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... »

How the Labour Party funds local elections in Waltham Forest: further embarrassing revelations

Two previous posts have looked at how Labour in Waltham Forest manages its finances, and suggested that all is not as it should be, particularly with respect to transparency. What follows examines some new data that appreciably amplifies this earlier conclusion. After local elections, political parties are required to account for their expenditure to the Electoral Commission (EC) by submitting returns for all candidates listing how they financed their campaigns and what exactly they spent their money on. Focusing on Labour at the 2018 contest, these returns reveal, in aggregate terms, the following about funding: As can be seen, Labour spent £21,392 in all, and two-thirds of the total was pr... »

LBWF’s Making Places programme and the Cann Hall side-wall fiasco: good news and bad

As a previous post has described in detail, LBWF currently plans to spend a dizzying £40,000 on tiling the large side-wall of a private commercial property in Cann Hall ward, all in the name of producing a ‘joyous’ and ‘popular’ piece of public art, Matthew Raw and Abigail Holsborough’s Embedded Bread. The good news is that because of widespread local disquiet (and in particular a petition with well over 450 signatories) LBWF has just put the project ‘on hold’ (even if, to residents’ amusement, it is apparently incapable of explaining exactly what this means). However, there is plenty of bad news too. First, a new Freedom of Information Act deposition reveals that, th... »

Register of interests wrap: five councillors did not update their forms as required, but others, including Cllr. Terry, are cleared

This post briefly sums up the past few months’ revelations about LBWF councillors and their register of interests forms (grouping the findings under three broad headings) and then discuses some of the issues that arise. Failure to update (a) Cllrs. Limbajee, Miller, and Mbachu As earlier posts have noted, LBWF Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, has determined that Cllrs. Limbajee, Miller, and Mbachu did not updated their registers of interests as required (see links below). (b) Cllr. Johar Khan In a recent judgment, Mr. Hynes also finds against Cllr. Johar Khan on similar grounds, writing to a complainant: ‘You were quite in your assertion that Cllr. Khan’s register had not been upd... »

LBWF’s Making Places programme and the strange case of the Cann Hall side-wall: four residents speak and £40,000 of public money goes west UPDATED

In the summer of 2017, LBWF put out an open call to architects, artists, designers, and landscape artists, inviting them to take part in a programme called Making Places, which it was funding from its own resources to the tune of no less than £1m.. The objective was to commission ‘community arts’ projects for ‘unloved spaces’ in each of the borough’s 20 wards, thus generate ‘places which are brighter, safer and where residents and visitors enjoy spending time’, and so ultimately make ‘a lasting impact on local communities’. Those bidding were encouraged to think imaginatively and promised a budget of up to £40,000 per ward, but it was also emphasised that residents’ views must be valued. Ind... »

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