During recent months the Grenfell Action Group have published two blogs highlighting our concern about a senior Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council Officer, namely Tony Redpath, RBKC Director of Strategy and Local Services, who occupies an influential postion on the Kensington and Chelsea College Board of Governors.
We were so concerned about a possible conflict of interest arising from this arrangement that we wrote to the RBKC Town Clerk, Nicholas Holgate, and asked for assurances that Mr Redpath was acting in an appropriate manner. We received a response from Mr Holgate that sought to placate our concerns and explain the circumstances surrounding Mr Redpath’s invitation to join the Board of Govenors at KCC.
In an email dated 16th January 2017 Mr Holgate informed us that Kensington and Chelsea College had invited Mr Redpath to join their Board because “they valued his knowledge and experience“. However, subsequent Freedom Of Information requests revealed that Mr Holgate was not entirely honest with us and that Kensington and Chelsea College didn’t know Mr Repath from a hole in the ground before he was recommended by Mr Holgate to occupy a position on the KCC Board of Governors.
The Grenfell Action Group believe that the exchange of emails published below shows clearly that Kensington and Chelsea College had never met with or had any relationship with Tony Redpath and were not in a position to judge the value or quality of either his knowledge or his expertise as claimed to us previously by Mr Holgate.
We believe that the email below from the then Principal of Kensington and Chelsea College, Mark Brickley, written to the RBKC Town Clerk on 27th January 2017 was not based on any personal knowledge of the skills or qualities of individual Council staff members but was simply a direct, unsolicited request to RBKC aimed at strengthening the relationship between the College and the Council. The reason why Mr Brickley should be so keen to establish stronger links beteeen Kensington and Chelsea College and the RBKC are not made clear in this correspondence but what is perfectly clear is that it was the Council who selected Mr Redpath to do their bidding and it was the Council who put his name forward for selection as a future member of the KCC Board of Governors:
The fact that the Council were happy to nominate a subordinate of Mr Redpath’s for the role indicates that the suppossed individual qualities of “knowledge and expertise” were not unique to Mr Redpath and strongly suggests that Mr Holgate’s Freedom of Information reply to the Grenfell Action Group was deliberately misleading.
The Grenfell Action Group will be lodging an offical complaint against the Town Clerk as it is our belief that he intended to mislead the public by implying that Mr Redpath would be a free agent on the KCC Board, that he would not be representing the Council’s interests, that he had been ‘headhunted’ by KCC because of his special talents and expertise, and that Mr Holgate had no involvement in the procurement of Redpath’s services by KCC. Perversely Mr Holgate made no mention of the fact that the request for a Council representive had actually come to him from the Principal of the College and was made with the aim of forming a strategic partnership between KCC and the Local Authority.
We believe that the Grenfell Action Group’s future investigations will reveal whose interests were best served (ie those of KCC or those of RBKC) by Mark Brickley’s cosying up to the Local Authority and we believe that these revelations will not reflect well on either organisation. We also aim to publish evidence that Mr Redpath had a direct and obvious conflict of interest arising from his continued service as a senior officer at RBKC while simultaneously serving on the KCC Board of Governors.