Havering’s Overview and Scrutiny Chairs: Damian White’s Cronies Cash In

Only cronies of Damian White and Conservative councillors are chosen as Chair of an Overview and Scrutiny (O&S) committee. There are five O&S Chairs and they’re in cahoots with Damian, preventing the government’s blueprint being implemented. That blueprint envisages O&S committees as a robust critical friend of the Administration.* This role enhances the quality of decision-making. Damian’s view is that O&S committee Chairs need rewarding for loyalty. The committee Chair’s allowance is £14,418 p.a. This is in addition to their councillor’s allowance of £10,208.**

Judith Holt is Chair of Children and Learning. The four meetings she chaired, 27th November 2018 to 9th July 2019 inclusive, lasted 7 hours 35 minutes in total. Judith earned £1902 an hour just for being Chair. (Likewise all other hourly rates below.)

Bob Perry is Chair of Crime and Disorder. Appointed in 2019, he chaired three meetings, 17th July to 30th October 2019 inclusive, which lasted 4 hours 45 minutes. Bob’s served 75% of the year, which is reflected in his handsome £2276 per hour.

Maggie Themistocli is Chair of Environment, appointed in 2019 like Bob. Unlike Bob she’s missed a meeting (3rd December). Her meetings were 31st July and 16th September. Committee time, when present, was 4 hours earning a stunning £2703 per hour.

Christine Smith is Chair of Individuals, appointed in 2019. She’s chaired three meetings, 16th July to 5th December inclusive. Her committee time was 5 hours 5 minutes, earning £2128 per hour.

Ray Best is Chair of Town and Communities, appointed in 2019. He’s chaired three meetings, 11th July and 4th December inclusive. His committee time was 4 hours 30 minutes. Ray’s £2403 per hour is a useful supplement to his pension.

Damian rotates his goody bag keeping everyone loyal and happy. That Johnson’s government regulations are undermined is a casualty to Damian’s greater purpose: retaining power.

* https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/800048/Statutory_Guidance_on_Overview_and_Scrutiny_in_Local_and_Combined_Authorities.pdf

** https://www.havering.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/3185/allowances_paid_to_councillors_and_co-opted_members_2018-19.pdf

3 thoughts on “Havering’s Overview and Scrutiny Chairs: Damian White’s Cronies Cash In

  1. This is so true if there was to be real scrutiny the committees would be chaired by opposition members or members with skills in specific areas who would really act as critical friends and hold the administration to account. Making for better decisions but the leader is in such a precarious position he has to buy his support.


    1. The government does focus on ‘skill sets’ and they also suggest that opposition members should be chair but shouldn’t use the committee as a vehicle for opposition.

      Thank you for your comment.


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