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LBWF ‘communication’ with local residents: the yawning gap between rhetoric and reality

As this blog has previously reported, though LBWF stridently declares that it wants to ‘communicate’ with residents, even help them become ‘active citizens’, able to drive policy, what transpires on the ground is often very different. Communication turns out to be a one-way street, while those who raise issues that are at odds with LBWF’s rosy self-image find themselves studiously ignored. To further underline the prevailing malaise, a correspondent supplies the following vivid account of dealing with the Town Hall, which is particularly shocking because it involves several senior councillors: ‘In the autumn of 2019, I sent representations to LBWF protesting against the plan by its developme... »

Cllrs Anna Mbachu and Victoria te Velde: register of Interests controversy re-surfaces UPDATED

Given the frequency over the years with which they have been discussed by this blog, it might be thought that councillors’ register of interests (RoI) forms now must be a non-issue – all present, up-to-date, and correct as to fact. Yet, regretfully, this seems not to be the case. Take that Town Hall veteran, Cllr. Anna Mbachu. As readers of this blog will remember, her RoI has attracted reproval before. Has she changed her approach? Well, as of this morning, section 4 of her form reads as follows: So far so good. But a quick check via the Companies House website reveals that Anna Mbachu Educate Orphans & Support Widows Ltd. was compulsorily struck off and dissolved nearly a year ago: And... »

LBWF and COVID-19 (2)

In the latest edition of the ‘independent community newspaper’, the Waltham Forest Echo, LBWF Leader, Cllr. Clare Coghill, is particularly exercised by what she sees as government perfidy. Ministers had initially told local authorities ‘“spend what you need to spend and you will get that money back”’, she claims, but then ‘“back-tracked”’, with the current position being ‘“it is only directly coronavirus-related spend that will be reimbursed”’. The consequences, she adds, are grave. LBWF already has started ‘to dip into its reserves’, and if no further assistance is forthcoming, services will have to ‘“adapt and change”’. Cllr. Coghill is of course a politician, and her attempt to take the m... »

The East End Enquirer and Tower Hamlets council’s lack of transparency: a valuable investigation that unsurprisingly resonates in Waltham Forest

In the autumn of 2019, the website Love Wapping begat East End Enquirer, and from that point on, this new site for ‘investigative community journalism’ has broken many excellent stories, most of great interest to WFM readers. One piece that particularly catches the eye is entitled ‘Poplar Papers 9 – How Tower Hamlets Council avoids public scrutiny’: https://www.eastendenquirer.org/2020/05/poplar-papers-9-how-tower-hamlets-council-avoids-public-scrutiny/ This examines a number of techniques used to thwart prying eyes, including ‘Formal Complaints Delayed’, explained thus: ‘As many Tower Hamlets residents know, if they think LBTH has done them wrong they have to exhaust the internal LBTH compl... »

Goddarts House sheltered housing in Walthamstow: new facts, new controversy

Reproduced below is a letter that I yesterday sent to LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom which focuses on some new material that has emerged about fire safety measures at Goddarts House sheltered housing in Walthamstow. The first issue raised with Mr. Esom is about the London Fire Brigade’s recently divulged claim that it was misrepresented in one or more of LBWF’s pre-2019 Fire Risk Assessment (FRA) reports on Goddarts,  specifically, ‘wrongly’ recorded as having endorsed the long-standing ‘stay put’ policy for residents in the case of fire. How could such a misrepresentation possibly have occurred, especially about something so important? What follows in the letter turns to the most re... »

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