Donald Trump's Auditors And Hounslow Council's Accounts

Councillor Ranjit Gill blogs on crime, roadworks and celebrating Diwali

Turnham Green's Councillors - Ron Mushiso, Joanna Biddolph and Ranjit GillTurnham Green's Councillors - Ron Mushiso, Joanna Biddolph and Ranjit Gill


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The audit and governance committee, of which I am a member, met in September to discuss the council’s audited accounts. They were presented to the committee by the auditors Mazars, together with Mazars’ findings. Mazars highlighted some weak areas and these were mostly resolved by the council staff.

The report was approved after my continuous probing questions, though I remain unhappy that the full accounts of the subsidiaries, or management accounts of the Lampton Group of Companies, were unavailable or not made available to the team. I have requested copies and no doubt this will form part of the discussions at the next committee meeting. I am pleased to report that the lead member of committee is also an auditor so Mazars has a lot to cope with from having two auditors in the audit and governance team.

Incidentally, if you are not aware of it, Mazars is also the auditor for Donald Trump - the President of
The United States!

As I was writing this blog, news came in about the boundary commission. The final recommendations are due out on 29th October. The Draft Order will then be put before Parliament for 40 days. After this, the final order will be made and the new ward boundaries will come into effect at the next local
elections. We all want to know if our strong representation to retain nine councillors in Chiswick has been successful.


I have some good news on our third public meeting about the future of policing in Chiswick. It will now go ahead so residents will have a chance to put their pressing questions on crime and other issues to the representatives of the Tri-Borough Commander.

The safety and security of all our residents, young and old, is our greatest responsibility. We all need to know that we are safe. With the increase in knife crime, even in leafy suburbs, as described in the news recently, it is even more important that we know how the police are working to make our schools, public areas, homes and businesses safe. We need to convey to our young people that knife crime is not the way forward and consider their interests and how to keep them occupied. Parents email me worried about their kids and we need to reassure them we are doing all we can to look after everyone. Our shops have also recently been targets with break-ins by people stealing small high-value goods which are easy to sell. There is a lot to discuss.

Details about this much-anticipated third meeting will be announced soon. As before, please make sure you secure your place by booking on Eventbrite. Tickets, also as before, will be free; booking is to manage numbers.

I am always busy with case work and am happy to deal with as many cases as come my way as we were elected to represent the residents of this borough. I usually respond the same or next day. Besides the weekly surgeries in Chiswick Library, Cllr Joanna Biddolph and I do an additional surgery once a month in the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate, an often forgotten part of Turnham Green ward. Details of all our surgeries are listed below.

A docking scheme by-law will be in place by next summer, according to a council officer. This will put an end to the careless discarding of Mobikes, and Lime-E bikes from Ealing, on our pavements and verges. Residents are unhappy with the current situation and this has been communicated on several occasions to the council by my fellow councillors and me. Of course, whenever a council officer passes by there are no clusters of bikes anywhere in Chiswick but miraculously they appear on pavements when residents are around. Let’s hope the new scheme will end this abuse.

We have all had our fair share of road works recently. If you haven’t, then they will be with you soon or perhaps you are just the lucky ones. Road works or no road works, Barrowgate Road and Sutton Court Road are always log jammed at peak times and weekends.

Manor Gardens in W3 has had continued disruption caused by road works in that area. Re-surfacing is still pending. Night works are scheduled for 21st and 22nd October. According to letters to residents in the area, residents can contact Hounslow Highways on its website and by phone. After various options, the phone call goes to a recorded message suggesting visiting the website. This is not a good system for rate-paying residents.

According to a resident who emailed me, Hounslow Highways states that “the recommended noise levels for roadworks in residential areas is 55 decibels during the day and 35 decibels at night.” Does anyone record this? If so, what action is taken? No doubt, these noise levels have repeatedly been breached during the works carried out in recent months along the North Circular.

Residents have had to endure sleepless nights. A reply from the council is awaited and I hope it arrives before the next scheduled works.

Another persistent complaint from residents is that our roads have not been swept recently. Leaf fall happens year round but, now that autumn is here, leafage is all over the place in drifts. I have recently reported Dukes Avenue on behalf of a resident stating that the road has not been swept for some time.

There has been a constant problem with HMOs over several years in the Gunnersbury Park Garden Estate. Despite years of complaints, there are no records of noise or anti-social behaviour reports submitted to the council. Residents here are back to square one and I would urge all residents to report noise nuisances, and general public disorder, to the council so that there is a history and a paper trail. Details about how to report a noise nuisance, and a noise nuisance information pack, are on the council’s website.

I am continuing to press for intervention in the appalling case in Gunnersbury. I hope it will be resolved soon so that neighbours near the HMOs can have a good night’s sleep. We all need it for a healthy living.

My fellow councillors and I recently attended a General Election hustings at the Alice Way Gurdwara – a Sikh temple – to support our Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate, Seena Shah. It was a good start to the general election that everyone is expecting. As we were early for the debate, I invited my fellow councillors Patrick Barr and Joanna Biddolph to the langar hall. The langar concept is a symbol of equality and a charitable act which was introduced by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak, around 1500. The langar, a community kitchen, is run by volunteers and is a very old Indian tradition of feeding. Langar, a vegetarian meal, is served to all visitors irrespective of religion, gender, caste, economic status or ethnicity and it’s free of charge.

Most gurdwaras serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. Morning and afternoon tea is also served. In fact, we had afternoon tea with pakoras and chutney plus some jalebis, a syrup-soaked sweet.

So next time you are close to a gurdwara, please do pop in. In fact, you may have seen on BBC news that it was Langar Week last week and Sikhs served free food in many city centres in the UK.

This year, in November, we also celebrate 550 years of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, our founder and the first guru of ten. Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in Rai Bhoi Ki Talwandi, currently known as Nankana Sahib in Pakistan. Celebrations will take place all over the world and I have accepted an invitation from the Indian High Commission to celebrate this occasion.

Prior to the Guru Nanak festivities is Diwali, an Indian festival celebrated worldwide by all Indians – Hindus, Sikhs and Jains. Diwali, or Deepavali as it is known in the south of India, is a four to five-day festival of lights (Diya). All Indians decorate their homes, shop for fabulous colourful clothes, use fireworks, perform puja (prayers), offer gifts, feast, and eat sweets. It is also the start of the Hindu New Year and all Indians have an open house on this day.

Rangoli is a popular Diwali tradition where beautiful patterns are made using colourful powders and flowers on the floor at the entrance of homes to welcome the gods and to bring good luck to the family. This year Diwali is on Sunday, 27 October 2019 and I am lucky that, after nearly 40 years here in the UK, I have the opportunity to celebrate Diwali with my sister’s and brothers’ families in Malaysia where I was born. I will be there as my niece, a doctor, is getting married on 1st November to another doctor.

Wishing everyone a Happy Diwali and enjoy the Gurba (a Guajarati dance during Navratri) if you get to attend one.

(I’ll still be available to take up your concerns while I am away … my council computer is well-travelled!)

October 19, 2019

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