NEW TWIST IN PREVENTING EXTREMISM ROW
The row over Birmingham’s government funded anti-extremism campaign takes another twist today, with claims by Sparkbrook councillor Salma Yaqoob that senior colleagues have been kept in the dark about developments. Yaqoob also says she’s been denied the chance to attend two high-level meetings.
We broke the story about the controversial PVE agenda on Thursday with claims that Muslim councillors have been “frozen out” of the discussion (see link here).
"I have been concerned about the lack of engagement with ALL councillors, as evidenced by the written question I submitted to the Council meeting on 10th June 2008 .
"It is clear that even Cllr Rudge's senior coalition partners in the Lib Dems are unaware of any details relating to this sensitive area. For example Deputy leader of Lib Dems Tariq Khan confirmed that he had not received any briefings.
"No councillors seemed to know about the Preventing Extremism Conference on 21st October being promoted by the private consultancy firm Waterhouse on their website claiming to be endorsed by Birmingham City Council.
"The abusive adjectives used to describe me ('ludicrous' and 'ego driven') have been deployed as a smokescreen to distract from the real issues which still need to be addressed. Cllr Rudge could begin by answering these initial questions:
" What examples are there of keeping elected members in Birmingham informed of the PVE agenda, and how regular have any of these been?
"How often has the PVE Project Board met and how are minutes accessed?
"How do people learn how and where to access the funding? What is the process of acceptance and rejection?
"Have all projects over £10,000 been tendered externally as per protocol requirement?
"How much has Waterhouse Consultancy been paid by Birmingham City Council for work on the PVE agenda and how much are they due to be paid?
"What other private consultancy firms have been used?
"Where is the report Waterhouse Consultancy were commissioned to do? Was there a tendering process for this?
"What was the deadline for this report? What auditing expertise does Waterhouse Consultancy have to have carried out an evaluation?
"It may well be that there are perfectly reasonable answers to these and other questions.
"The point is that in view of the seriousness of the preventing extremism agenda and the amount of money being spent on it we should at least be able to ask them in the hope of clear answers rather than the bluff and bluster we have received to date."
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