What do we mean by " reputational damage ,"and how and when do organisations deal with it? One historic episode of such damage, that springs to mind, was Gerald Ratner saying jokingly that the jewellery his shops sold was " crap?"It took an awful long time for Ratners to recover from that comment!
Brent Council has had one " reputational damage " issue in recent years.....namely the Employment Tribunal case involving its former employee Rosemarie Clarke.
In this case the Tribunal found Brent guilty of race discrimination, bullying and victimisation of Ms Clarke. Bearing in mind that Brent Council prides itself on having a very diverse workforce- reflecting our diverse population- a verdict of race discrimination was shattering to Brent ' s perceived reputation as a fair and even - handed employer. There is no doubt that it will take the Council a long time to undo the " reputational damage " done by this case.
I would suggest to readers that there are two current issues that have the strong possibilities of "reputational damage " to Brent Council.
The first issue concerns the sale of the Bridge Park site in Stonebridge. We are now in an era when tax havens and tax avoidance schemes are unpopular with most people in this country. So how do our residents feel about Brent doing business with companies who are mainly based in tax havens such as Luxembourg and the British Virgin Isles?
But that is the prospect - as this labour Council seeks to do a deal with such companies.
The additional point of interest concerns the Chairman of the holding company - Nadhmi Auchi. His past is interesting, and I would urge readers to do their own research on him ,and then decide if Brent should be doing business with this gentleman?
The potential is certainly there for this Bridge Park saga to do " reputational damage " to Brent Council.
The second issue that could cause "reputational damage " is the recent review by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) on the Brent planning service.
The review was incredibly damning - only giving Brent "limited assurance " as to its planning service.Let me quote from one part of the review....
"The audit trail is susceptible to manipulation.This could result in planning applications being approved inappropriately due to fraud or error."
The review suggests that Brent has not complied with the Bribery Act 2010, and it makes mention of the reputational damage that could occur in the event of a prosecution of Brent Council under this Act.
Our residents expect the planning service to be fair ,and based on total integrity. There is no doubt in my mind as to the potential for "reputational damage" to this important service to Brent residents- stemming from this independent review.
But only time will tell whether these two issues cause the same reputational damage to Brent Council that has already been done by the Rosemarie Clarke case.
Cllr John Warren
Brondesbury Park Ward