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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Here is the GLSG new constitution which will be decided on tonight

Someone sent me this. There's a GLSG meeting tonight where they decide about it.

Terms of Reference for the Green Lanes Strategy Group

Aim:

The Association’s aim is to work to make the Green Lanes area thrive economically, flourish socially, and be regenerated for current and future residents and businesses. The Association aims to foster an area where people are proud to live and work without fear of crime. In this it will be guided by principles of the Green Lanes Charter or superseding local plan.

Defined Area:

The Green Lanes Area shall be defined as that area bounded to the south by Endymion Road and Arena Trading Estate, to the west by Wightman Road, to the north by Turnpike Lane and West Green Road, and to the east by Black Boy Lane and Warwick Gardens.

Membership:

Founder Members:

The 4 key constituted umbrella organisations within the above defined area, ie. Woodlands Park Resident Association (WRPA), Ladder Community Safety Partnership (LCSP), Gardens Residents Association (GRA) and Green Lanes Traders Association (GLTA) (each with up to 2 representatives appointed by meetings of those organisations); and the elected ward Councillors of Harringay and St. Ann’s.

Group Members:

One representative appointed by established/constituted local groups as agreed by the members.

Groups may be invited to join or may apply to join the GLSG.

In addition:

Key local individuals co-opted or invited by the GLSG to contribute in their areas of interest or expertise.

Metropolitan Police and Council officers will also attend as appropriate.

Officers:

1. Chair, Vice Chair/Treasurer, Secretary and such other officers as the GLSG shall decide, elected from and by the members. Officers will be appointed for no longer than two years.

2. The Chair and Vice Chair will:
a. Ensure the efficient conduct of meetings;
b Ensure all members are treated equitably and have a proper opportunity to express their views when debating decisions of the Group;
c. Ensure the GLSG receives appropriate professional advice from LBH officers or external advisers or others when necessary;
d Represent the GLSG where necessary.

Chair’s Action:

  1. The Chair may be approached to take decisions on urgent matters that must be advanced too quickly for their inclusion in meetings. In such circumstances, the Chair is delegated to take such decisions, after involving as many other Members as possible. The Chair shall report any Chair’s Actions to the next meeting.
  2. It is intended that Chair’s Actions will be kept to the absolute minimum possible.
  3. In the absence or unavailability of the Chair, a Vice-Chair will act for him or her

Sub-Groups

The GLSG may establish such working groups, panels, forums or advisory groups as it considers necessary. All bodies established shall have clear terms of reference. The GLSG may terminate any Sub-Group at any time.

Sub-Groups may co-opt individuals who have particular expertise or experience to contribute.

Remit of Green Lanes Strategy Group:

The following list is to act as a guide to the remit of the GLSG. It is not intended to be exhaustive.

  1. Terms of Reference, Constitution and Membership.
  2. Operation of the GLSG.
  3. Initiatives and Funding bids.
  4. Income and budget.
  5. Cross-borough/Town Centre Plans and workings.
  6. Bridge and Gateways.
  7. Street Scene and Enforcement.
  8. HMOs.
  9. Crime and Police (including Safer Neighbourhoods Teams).
  10. Parking and Highways.
  11. Planning and Licencing
  12. Green Spaces
  13. Green Lanes Festival
  14. Xmas Tree/Lantern Parade
  15. Bug Hotel
  16. Other projects as agreed by GLSG members.

Meetings:

  1. The GLSG shall meet on a regular cycle.
  2. Meetings will normally last no longer than two hours.
  3. Meetings shall be advertised to all members, and approved minutes will be made publicly available.
  4. Notices of meetings will be circulated to GLSG members at least 7 days in advance of the meeting.
  5. Special meetings may be called for urgent business by the Chair or Vice Chair, provided at least three clear days notice is given to members of the GLSG.
  6. Items for inclusion on the agenda shall be submitted to the Secretary at least seven days prior to the meeting. Inclusion of any item shall be at the discretion of the Chair.
  7. The Chair may direct, after consultation with other officers, that certain agenda items are confidential. These items will appear on the main agenda, but will be discussed by Founder Members only following the remainder of the agenda items.
  8. All meetings of the GLSG shall be minuted.
  9. Detailed minutes of agenda items deemed to be confidential will be redacted from minutes circulated to those who did not participate in the discussion of those items.
  10. Minutes of meetings shall be circulated with the agenda for the next meeting.
  11. Meetings shall be chaired by the Chair or in his/her absence the Vice Chair.
  12. The quorum for meetings shall be one third of the total number of Members. Three of those attending must be local residents.
  13. The Chair will move that the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.
  14. The GLSG may accept deputations of people with a local connection who wish to raise an issue in person with the GLSG. Those wishing to form a deputation shall contact one of the members or Key Partners in the first instance, who will contact the Chair to seek agreement. Deputations shall only be allowed at the discretion of the Chair.

Decisions:

  1. Consensus
    Unless these Terms of Reference provide otherwise, any matter will be decided by consensus between the members.
  2. Chair's decision
    If no consensus can be reached, the Chair may request a vote on the matter under consideration. Unless otherwise provided for in these Terms of Reference, the matter shall then be decided by a simple majority of the members present and voting by show of hands. The Chair shall have a casting vote.

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Yes, I don't know why they're so funny about the membership. I can understand the concern about it being hard to get consensus if the group gets too big but i don't imagine there would be a very long queue wanting to participate if they were a little more open, and being weird about it just makes others suspicious of the group.

From this draft we appear to have lost our representation for Friends of Fairland Park and Friends of Ducketts Common which up till now has had full membership represented by Adam. I suppose he might get invited to continue but that would be as one of the 2nd class group members. I wonder if thats some dig at FoHP?

This does mention the minutes being public, but thats the "approved minutes" which means waiting till after the next meeting which is usually at least a month away. And it doesn't mention anything about the agenda being public.

Their remit claims include the lantern procession !??!

Interesting. My first and overwhelming reaction is one of surprise. On the face of it this looks like the constitution of a group claiming a 'remit, of which democratically elected Neighbourhood forums would be envious.

So, in the interest of seeking an even better organisation, the big questions for me are:

a. What is the legal status of this body in the formal democratic process?

b. What informal authority will it be granted by the Council?

c. How will it interface with the Area Assembly and Area Forum?

d. What consideration has been given to how work is divided between the area forum/assembly and the GLSG?

e. If the past is anything to go by, this group will have significant influence on the local neighbourhood. What right will I have as a local citizen who is not a member of any of the member groups to vote on the new constitution and to influence the decisions of the group in the future?

Secondly, the area that the group seeks to represent seems to have grown quite significantly. My understanding is that when the group was set up, it was firmly targeted at Harringay's high street,  Green Lanes. The area now defined is remarkably similar to my map of Harringay. In other words it is now stating its intention to become a Harringay-wide group. This means it would act on behalf of around 20,000 people.

Thirdly, in addition the larger questions about its formal democratic status, the representative make-up of the group is odd. It would have 14 members. Eight (or 57%) would be resident group representatives elected by a tiny number of resident group members. If we look at the number of residents represented by each representative that would be very uneven too. The Ladder, equivalent to a whole ward, would be represented by just two members (representing a group with no more then ten regular attendees). The half of St Ann's ward included in the area would have four representatives.

Six members would be ward councillors. Three of those councillors, the St Ann's ones may have a real conflict of interest where the interests of the residents in the east of the ward conflict with those in the west (as often seems to be the case at area assemblies). No representation at all is given to the Hermitage and Warehouse district, despite their inclusion in the area. However, if they were to be included, there would be potential for an even greater conflict of interest for them than is the case for the St Ann's councillors.

Finally, whenever challenged, the group has always firmly protested that it is not seeking to change the name of our neighbourhood. I've never really bought it. This document makes it clear. They have described an area that is quite clearly Harringay and yet refer to it only as Green Lanes.

Let me repeat before the accusations start flying, I welcome the work the group has done thus far. However, there is a democratic deficit here. We have local elections coming up next month. I am seriously considering whether I should think about withholding my vote from any candidate who votes this constitution through tonight and asking that as part of their personal manifesto they will commit to a democratically constituted body to evolve out of the current GLSG. Or am I being naive?

Actually those elections are a good point. The timing of this is bizarre. Firstly from an ethical standpoint, a group whose only democratically elected members are very shortly up for election and half of whom will definitely not be returning should not be rewriting a constitution at this point in time.

Secondly, as I understand it, isn't the timing of this within the so-called purdah period? For those who don't know what purdah is, it's a period where councillors are limited in what they should do in the six weeks prior to an election. I know that locally in 2010, there was an extreme sensitivity by local councillors, most particularly in the GLSG, not to take any major decisions during the purdah period.

Since the GLSG is currently a committee of the Council, my understanding is that both by common ethical standards as well as by accepted local political practice, the group should not be voting on a new constitution at this time.

Well are we going to go in and stop them? Perhaps our MP will come along and help us...

I completely agree with everything you have said in this and earlier posts. Does this constitution have to be ratified in some way by the Council since it is a Council led Association advised by officers of the Council?

Committee Room 1, Phil.

Of course, it could be that they're just discussing it tonight and not actually making a decision, which would be very different.

Oh yes that's completely my philosophy too Hugh, just leave it up to chance if it seems like too much work.

Yes, and being charitable, perhaps that is the case seeing as Ian added the GLSG discussion to the LCSP agenda for this Thursday when i asked if the LCSP members could be involved before the LCSP reps voted on the new constitution.

(Sorry I'm a bit busy at work today so not keeping up with this thread so well)

FWIW I've emailed my GLSG reps (Karen, David, Zena, Gina, Ian, and Adam) requesting that they don't decide on this tonight but first solicit feedback from the people they represent.

I expect to see all minutes available to residents and businesses in Harringay so that there is transparency.

The trouble is that the whole secrecy thing is designed to specifically exclude some unsavoury local elements. Organised crime "was" rife on Green Lanes...

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