Cllr. Clare Coghill responds to a polite inquiry about Universal Credit: first there is prevarication, then she complains about ‘sexually aggressive’ abuse

I try not to post about issues where I am directly involved, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, and what follows is a case in point. During September 2018, I signed a joint letter to LBWF Leader Clare Coghill inquiring about what steps the council was taking to mitigate the disastrous introduction of Universal Credit. The tenor of the letter was thoughtful, evidenced, non-partisan, and of course about a pressing current issue, and the other signatories included some political figures, but of greater personal consequence, colleagues from the community and voluntary sector who were working directly to address poverty. The letter was dispatched in early October, but despite some chasing, week foll... »

The Connecting Communities Programme in Waltham Forest: everyone’s welcome (except the disabled and poverty-stricken)

In March 2018, the government launched a new £50m. Integrated Communities Strategy (ICS), ‘to tackle the root causes of poor integration and create a stronger, more united Britain’. Shortly afterwards, it was announced that LBWF was to be one of five authorities in England involved in piloting the ICS to 2019/20, supported by an initial grant of £1.2m.; and subsequently, LBWF has published Waltham Forest Our Place. A Shared Plan for Connecting Communities [hereafter Our Place], an implementation document aimed at the general public. What follows outlines LBWF’s intentions, and then offers a critical evaluation. Our Place opens with some background. Waltham Forest’s population increased by 17... »

Health inequalities by ward in Waltham Forest: an investigation in eight acts

Prologue In the early 2000s, it was often noted that health in Waltham Forest varied noticeably from ward to ward. For example, the Primary Health Trust’s Public Health Report 2003/04 included the following graphic: What this showed, to take one example, was that men and women in Cann Hall at that date were likely to die 5.3 years and 4.4 years earlier that their equivalents in Endlebury. For a short while, such figures were also at the forefront of public debate, but subsequently they slipped from view. Recently, however, the subject has been referenced again, and what follows recounts the story that has subsequently unfolded. Act One On 28 January 2017, Councillor Ahsan Khan, Cabinet... »

LBWF old boy Daniel Fenwick makes the news in Newham

This week’s Private Eye has some disquieting news about LBWF old boy Daniel Fenwick, now working for Newham, see ‘Truth Will Doubt’, below: Many will remember then LBWF Director and Governance Mr. Fenwick fondly as a stout defender of his employer’s interests. He worked for LBWF at a time when the authority had its fair share of scandals – the Better Neighbourhoods Initiative, the Independent Panel inquiry, Worknet, and the revelation that workers in the Town Hall had been exposed to asbestos, to name but a few. But ‘organised crime and masonic links’ – that’s a whole other ballgame. We wish him well. »

An interview with James O’Rourke of Walthamstow Independents Forum

For those who don’t know you, can you briefly describe your political apprenticeship? Life events are often the catalyst for entering politics. In my case in 1990 my brother, who has a severe learning disability, faced a crisis. I approached each Party spokesperson seeking support. The Liberal Democrat, Bob Sullivan, simply said ‘I can’t promise anything but I’ll do my best to help you resolve the issue’. As a former social worker that’s all I wanted to hear. The ruling Party spokesperson refused to engage and the main opposition simply saw it as a political and PR opportunity. In 1994 I first stood for election for the Liberal Democrats in the local elect... »

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