Fireproofing flat entrance doors at Goddarts sheltered housing in Walthamstow: another LBWF fiasco, which has left vulnerable residents in danger, and will cost a great deal of public money to rectify

This post looks at what LBWF has done – in fact more accurately, has not done – over the past few years to make sure that flat entrance doors (FEDs) at Goddarts House sheltered housing in Walthamstow are fireproof. It’s a story of official bungling, which endangered life and limb, and probably will cost the public purse hundreds of thousands of pounds, but also – more positively – of one determined resident’s struggles to put things right. First some background. When serious fire occurs, FEDs are a matter of life and death. A suitably robust FED, properly fitted, and regularly inspected, will provide vital protection, retarding flame and blocking smoke circulation, especially critical ... »

LBWF CEO Martin Esom, the Prevent anti-terrorist programme, and the politics of illusion

Perhaps curiously, given LBWF’s decidedly chequered record in identifying and addressing Islamist extremism, Martin Esom, the council CEO, chaired the pan London Prevent Board (LPB) from 2012 to late 2018. Earlier this year, the Local Government Chronicle interviewed Mr. Esom about his time at the LPB, and his views are worth exploring, not least because they may well feed into the government’s reassement of Prevent, which is currently ongoing. It must be said that Mr. Esom’s logic in the interview is sometimes difficult to follow, clouded (amongst other things) by a whiff of score settling. But what does come over clearly is that he believes in three broad assertions about the nature of ter... »

Councillor Keith Rayner revealed to have had some difficulty with, ahem, his own council tax payments

A valuable investigation by Lewis Berrill, Chief Reporter of the East London and West Essex Guardian, has revealed that in the past few years four LBWF councillors – Rajar Anwar, Kastriot Berberi, Jemma Hemsted, and Keith Rayner – have been issued with notices for late payment of council tax, with Messrs Anwar and Rayner also then each receiving a court summons, see Cllr. Rayner’s case is certainly the most serious, as he was issued with two notices for late payment in 2015-16; a further reminder for payment in 2016-17; and shortly afterwards, a summons. According to Mr. Berrill the summons ... »

Cllr. Paul Douglas and the East London Credit Union: confusion reigns

As a previous post pointed out (see link below), the demise of LBWF’s beloved East London Credit Union (ELCU) throws up a number of as yet unanswered questions. Some recent correspondence adds to the confusion. On 26 September 2019, I wrote to LBWF’s Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, as follows: ‘Dear. Mr. Hynes, As of today, Cllr. Paul Douglas’s register of interests form records that he is ‘a member’ of the East London Credit Union… However, if the FCA Financial Services Register is consulted, Mr. Douglas is currently listed as a ’Senior Manager’ of the East London Credit Union, an ‘individual who works for, or used to work for, this firm... »

Rebuked by the Information Commissioner’s Office, and revealed to have misunderstood the law, LBWF sails on regardless

As past posts demonstrate, LBWF has a poor record when it comes to issues around transparency, regularly failing even in terms of its statutory responsibilities. A recent case reinforces the cause for concern. In April 2019, the Waltham Forest Echo journalist Michelle Edwards sent LBWF a Subject Access Request (SAR), that is, a request to see what information the local authority at that point held about her in relation to certain stated topics. It should be emphasised that, first, SARs are by now a very routine part of everyday life, fully sanctioned by the data protection legislation; and second, on its website, LBWF recognises this reality, and in fact provides a good deal of practical gui... »

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