Documenting Past Failures: (11) some conclusions, part one

The previous ten posts in this series have looked at LBWF’s record of extensive failure over the past decade or so, and it is now apposite to offer some general conclusions. First, it is notable that, by and large, the cases examined share some common characteristics, which may be summarised as follows: (a) rule breaches On paper, LBWF has always possessed clear rules to govern programme inception... »

Documenting Past Failures: (8) the self-defeating silence of Councillor Marie Pye

Shortly after the Independent Panel report, I attended a Community Council meeting, and heard Cllr. Marie Pye vociferously denying any responsibility for the NRF/BNI fiasco. So I wrote her an open letter explaining why I thought she was wrong. Needless to say, in true Waltham Forest style, she never replied. However, to some extent the last laugh is on her, because if you Google ‘Cllr. Marie... »

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 But to get a full picture of the chaos that PwC uncovered, it is necessary to look at some of its unpublished findings on individual BNI files, and there is no better place to start than with the batch concerning ‘community c... »

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 b... »

Documenting Past Failures: (3) NRF, EduAction and an open letter to Cllr. Chris Robbins

One of the outside organisations that LBWF paid NRF monies to was EduAction, or more properly EduAction Waltham Forest Ltd., a joint venture formed by Amey Plc (‘one of today’s leading public services providers’) and Nord Anglia Education. In the 2000s, EduAction ran the schools in the borough, after a damning Ofsted report at the turn of the century had disposed of the idea that the l... »

Documenting Past Failures: (2) NRF and Dr. Foster

The Dr. Foster episode is one that always will be close to my heart, not only because it demonstrated everything that was wrong about the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund (NRF)/Better Neighbourhoods Initiative (BNI) programme, but also because it had a surprising kick in the tail, and one that was highly gratifying to me. The story is as follows – and I apologise for the minutiae, but as will become cle... »

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 Nationa... »

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... »