CamdenNewJournal

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There has been a brazen breach of the councillors’ code of conduct

08 April, 2021

• I WAS reassured to read, in his letter that Cllr Meric Apak acknowledges the Gospel Oak District Management Committee as the legitimate representative of local council tenants, having been “elected by their peers”, (It’s not the council’s role to sanction the DMC, April 1).

On the matter of Camden Council effectively shutting down the committee, however, I was deeply disturbed when Cllr Apak wrote “the director of housing management made this decision…”

It is an inviolable principle of both national and local government, that the buck stops with our elected politicians. It is considered simply unacceptable for politicians to hide behind employed officials who have no public right of reply.

Indeed, so fundamental is this understanding that it is written into the Camden councillors’ code of conduct. That is: “You must not do anything which compromises or is likely to compromise the impartiality of those who work for, or on behalf of, the council”.

I did not ever think I would see the day when a Camden councillor would so brazenly breach the code of conduct, by cowardly shifting blame for a controversial decision onto council employees who are unable to publicly defend themselves.

Even if what Cllr Apak wrote were true, again I would be profoundly disturbed by this unconstitutional decision, for not only are DMCs made up of tenant and resident association representatives, but its membership also includes councillors.

Council officials must always act within the law and published council policy. There is nothing within council policy that gives council officers the authority to unilaterally withdraw support and engagement from elected councillors.

For the breach of the councillors’ code of conduct, or for the unlawful decision of council officers, censure must follow.

KEITH SEDGWICK, NW6

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