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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Cllr scrutiny pulls no punches in exonerating big concerts in Finsbury Park

The council's scrutiny committee has published the findings of the review of this summer's concerts in Finsbury Park.

More info at Item 14 on the agenda for the committee's meeting on Monday 19th October, 7pm at Civic Centre.


Amidst a series of recommendations calling for better information about the events to be promoted and for changes to organisational procedures, the report avoids serious consideration of the disruption to the public caused by the concerts and their lasting damage to the park.

Please come along to the 'public' meeting on Monday 19th. The Friends of Finsbury Park will be present, and residents from Hackney and Islington are allowed to question the committee members.

Committee members are

Cllr Wright (Chair) - charles.wright@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Jogee - adam.jogee@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Ayisi - eugene.ayisi@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Hearn - kirsten.hearn@haringey.gov.uk
Cllr Connor - pippa.connor@haringey.gov.uk

Tags for Forum Posts: finsbury park, finsbury park events, haringey scrutiny, wireless festival

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To avoid any confusion you should note that the information provided above is not 100% accurate. Residents are able to speak but there are "rules" that need to be followed (before the meeting) as outlined on the Haringey Council agenda. I suggest anyone wanting to speak is aware of these to avoid disappointment at the meeting itself. Hope this helps as I have been to various Committee meetings - especially Planning - in my time living in the borough.

The key recomendation is #1 in the list of Recommendations:

The Cabinet Member for Environment is recommended to work with the Council’s Communications Team to develop a communication plan providing stakeholders, in Haringey, Hackney and Islington, with greater transparency about how income from events held in Finsbury Park is used. This should include circulating information at the end of September, the end of the event season*, to:

(a) Confirm how much money is generated from events held in Finsbury Park;

(b) Make clear that all income from events is ring fenced back to the parks budget;

(c) Identify how local residents, businesses and ward councillors can contribute to decisions on how income from events is spent, including work in other local parks;

(d) Provide information on how money from previous years has been spent, including updates on projects and improvements.

(*In view of the timing of this scrutiny report, for 2015, it is recommended that this information is shared with local stakeholders as quickly as possible.) 

In other words,

Disquiet in the corners of three Boroughs, about the continuance of large-scale events in Finsbury Park is to treated as an exercise in public relations (my emphasis above). The matter will largely be turned over to the over-funded PR department.

There may be a little more disclosure on income generated from the park, but that is something that should have occurred in any event. Apart from that 'concession', in my opinion the report is a whitewash.

Haringey Councillor
Liberal Democrat Party

CDC - you are aware that this project was cross-party with a number of recommendations (not just the one you highlight above) put forward by a project group containing Labour AND Liberal Democrat Councillors? 

Matty: there is a single Minority Group Councillor on a committee numbering five (not plural). Yes, there is a plurality of recommendations, but the PR one comes first. As is often the case.

Good to know that both parties are working together though and good to know the Lib Dem(s) have played their part in this. 

I'm really not sure what your point is Clive. Reading the report it seems that a lot of the comments are about poor communications; before, during and after events. Isn't it a good idea that they get comms people to come up with ways to make sure this doesn't happen again? I'm not sure who else would do it.

There has been poor communication, but you're assuming – as of course does the official report – that these events of this size must continue. Not everyone accepts that (I believe they are too big and unmanageable).

It's often expedient to excuse poor policies with claims that a policy is being poorly communicated. It's sometimes heard at Party conferences: "we're not getting our message across".

Not all policies are good policies. What is proposed is perfume. (please see diction of a perfumed fart).

But there is a lot in the feedback sections of the report about communication and it's covered not just in recommendation 1 but in at least one of the others. I didn't read anything about the aim of the improved communication being to make people understand the policy better. It was in response to people saying that they didn't know events were happening, understand the impact on park access, local disruption, where the income from events was being spent and so on.
I too don't think the policy for events in parks is right but I wasn't expecting this scrutiny to address that. The terms of reference make it clear what they were charged to do and it wasn't to review the events policy.

By the way, there is a much more important item at this meeting. The budget report indicates that this year Haringey is heading for an overspend of over £14m. As they can't have that they will have to find this £14m from savings. I think I would like to see a lot more focus on that issue and the impact it may have on the services we receive than on concerts in Finsbury Park.
Hi Martin

Overview and Scrutiny commitee meetings are not public meetings they are meetings open to the public like all council meetings. I think this needs to be made clear. As Matty says this means that there is a process by which deputations and questions are put forward. As you will see on the agenda there are a number of reports on the agenda and Finsbury Park concerts is one of them. It would be misleading to suggest that this meeting is a public meeting on Finsbury Park concerts. It is a scheduled OSC meeting of which one agenda item is Finsbury Park Concerts.

Cllr Emine Ibrahim
Labour Cllr - Harringay Ward

That is of course accurate, Emine. And you're also right that the distinction between a 'public meeting' and a 'meeting in public' is often not appreciated by people who turn up.

On the other hand, at least when I was a councillor, some Scrutiny committees were far more flexible. My understanding was that the person chairing those meetings has a discretion to let people speak - even if they haven't followed every rule of the process.

When a councillor, I took part in several Scrutiny subcommittees and in some years chaired two of them. Not all were public. Committee members regularly left the Civic Centre to see places or meet people outside.

However, scheduled meetings where members of the public came would inevitably attract people involved in the issues. Some had valuable knowledge and experience to contribute - as well as strong opinions.

Insofar as time allowed - always the main constraint - I tried to give as much leeway as possible and let people speak.  If people take the trouble to come, have perhaps prepared something, and have a burning wish to speak, I think it's courteous, sensible and democratic to hear them. Why piss them off by refusing to listen?  Though, of course, courtesy should go both ways.

I attended some meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) chaired by Cllr Gideon Bull, when he followed the same practice. On one occasion - using chair's discretion - he invited Professor Jane Tunstill, who was watching a meeting from the public gallery in the Council Chamber, to come down and speak. Thankfully her intervention skewered one of Haringey's more comprehensively stupid plans. The outcome was that the final plan was changed drastically for the better.

I'm glad we agree the original post by Martin is somewhat misleading. 

P.S. Matty, I'm sure you know, but others may not, that Planning Committee meetings are quasi-judicial and therefore far more restricted in what's allowed and who can speak.



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