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... »

The East London Credit Union crashes into administration, leaving several important questions unanswered

On 11 September 2019, the East London Credit Union (ELCU), trading as the Waltham Forest Community Credit Union, collapsed into administration. Simultaneously, the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme announced that it was stepping in to safeguard ELCU’s 5,500 members’ deposits, valued at £2.25m, and most could expect like-for-like payment within a week. The administrator, LBWF, and the East London and West Essex Guardian posted similar reassurance. In some ways, this upshot was surprising. Credit union failures are not unknown – on average, about seven go bust every year. And although UK credit union membership has increased significantly, the number of UK credit unions has declined, a... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: residents in Cann Hall’s John Walsh and Fred Wigg towers left in danger, as Labour averts its eyes

John Walsh and Fred Wigg tower blocks in Cann Hall are 15 storey identical twins, built in the 1960s, and each containing 117 flats. It would be nice to state definitively how many people have lived there at any one time over the past decade, but nobody really seems to know, with (surprisingly) official estimates ranging from 230-ish to 700. In 2011, Fred Wigg residents suffered a terrible fire, which saw two dozen people trapped as firefighters fought the flames. Subsequently the whole block was evacuated to temporary accomodation so that repairs could occur. Given such a dismal history, and of course the June 2017 tragedy on the other side London at Grenfell Tower, it might be expected tha... »

A new outbreak of sectarianism in the Town Hall?

As this blog has reported previously, some councillors in Waltham Forest seem to find avoiding sectarianism, whether national or religious, rather difficult. Now news emerges of what appears to be a further example of this unpleasant phenomenon. Annually, LBWF celebrates a variety of nation days, normally with a reception and flag raising ceremony. The 14 August is Pakistan day, and this year, it was marked in the normal way. However, during the reception (which was chaired by Cllr. Liaquat Ali and attended by the Mayor), events took a somewhat unusual turn. For, at the instigation of the experienced and senior Labour Councillor, Masood Ahmad, it is reported, the proceedings were interrupted... »

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