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Bonkers Blog January 2013

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13 January (Part 2) - Hollier than thou

BCMG membersI am going to try my luck at summarising a three centimetre thick Bexley Council Monitoring Group file. It concerns a council meeting I attended last June. As the third to last paragraph of my blog records, at the end of the meeting Mick Barnbrook asked the council monitoring officer Mr. Akin Alabi a question which was answered with a reference to a letter Alabi had sent to central government. I heard him clearly, I wrote about it, it didn’t seem very remarkable. Little did I know!

When Mick asked for a copy under FOI regulations Mr. Alabi didn’t say he couldn’t have it nor did he deny it existed. He just ignored the question. The appropriate government department denied the letter existed and after it was clear he wasn’t going to be able to see the letter, Mick Barnbrook made an official complaint - for fibbing I suppose.

Much to his surprise he was invited to the council to put his complaint in person and John Watson, also of the BCMG and who had been present when Mr. Alabi referred to the letter that didn’t exist, was called as a witness - at a separate meeting.

I was at BCMG’s meeting when they discussed the invitation from the Head of Human Resources. I offered my opinion to the BCMG that it was at worst a trap and at best the council staff would lie and distort the facts. But it wasn’t my show and in the event John Watson did more or less what he was asked and Mick Barnbrook took along Elwyn Bryant as his ‘friend’.

John Watson said he wanted to record the meeting but the council kicked up their usual stink about that. I rather like the HR comment “The Council does not have a policy that allows meetings to be tape recorded. This has been requested by reason of accuracy but is not allowed”. Of course it isn’t, accurate records are the last thing Bexley council wants. So John did not record his meeting, neither did Mick, and that was their undoing.

Council officers took notes and eventually the official minutes of the meeting were provided. They put several unfortunate phrases into Mick Barnbrook’s mouth which he denied and Elwyn, his witness, confirms. I know Elwyn well enough due to the Craske affair to be sure he would let me know on the quiet if Mick had opened his mouth and put his foot in it.

The Head of Human Resources, Nick Hollier, says his records are accurate and implies that is the end of the matter. When asked for copies of the original hand written notes taken by his minions they are all conveniently destroyed. Except for one set, Hollier’s. And they are not a lot of use.
Nick Hollier's notes
Mick has been refused a readable translation so is now in the position of being refused recording facilities and the minutes which he disputes are based on notes which have been destroyed. Apparently he is supposed to accept without question that Hollier’s version of events is the correct one and you can begin to see why Bexley council in general and Human Resources in particular has gone on the record saying “This [recording] has been requested by (sic) reason of accuracy but is not allowed”. Accuracy doesn’t suit them. It wouldn’t suit any professional liar.

And what about the letter that Mr. Akin Alabi said he had sent and didn’t later deny it? Hollier has ruled that Mick Barnbrook made it up, it was all in his imagination or he simply got hold of the wrong end of the stick. Which makes me wonder how it was that I returned from the meeting last year and wrote about Alabi’s letter long before I realised Mick Barnbrook was going to make an issue of it.

Now he is going to make a complaint about the council officers who falsified and destroyed their notes. You can see why he has so many fat files and why they aren’t always suitable for an easy to read blog.


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