support in this disaster. This is not a moment too soon: we have been hearing this morning of experienced and organised volunteer groups’ despair at being asked to stand back when there was little or no help to replace them.
I have been in discussion over the past few days with local charities, voluntary organisations, and groups of volunteers working for affected residents. They have made representations to me, on the basis of which I I have collated a list of the following key issues they are facing and insist that the following actions are taken:
Immediate support for those affected
  1. No household or individual should have to contact many different parties to get the help they need. Every affected household or individual should have a named officer/social worker, and any handovers done with named replacements. Support should be available 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week.

  1. There must be officials from all relevant government departments and agencies on site to deal with benefit claims, identity documents, any issues related to immigration status and all other key administrative and bureaucratic issues.

  1. Those who need to bury their loved ones must be linked up with the free funeral services being so generously offered.

  1. I have been told that some people who have lost their homes have been sent out of borough and are being given only £10 per day subsistence. If this is accurate it must be addressed without delay.

  1. Those affected and in employment must receive help to inform employers so that they do not lose work because of this disaster.

  1. A very firm commitment that in the short, mid and long-term, residents affected are located within the borough or in close neighbouring boroughs - so they are close to their local networks, schools, work and communities - must be formally announced and communicated to all residents without delay.

  1. As soon as possible I would like to see a full and detailed breakdown of every category and approximate of person, what is being done for them, and where they are being relocated. This to include any temporary or AirB&B guests who may have been staying in the building.

  1. Information, reassurance and advice must be given to neighbouring residents living in towers, along with a timetable of safety checks, especially those in the Silchester estate.

Co-ordination of relief response
  1. There must be a single point of contact and a coordinated response to offers of support by volunteers whose skills and experience are needed, such as counsellors and psychotherapists and solicitors.
  1. There must be regular briefings throughout the day to all those involved in the relief effort, with a single point of contact in each group and a single point of contact for requests for information.

  1. Links must be established between donated funds and those who so desperately need them. Kensington and Chelsea Foundation are a well-established group and we need to see a robust method of getting funds out where needed and without delay.

I appreciate that fulfilling the above will require significant resources and do not want to minimise the scale of the task ahead. No doubt your team has collated a similar task list and I would be grateful for sight of this, and to have your firm commitment that all the above issues have been taken on board.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to the extraordinary response of both the emergency services and the local community. Their input has been exceptional and unprecedented and offers an example to us all of what can be achieved when communities work together.
I look forward to your early response.
A copy of this letter is being sent to Councillor Nicholas Paget-Brown, Leader of Council of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
 


Emma Dent Coad

MP for Kensington