LBWF and the Freedom of Information Act: some troubling new findings

The Campaign for Freedom of Information has just published an overview* that examines the extent to which London local authorities are following good practice in complying with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, and predictably LBWF does not come out of it very well. To start with, it emerges that LBWF receives an unusually high number of FOI requests: In passing, it is rather surprising to find that, almost uniquely, as a note to this chart records, ‘Waltham Forest wasn’t able to extract the number of requests received in 2016/17 from its system’. But the more interesting question, obviously, is why LBWF finds itself being so much questioned. Perhaps the borough’s residents are unusually... »

The Prevent programme in Waltham Forest: has LBWF surrendered to Islamic sectarians? UPDATED

‘Waltham Forest is a Prevent Tier 1 priority area and as such receives additional funding from the Home Office to deliver Prevent projects. Tier 1 status is apportioned as Waltham Forest is considered to be of significantly higher risk [of terrorism] than the majority of local authority areas. Accordingly, expectations of delivery are high’ (Home Office, Prevent Pier Review Report Waltham Forest (March 2018)) For some years past, Waltham Forest has been home to a number of active Islamist extremists, and as a consequence LBWF continues to receive a considerable amount of extra cash to augment its counter-terrorism Prevent programme. Never afraid to look a gift horse in the mouth, LBWF today ... »

The £40,000 Cann Hall side-wall ‘artwork’ is cancelled, artists Mathew Raw and Abigail Holsborough depart the scene, and LBWF scrambles for excuses – its a big victory for local residents

As the linked posts (below) describe in some detail, for the past few months, and as part of its Making Places programme, LBWF has been intent on putting an ‘artwork’ made of tiles and costing an extraordinary £40,000, on the dilapidated side-wall of a private property in Cann Hall Rd. – a private property that coincidentally happens to be owned by a prominent family of Labour supporters, the most eminent of whom is Dawn Butler, the Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary. Meanwhile, large numbers of residents have expressed their displeasure, citing everything from the ‘artworks’’s flawed aesthetics, to the almost total lack of consultation about what was to be done an... »

‘Public realm and shop front improvements’ in South Leytonstone: dogs get their dinner, while the area’s real problems are forgotten

Recent posts have looked at LBWF’s plan to spend £40,000 turning the wall of a private property on Cann Hall Rd. into an alleged ‘artwork’, and the subsequent massive backlash. But as documents released under the Freedom of Information Act reveal, this is by no means the only extraordinary waste of public money that LBWF is foisting on the same area, broadly South Leytonstone’s Cann Hall and Cathall wards. As has been previously pointed out (see links below), having studiously ignored the subject for the best part of a decade, Cann Hall councillors in particular have suddenly become infatuated with the idea of a local plan, which sounds impressive, though on closer inspection turns out to be... »

LBWF Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes and Labour Councillor Liaquat Ali: Punch meets Judy, again

At the beginning of November 2018, The Waltham Forest Guardian’s Alice Richardson reported that at a full Council meeting in 2015, the Labour Cabinet portfolio holder, Cllr. Liaquat Ali, had failed to declare an interest. She explained: ‘On the council’s website, Cllr Liaquat Ali, who is a private landlord, is recorded as being present in a full council meeting on July 9, 2015 where private rental licences were discussed, but there is no record of him declaring an interest during the meeting. The council’s list of interests declared at meetings shows that fellow cabinet member for health, Cllr Naheed Asghar, did declare an interest on the day, as her partner owns a lettings company. Cllr Asg... »

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