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Bonkers Blog January 2013

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6 January (Part 2) - Listening to you. Working for you. Not

Will TuckleyNo one in Bexley is allowed to pose a formal question to the council unless he is able to agree that his name and address is posted to the council’s website. No one that is except councillors who are not required to publish their addresses anywhere. It is what Bexley council calls democracy and there is absolutely no reason for it.

The council should check that the question is submitted from a Bexley address or the sender is on the electoral roll but publishing the address is an act of spite designed to reduce the amount of questioning. It also puts people at risk. All women with abusive partners hiding in refuges, for example, are disenfranchised by our disgusting council. They don’t care.

Mick Barnbrook decided to put the case that the council’s policy - which the idiot Mayor Alan Downing of Steynton Avenue says is not a policy - puts some residents at risk. He wrote to Chief Executive Will Tuckley seeking “a proper explanation”. Did he get one? Is an answer of this calibre worth paying £258,782 a year for? You be the judge. Will Tuckley replied as follows…

Dear Mr. Barnbrook,
Thank you for your email of 11 December.
The Council's agreed protocol currently requires the names and addresses of individuals submitting public questions to Council meetings to be published in the agenda for the meeting. The protocol will be reviewed and this matter will be considered at a future meeting of the Constitution Review Panel.
Yours sincerely,

Will Tuckley,

The Constitution Review Panel meets only very rarely. The last one was held 21 months ago in April 2011 and was convened solely to see what sanctions could be imposed on residents wanting to know what our crooked council was up to. Apart from imposing the address requirement it banned all forms of recording. There is no meeting scheduled for 2013. Mr. Barnbrook has written back to ask when the matter will be considered.

For the record Mr. Barnbrook’s first letter is appended below at his request.

Dear Mr. Tuckley,
I have been informed that under Section 32B of the Localism Act 2011, councillors who perceive themselves to be under the threat of violence or intimidation are allowed to exempt themselves from putting their addresses in the Register of Member Interests.
Since having my address published on the agenda of a recent council meeting, having submitted a question, I have been the subject of violence to my property on no less than four occasions.
On one occasion I had raw eggs thrown at the front of my property.
On two occasions I had dog faeces spread over my front floor.
On the fourth occasion I had nails placed under the wheels of my car whilst it was parked on my drive.
There are a number of reasons why I might have been the victim of these attacks on my property.
It is well known that I am the complainant against Ian Clements, former Leader of Bexley Council, who was sentenced to a term of imprisonment after being convicted of fraud whilst in the office of Deputy Mayor of London.
I am also the complainant against several Members of Parliament who have either been imprisoned or removed from office for fiddling their expenses.
I cannot prove that these attacks on my property were due to me having had my private address made public by the council, but in order to reduce the possibility of further attacks, I am requesting that I am afforded the same facility as councillors, by having my name exempted from publication on any future occasion I submit a written question.
In a recent response to a question I had submitted for the next council meeting, Kevin Fox has informed me that members of the public have their addresses published in order to show that they are entitled to ask questions in accordance with the council's standing order which requires questioner's addresses to appear in the Register of Electors for the Borough.
Why is it necessary to publish the private addresses of members of the public who submit questions, when Eva Read, on receipt of a question, can check the Register of Electors to verify that the person submitting the question is eligible to do so? If the question is accepted, a rider can be added after the questioner's name on the agenda that the individuals status as a Bexley resident has been verified.
Any attempt to dissuade members of the public from submitting written questions to be read out and answered at a council meeting, by insisting that the question will only be accepted if that person's address is made public, is, in my opinion, a breach of that person's human rights and possibly the Data Protection Act.
Why should a question submitted to be read out at a council meeting be treated differently from a letter asking a question of the council, that is not intended to be read out at a council meeting.
I am also requesting to know why a system that had operated perfectly well for many years without addresses being published, was suddenly changed.
Without a proper explanation, any refusal to grant the exemption to members of the public as well as councillors, would amount to victimisation.
I look forward to your early response in accordance with Bexley Council's protocol relating to the receipt of correspondence.
Yours sincerely,

Michael Barnbrook


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