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Thursday, 22 June 2017

Kensington duffer sacked

The forced resignation of Kensington and Chelsea Chief Executive Nicholas Holgate was on the grounds of the Council's appalling response to the aftermath of the Grenfell fire. More on this shortly. The yappy dags of the mainstream media though can't resist adding their own made-up reasons; "and for ignoring the repeated warnings of the fire risk" snaps the Mail, "and for neglect of the poor and of social housing" whines the Guardian. 

Across the country things are structured for the blue-light services to form the 'hard' response to civil emergency but for local authorities to co-ordinate the 'soft' side; power, water, sewerage, food, housing, transport, clothing, bedding, pets, banks, schools. Each council is given a substantial annual grant to maintain an Emergency Planning function including regular training; 'gold' 'silver' and 'bronze' commands in association with neighbouring councils are put in place. So when something like Grenfell happens, the machine swings smoothly into place. 

Except of course it didn't. K&C's response was non-existent. Holgate was an utter failure, a decorative popinjay, who left it up to churches, mosques and sharp-elbowed residents to organise food and clothing banks, blankets and so on. And despite K&C being replete with flats, Holgate's morons were sending DPs to council housing hundreds of miles away. In the event a group of six neighbouring councils had to step in to do what K&C was not - in the process excluding Holgate from the management of a crisis in his own borough. Even the departments of State each set up a stand on the estate and dispatched staff to serve the DPs - but not K&C council. 

It was quite right that this duffer was booted out. It also reminded me of the incompetence of the mayor of New Orleans in the days following the disastrous floods there. Such people must go. They earn their inflated salaries on the basis of a modicum of competence. When found wanting, they must be cast into the darkness.  

I've just found Simon Jenkins in the ES whose own piece mirrors my view:-

It was total humiliation. Yesterday, as the dust began to settle around the Grenfell Tower site, six London borough bosses met to co-ordinate rescue efforts and struggle to repair the reputation of local government. They did not include the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, on whose patch the tragedy occurred. In the chair was the chief executive of the City Corporation, John Barradell, with “leadership roles” for Westminster, Southwark, Ealing, Hounslow, Bromley and Harrow. I am told they did not even meet in the royal borough.


Poisonedchalice said...

Please don't read the Tax Payers Alliance annual "Town Hall Rich List". Please don't as it will only really piss you off. Oh, go on then...

DeeDee99 said...

But he didn't EARN his inflated salary did he .....perhaps the useless parasite could be encouraged to repay it. I jest, of course!

anon 2 said...

Well. I don't know. I expect you're all right that this geezer could have done a better job. Funny, though, that no one noticed or cared to deal with it until the horrible hullaballoo of this happenstance.

I can't help wondering if we aren't all rushing to judgement in ways hitherto unprecendented in England. Are we all affected by some "Guilty Until Proved Innocent" syndrome?

Dave_G said...

How many positions of importance are manned by those who've 'manipulated' their way there?

To imagine that ANY public position of importance is being held by persons properly competent to hold such is simply wishful thinking.

Whilst I doubt Holgate is of the creed (maybe there's an equivalent for the toffs?) - 'Common Purpose' anyone?

Raedwald said...

Anon 2 - there was a civil emergency. His job was to respond to it. He failed to do so.

Personally, I think the CEs of the other 6 boroughs who had to do his job shared their feelings with the SoS at DCLG. But that's speculation.


Anonymous said...

And then again, parts of that particular area of London [west Kensington] are 'no go' areas, for police, reporters, council bods too no doubt, 'Little Mogadishu' is the local moniker, and merely in the name, 'mogadishu' an town not noted for rule of law and efficient local services, it tells a tale does it not?

In the immediate aftermath of the fire, as the left wing and RoP victimhoodRus agitators got to work and ably helped by a media feeding frenzy, culpability was daubed on any and all governance, accusations were flying and a bulls eye painted on anyone's back of every 'official' looking apparat and into which, where only a fool would tread.

Thus, most definitely wandering onto the scene, if he/she was sporting a hi viz marked with a K&C logo would in all likelihood have been given a mighty gob full and pushed about, I speculate that, any senior Nomenklatura maybe, perhaps worse physical intimidation.

Undoubtedly, Holgate was needed [it was ordained] to fall on his sword but that was predictable was it not?

To me, imho Holgate's disappearance is a sacrifice the 'governing lordships' were only too happy to oblige.

Alas, what remains to be witnessed, if any good, even a hint of the truth will out during what will be an extensive though never exhaustive inquiry, for it already has been written.

Moreover, no doubt there will be more sackings, premature retirements and little guys, labourers will be 'killed off' metaphorically speaking.

In the end and a big massive BUT! But the very dogmatic premise behind the idea of 'green cladding' ie COST CUTTING using the excuse of the green agenda .

Blah, blah and energy saving/sustainability, aesthetics so that an ugly and crappy edifice, a building in 1974 was not fit for purpose could carry on being an unofficial refugee centre and which did house countless illegals over the years and RIGHT under the noses of the council, all thanks to Political correctness turned a blind eye to a story of misery, squalor and then. Next, they just tarted it all up, shit job, shit outcome - none of that will be told.

Finally, just where is the asylum seeker from the Ethiop who was rumoured to have been in the flat where the fridge fire kicked it all off, he got out? More and if he did, did he go off to seek sanctuary in a more ordered asylum back in the land of Abyssinia and source of the Nile?

In so many facets it is a tale of and not uncommon to a third world disaster area: which London has become and not just in London either.

miker22 said...

Interesting film at Biased BBC called The Great British Housing Disaster, made in 1984, which shows that there has been a major problem with these tower blocks ever since they were built. But they house so many, what are councils supposed to do about them?

Cascadian said...

Has he been fired?

“Despite my wish to have continued, in very challenging circumstances, to lead on the executive responsibilities of the Council, I have decided that it is better to step down from my role, once an appropriate successor has been appointed.”

Parse this statement and decide for yourself, has an appropriate successor been appointed?

Given the absolute shambles that is yUK public services it might take a year to appoint the correct black, lesbian, social "scientist" as a successor what with all the community involvement required.

Despite all the gold leaders and silver commands, resilience committees and whatnot the layers of bureaucracy failed utterly. Revealing as usual that these utterly ridiculous fake jobs need to be culled.

Anonymous said...

Mr Holgate was a career civil servant in central government before moving to K&C. And while we are about talking about disaster response, isn't the MAYOR SUPPOSED TO HAVE A DISASTER REPONSE TEAM AND PLAN FOR CIVIL EMRGENCIES? I didn't see any evidence of it. And how did Grenfell Tower pass all the fire safety inspections by the London fire service that we are told it underwent during construction?.

Anonymous said...

When Camden Council needed money in 2005 to upgrade the downtrodden Chalcot estate (built by Labour under Labour in 1965 and 1966) it turned to the Labour Govt where eputy PM John Prescott's office had grants for this purpose. However the grants were conditional on Camden giving up direct control over its social housing stock to either 1. a third party agency set up to manage the housing stock at arms length from the council, or 2. a housing association or 3. PFI. After a hard fight it settled on the Gordon Brown brainchild of PFI. So Simon Jenkins may be wrong in saying that RBKC chose to outsource management of its housing stock, it may have been forced to by Labour policy.

The refurb of Chalcot took place in 2006. At that time the London Fire Service was under the control of the GLA and its Mayor Ken Livingstone so no cuts there on fire inspections. And Met Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said last week there was no shortage of resources to fight the Grenfell Tower Fire.

Now Labour Camden finds that Chalcot Estate is a fire risk due to cladding and gas installation. (Wonder who did its Fire Risk assessment previously.) Despite McDonnell banging on about Tory murder, this is a multi party issue.