LBWF, the Local Authority Business Growth Initiative programmes, and the Waltham Forest Business Board, E11 Bid Co., and North London Ltd.

A couple of years ago, I started hearing some very surprising things about Leytonstone’s Business Improvement District (BID) company, the E11 Bid Co.. The allegation, in short, was that the directors of the company had failed to keep proper books and neglected to pay their taxes; run up substantial debts; and as a consequence jeopardised the company’s ‘going concern’ status.

I had always been suspicious about the E11 BID Co. because there was a lack of transparency about its operations, and a lot of obvious flannel about its alleged successes. I knew that councillors (including the ex-Leader, Clyde Loakes) had been or remained on the E11 BID Co. board, and that the company continued to receive substantial Council support (in money and in kind), all of which added to my uneasiness, because I was very familiar with how the Council treated local charities, and it was certainly nowhere near so generous.

Anyway, I investigated, and gradually uncovered a story that was both wider and more concerning than I initially imagined.

Ive pasted my full report in the documents box to the left, and copied the executive summary here. It is shocking stuff, though also worryingly reminiscent of the other previous local fiascos documented in these pages.

LBWF, the Local Authority Business Growth Initiative programmes One and Two, and the Waltham Forest Business Board, E11 Bid Co., and North London Ltd.


  • Between 2007 and 2011, LBWF received Local Authority Business Growth Initiative (LABGI) monies worth £2,569,014.
  • LBWF used some of this money for its own projects, and also allocated £540,000 to the Waltham Forest Business Board’s operating arm, Waltham Forest Business CIC (WFB), contracting the latter to stimulate two local BID Companies.
  • Exactly what was achieved by the expenditure of the LABGI monies in terms of outputs and outcomes is difficult to gauge, and this is particularly true of the sums passed to the WFB, as when questioned under the Freedom of Information Act (FIA), LBWF is able to produce only a small fraction of the monitoring data that was contractually required.
  • What is abundantly clear, however, is that one of the beneficiaries, the E11 BID Co., was run chaotically and to some extent recklessly; and that the sums it received from WFB – c. £180,000 – currently cannot be accounted for.
  • Questions also arise about the monies that were paid out for the LABGI programme’s administration and running expenses, since these seem to be above the level that might be reasonably expected; and a payment of £50,000 that WFB made to a third party, North London Ltd., which again has an uncertain fate.
  • Research on these issues has thrown up two further worrying dimensions.
  • One concern centers on North London Ltd., since beyond LABGI, it is established that this company received large amounts of additional public money, at least £1,108,000 (including £455,279 from LBWF alone); spent it in ways that are not always easy to trace; and recently was forced into administration, while provoking concerns in City Hall.
  • In addition, it is a fact that two of the key figures on the WFB board were also directors of delivery organisations which received WFB funding, specifically the E11 BID Co. and NLL, and this raises reasonable questions about their roles and how they mitigated potential conflicts of interest.
  • In conclusion, over recent years, LBWF has been involved in a series of well-publicised scandals about its use of public money, involving, amongst others things, the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, the collapsed local charity O-Regen, and its own Worknet programme.
  • What is documented in the following pages suggests that few lessons have been learnt, and underlines the need for an independent inquiry into how the local authority operates.