LBWF spin

LBWF and its Freedom of Information Act failings: now the Information Commissioner’s Office directly intervenes UPDATED

Past posts have covered LBWF’s increasingly unsatisfactory record in handling Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiries – its delays, illegitimate evasions, ignorance of the legal framework, and so on. However, at last there is some good news, because the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to meet with LBWF Chief Executive, Martin Esom, shortly to discuss ‘the numerous [ICO] decision notices ... »

LBWF ‘communication’ with local residents: the yawning gap between rhetoric and reality

As this blog has previously reported, though LBWF stridently declares that it wants to ‘communicate’ with residents, even help them become ‘active citizens’, able to drive policy, what transpires on the ground is often very different. Communication turns out to be a one-way street, while those who raise issues that are at odds with LBWF’s rosy self-image find themselves studiously ignored. To furt... »

LBWF, Mini Holland, and air quality: the King’s College Environmental Research Group report and its frailties

Acknowledgement: I am very grateful to Steve Lowe for drawing my attention to the subject of this post, providing important source material, and making helpful suggestions right the way though the drafting process. In the early summer of 2018, LBWF commissioned the much respected Environmental Research Group based at King’s College London [hereafter KCERG] to ‘model a range of interventions around... »

LBWF’s press, communications, and PR operation: less about providing information, more about ‘controlling the narrative’

It is a staple of LBWF public utterances that ‘Communicating with our residents is important to us and we strive to ensure our residents are kept informed’. Indeed, in recent year, LBWF has underlined that it sees communication not just as a matter of informing, but also of transforming, a way of turning out ‘active citizens’, co-partners in the development of the borough. Thus, for instance, a re... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (3)

Lest there is anybody out there who still thinks that LBWF’s handling of fire risks at Northwood Tower has been commensurate with its boast that ‘The safety of our residents is always our top priority [emphasis added]’, reproduced below are the overall Fire Risk Assessments (FRAs) provided by the assessor Ridge and Partners LLP from 2014 to 2018. Nobody, of course, would want to ... »

LBWF and fire hazards in its housing stock: the appalling case of Northwood Tower in Walthamstow (2)

In response to ‘[s]everal recent articles in local newspapers’ about Northwood Tower, LBWF has just issued a PR release which predictably claims that the latter contain unspecified ‘misunderstandings and inaccuracies’ and seeks to reassure ‘residents and the wider community’ that the building is ‘safe and secure’. No doubt local newspapers can respon... »

LBWF and the Freedom of Information Act: some troubling new findings

The Campaign for Freedom of Information has just published an overview* that examines the extent to which London local authorities are following good practice in complying with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, and predictably LBWF does not come out of it very well. To start with, it emerges that LBWF receives an unusually high number of FOI requests: In passing, it is rather surprising to fin... »

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 ... »