Documenting Past Failures: (6) Cllr. Loakes, PwC, and the BNI Community Cohesion Projects

As I have described in the previous post in this series, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report was a revelation. The figures already recounted tell much of the story. But to get a full picture of the chaos that PwC uncovered, it is necessary to look at some of its unpublished findings on individual BNI files, and there is no better place to start than with the batch concerning ‘community cohesion’. Let me set the scene. At the beginning of 2007, I was becoming increasingly anxious about the BNI programme (not least because there appeared to be a looming underspend on the financial year of substantial proportions) and so contacted Cllr. Clyde Loakes, Leader of the Council and Ch... »

Documenting Past Failures: (5) The BNI – ‘We’re awfully sorry, folks. Mistakes were made about how we spent millions of pounds of public money. But it’s all in the past. Let’s move forward and forget it’.

By the spring of 2008, the situation with the Better Neighbourhoods Initiative (BNI) programme was becoming untenable. The Council’s Corporate Audit and Anti-Fraud Team had just reported on the Dr. Foster episode, had nearly completed its work on EduAction’s Youth at Risk project, and was chasing new leads.  A consultant’s examination of the BNI which was presented to Cabinet concluded there had been ‘systematic failures by officers to follow sound procedures’. Police investigations were said to be ongoing. Negative coverage in the local press continued. So LBWF reacted as it had always done, almost by reflex, and appointed yet another consultant, no less than PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) th... »

North London Ltd. – an enigma wrapped in a mystery?

A name that crops up in the context of the E11 BID Co. fiasco is North London Ltd. (NLL), a company that was launched in 2004 and apparently went into compulsory liquidation ten years later, put there by its creditors. According to a press release of 2013, NLL was ‘the sub-regional business support agency for North London’ and worked ‘to accelerate business growth and development and attract inward investment into the area’ – reminiscent of the corporate gobbledygook that made Dave Brent so famous. Scattered information elsewhere suggests it sometimes traded as North London Business (confusing, because there was a related, though dormant, company of the same name); employed a staff tha... »

Ex-Cllr. Afzal Akram, again: why no MBE?

Mention of ex-Councillor Akram in a previous post brings to mind what we have lost since he decamped to West London. The website of his new company, which appears to be a high end mini-cab firm, handily sums up his service to public life in the tabulation reproduced below. Can any local figure claim to have done anything like so much in so short a time? And for some reason Cllr. Akram never even got an MBE. One wonders: why not? Elected as a Councillor & Cabinet Member in the London Borough of Waltham Forest (2006 – 2014) – Annual Budget circa £1 billion Chairman of the North East London & City Cluster of 8 NHS Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)(2012 – 2013) – Annual Budget circa... »

Councillor Whitney Ihenachor: keeping it in the familiy

A local resident writes: ‘If you check the Register of Interests on the LBWF website for Councillor Whitney Ihenachor, you will see she appears to be currently unemployed.  As with a number of other local Labour Group members, this is not unusual, but in Whitney’s case, does it obscure the fact that she is a full-time student at Glasgow University? Eyebrows were first raised when Whitney was fast tracked through the Labour selection process by exempting her from the length of membership rule. At the time, assurances were sought that she would move her studies to London if selected (and elected), but these commitments, if made, were clearly neither copper bottomed nor made of cast iron.... »

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