Has LBWF got a child safeguarding problem? Judge in recent case condemns council’s ‘overwhelming failure’, while three other cases give cause for concern

In recent weeks, Waltham Forest and London news outlets have reported the trial of a local mother and father, who stood accused of keeping their two children isolated at home for more than 14 years, thereby depriving them of schooling, access to medical care, recreation, and any kind of social life.  The outcome was that the father admitted child cruelty and neglect, and was given a community order, while charges against the mother were dropped for reasons that have not been made public. The evidence presented in court showed that several statutory agencies had performed less than satisfactorily, but the judge was particularly scathing of one, LBWF, the safeguarding authority.  Soc... »

LBWF’s claim that it followed ‘technical advice’ over fire safety at Northwood Tower and four sheltered housing blocks is revealed as questionable, even a falsehood

Many will no doubt assume that, with litigation involving a supplier and an internal fraud inquiry both ongoing, plus some damaging headlines in the press, LBWF currently would be treating fire safety in its social housing estate transparently and with the utmost care. But, regrettably, this seems not to be the case, as the following paragraphs illustrate. On 3 December 2020, I made a statement to full Council about the fire worthiness of 217 flat entrance doors (FEDs) at Northwood Tower, Goddarts House, and three other sheltered housing blocks. When installed in 2017-18, LBWF had insisted that the FEDs gave sixty minutes of protection. By contrast, when specialists rigorously tested sample ... »

LBWF moves closer to completing its long overdue 2018-19 accounts, but in the process, receives a strong warning about the governance of its commercial ventures, both old and new UPDATED

As previous posts have reported (see links below), like all other local authorities, LBWF was due to complete its 2018-19 accounts by the last day of July 2019, but missed both this deadline and several others that followed over the next year and a half. The successive delays were caused by a combination of adverse external factors, most obviously the pandemic, plus a series of problems with LBWF’s past working practices and records that emerged as the audit work progressed, many ‘complex’, and ‘some going back a number of years’.  The good news is that an end to this saga may be in sight. At a meeting in late December 2020, the Audit and Governance Committee was presented wit... »

LBWF’s plan for a mural in Cann Hall ward threatens to descend into farce – for the second time running UPDATED

In late 2017, Cann Hall Labour councillor Sally Littlejohn led a LBWF initiative to install a £40,000 ‘artwork’ on the dilapidated side-wall of a shop in the centre of the ward – a shop that coincidentally happened to be owned by a prominent family of Labour supporters, the most eminent of whom is Dawn Butler MP, best known in the area for her belief that the public should fund her second home’s jacuzzi. Cllr. Littlejohn no doubt hoped to reap the grateful thanks of locals, but it didn’t turn out that way at all. Many resented the lack of consultation, disliked the fact that the artists foisted on them had no connection to Cann Hall, and were critical of the latter’s hackneyed design. A peti... »

Fire safety scandal (3) is LBWF making it up as it goes along?

I have just sent the e-mail pasted below to LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom. It examines LBWF’s 2017-18 installation of 217 flat entrance doors (FEDs) at Northwood Tower and four sheltered housing blocks, and strongly queries whether this alleged improvement programme was based – as it should have been – upon appropriate smoke and fire tests. The conclusion reached is that LBWF’s continuing attempts to promote the idea that it has acted responsibly throughout look ever more shaky. Relatedly, the controversy over whether the FEDs installed were FD60 (as LBWF initially claimed) or only FD30 (its more recent position) shows little sign of abating. LBWF’s latest comment ... »

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