LBWF spin

‘Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal’ UPDATED

In May 2017, this blog published a post entitled ‘Knife crime in Waltham Forest: a nasty little scandal (1)’, which, somewhat unexpectedly, attracted a big readership. What follows provides an update, focusing both on knife crime specifically, and the broader (though intimately related) issue of gangs and gang violence. First off, and very regrettably, it is worth underlining that the knife crime ... »

Islamist extremism in Waltham Forest: a disturbing new episode

In the past week or so, much of the press has covered the trial and conviction of Forest Gate Isis supporter Umar Ahmed Haque on a number of serious terrorist offences. During Mr. Haque’s trial, the court heard extensive evidence about his activities at two schools and a madrassa in East London, where (amongst other things) under the guise of teaching ‘Islamic Studies’ he ‘re-enacted attacks on po... »

Waltham Forest’s Safer Neighbourhoods Board and MOPAC funding: the scandal continues

A post of September past (see link below) reported that, though in FYs 2015-16 and 2016-17 the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhood Board (WFSNB) had been allotted £78,000 of Mayor’s Officer for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) funding, and promised to rigorously track how this was spent, it had so far failed to submit anywhere near the required number of monitoring reports. Now it has just emerged that n... »

LBWF, Community Ward Forums, and freedom of speech

As this blog regularly points out, LBWF devotes a surprising amount of time and attention to what PR spinners call ‘controlling the narrative’, that is vigorously promoting a particular, and self-serving, version of events, while at the same time seeking to sideline criticism. Recent developments add a further concerning illustration. Trevor Calver is a community activist in Chingford, a leading m... »

LBWF’s perfidies in microcosm

A couple of weeks ago, one of my neighbours showed me the letter pasted below. The story it relates to begins some months ago. LBWF announced that it wanted to place a cycle storage pod in Odessa Rd., and contacted 100 households living on both sides of the road near the proposed site in order to get their response. As the letter reveals, 12 households replied, and of those, the (albeit narrow) ma... »

LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom’s evidence at the Town Hall asbestos trial: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

The following speaks for itself. 18 September 2015 Dear Mr. Esom, We write to you about the letter dated 30 January 2014 that you submitted to the HSE and the courts prior to LBWF’s recent prosecution over Town Hall asbestos contamination. We remind you that this letter was produced in lieu of an interview under PACE; and that you explicitly recognised it might ‘be used in the event of any enforce... »

LBWF, Prevent, and the Freedom of Information Act: censorship in action?

On 17th July 2015, I used the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) to ask LBWF: ‘At a recent hearing in City Hall, Martin Esom (LBWF CEO) claimed re the Prevent programme: “We try to identify output measures to see how successful we are or otherwise….Our output measures are things like referrals through to Channel and all sorts of things like that. We have quite a broad range of indi... »

LBWF and the anti-terrorist Prevent programme: is it wise to keep it in the closet?

In early June of this year, I asked LBWF under the Freedom of Information Act for a list of its current Prevent contracts, with for each its start and finish dates, the name of the contractor, the value of the contract, and a brief description of what the contract aims to achieve. A few days ago, my request was refused, with LBWF arguing as follows: ‘Waltham Forest Council recognises the public in... »

LBWF spinners

A recent Press Gazette story highlights the large number of press officers and other communications staff who are now employed in local government – see here  http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/local-councils-now-employ-least-3400-comms-staff-more-double-total-central-government. Its author, William Turvill, has been kind enough to send me the figures for Waltham Forest. Apparently, there are cur... »

Asbestos matters: Waltham Forest Council, PR, and keeping stum

So you are an employer who has just been found guilty of breaking the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 – of running your affairs, in other words, in such a way as to endanger your employees and those who visit your premises. What do you do? Publicly apologise? Offer everyone involved some advice and support? Perhaps even take action against those who ... »