Posts

Documenting Past Failures: (1) Introduction

Over the coming months, and at irregular intervals, I’ll be posting Documenting Past Failures pieces, which will look at some of the episodes that I’ve been involved in since 2004, broadly in chronological sequence. To start with, I’ll be looking mostly at how LBWF used Neighbourhood Renewal Fund monies. The background is as follows. In 2001, the government launched a new National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal which aimed to reverse long-term decline in wards defined as ‘deprived’ by tackling key issues (such as poor health, worklessness, and crime), and at the same time empowering local residents, so that the impetus for change would be self-sustaining (Social Exclusi... »

Asbestos matters again: St. Mary’s School, Walthamstow

A quick visit to the Health and Safety Executive’s website reveals that LBWF has form on asbestos – see here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/notices/breach/breach_list.asp?PN=1&ST=B&SN=F&EO=%3D&SF=RID&SV=1257558&SO=ANBID Some of the episodes have attracted significant comment, too, for example here: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/8331074.WALTHAM_FOREST__Union_slams_council_over_safety_rap/ More recently, NPS London Ltd (NPSL) and LBWF have commissioned their own investigations into events at St. Mary’s School, Walthamstow, and these merit some scrutiny. What has emerged is that in 2011 and 2012, the school was subject to phased refurbishment works, and early on, ... »

Some background: a short history of local scandals

Here’s an article that I contributed to the Dec14/Jan15 issue of Labour Briefing (which I reproduce with the kind permission of the editors). It looks at some recent Waltham Forest history, and gives more than a clue as to why this blog was set up. Waltham Forest’s missing millions ‘In 2009, spurred on by a spate of bad publicity about its flagship Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF) programme, and premonitions that the Audit Commission was about to halve its star rating, London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) appointed an Independent Panel, chaired by the LDA’s Sir Peter Rogers, to scrutinise its workings. The results were startling. The Panel found that, in its rush to gain... »

Asbestos matters: the Waltham Forest Town Hall fiasco

The Council’s recent conviction over the asbestos dust that it allowed to pollute the Town Hall has been well covered in the local press, see for example: http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/11734109.Council_admits_failing_to_protect_staff_from_deadly_asbestos/  http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/11746274.Confusion_over_town_hall_asbestos_scandal_as_contractor_denies_involvement/  http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/11737085.Council_employee_exposed_to_asbestos_dust__will_worry_his_entire_life_/ http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/11734195.Campaigners_call_for_individuals_to_be_held_to_account_over_deadly_asbestos/ But two matters remain to be clarified. The first is the role played... »

A note for readers…

This is a personal blog, which aims to scrutinise the powers that be in Waltham Forest, from the Council (hereafter London Borough of Waltham Forest or LBWF), both elected members and staff; to our MPs; to other important local institutions, such as the police and the health authorities; to local ‘leaders’, whether from business or elsewhere. My inspiration is the late, much lamented Archipelago of Truth (see links), and if I get anywhere near that, I’ll be pleased. I should emphasise from the start my belief that good local institutions can make a positive difference to all our lives, and so it is imperative to make sure they perform. If I highlight problems and failures, I do s... »

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