Posts

The London Fire Brigade and fire safety at LBWF’s Goddarts House, Walthamstow, sheltered housing: the anatomy of a shambles

This post examines the role played by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) in the ongoing scandal about fire safety at LBWF’s Goddarts House sheltered accommodation in Hoe Street, Walthamstow – 27 flats, with the ‘occupancy types’ officially described as ‘Elderly, Hearing Impairment, Mental Health, Sight Impairment, [and] Wheelchair Users’.  First, some general background about the legislation which governs fire safety at Goddarts, and what role the LFB plays in relation to it. As regards the legislation, there are several statutes involved, but the most important, by far, is the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 (hereafter FSO 2005). For every building, it specifies, either the owne... »

LBWF and COVID-19

A few days ago, the Cabinet considered a paper which looked at the impact of COVID-19 on LBWF’s finances. The headline figures that were presented are alarming. Assuming the crisis lasts 12 weeks, LBWF will have an ‘exposure’ (increased costs plus lost income) of between £34.857m. and £39.487m. while at the time of writing, promised central government emergency assistance amounts to only £7.540m. The detail is in the following table: Understandably, many of these figures are rough estimates. Moreover, further support from Westminster is likely to be forthcoming in the next few weeks. On the other hand, the emergency’s impact will undoubtedly run beyond 12 weeks, and realistically may last a ... »

LBWF and the East London Credit Union: yet more disturbing details emerge

This blog’s investigation into the 2019 collapse of LBWF favourite the East London Credit Union (ELCU) continues to generate revelations, and what follows is a brief roundup of the most noteworthy, grouped under four headings. LBWF’s initial decision to give ELCU £500,000 in 2014 At the Council Meeting of 16 October 2014, and with standing orders suspended, the Leader, Cllr. Chris Robbins, made a verbal ‘Autumn Statement’ which, ‘[f]ollowing a consultation with residents about the Council’s budgets and priorities’, listed ‘his five priorities for the coming months’, and included: ‘The Council would [sic] inject £500,000 into a Credit Union facility. This will provide residents with a s... »

LBWF, Mini Holland, and air quality: the King’s College Environmental Research Group report and its frailties

Acknowledgement: I am very grateful to Steve Lowe for drawing my attention to the subject of this post, providing important source material, and making helpful suggestions right the way though the drafting process. In the early summer of 2018, LBWF commissioned the much respected Environmental Research Group based at King’s College London [hereafter KCERG] to ‘model a range of interventions around air quality, exposure and attitudes, and its [sic] impact on the Public in Waltham Forest’. The background was well known. LBWF had been implementing a £27m.scheme, dubbed ‘Mini Holland’, which prioritised cyclists and pedestrians over motor vehicles, and thus, it was hoped, secured long-term and s... »

London Borough of Waltham Forest: the local authority that can’t even finalise its annual accounts – AN UPDATE

Mystery continues about the fate of LBWF’s 2018-19 externally audited annual accounts. As a previous post outlined, these were due on 31 July 2019, so that they could be signed off by the Audit and Governance Committee, but the auditor, Ernst and Young LLP, was tardy in starting work; then became entangled in ‘historical audit issues‘, possibly dating to as far back as 2007; and in the end was forced to move the completion date forward to September, with the delay and extra work estimated to cost an extra £140,000. However, when the Audit and Governance Committee met on 26 September 2019, there was still no progress, and so it was agreed that ‘a special meeting of the Committee be arranged t... »

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