Delta Club: a very Waltham Forest story, up like a rocket, down like a stick

In the mid- to late 2000s, Delta Club (hereafter DC) was one of the most high profile organisations in Waltham Forest. Incorporated as a private company in 2003, with sometime Labour Cabinet portfolio holder Cllr. Afzal Akram on its board, DC seemed to have established itself as the ‘go to’ authority on, and provider of, training, especially where ethnic minorities were concerned. A self-penned profile of 2009 read as follows:

‘Delta club [sic] Group is a BAME led and Customer First and Matrix accredited organisation that since its inception has either directly delivered or delivered through a service level agreement over twelve EU/Government funded programmes. We have successfully provided project management on four of these programmes and have delivered parts of the remaining programmes. All these projects have been delivered successfully or are in the process of being delivered. These programmes include providing training and advice to disadvantaged groups as well as those from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities’.

Indeed, so successful was DC in its chosen market that in the next few years it was bringing in large sums of money.

Then, all rather abruptly, things changed. Cllr. Akram resigned his directorship in August 2006, and DC largely disappeared from public view. When Cllr. Akram subsequently split with his Labour Party colleagues and left the area, like many people I quickly forgot that the company had ever existed.

However, recently, it emerged that DC was a partner in North London Ltd.’s mediocre Exporting Success programme (see earlier posts), and so I’ve been looking again at the company’s sudden fall from grace. It is a short but instructive episode.

The first sign that anything was wrong with DC surfaced in 2010, when a Dispatches investigation into the misuse of EU funding alleged that the company was being instructed to hand back £380,000 of training grants because of doubts about what it had achieved in terms of outputs.

For their part, DC directors vigorously refuted the claims, explaining that though their company had indeed worked on the programmes in question, it was the London East Ethnic Business Association (LEEBA) that had actually signed the contracts with the EU and so was legally responsible for any shortcomings.

Yet whichever side was telling the truth, some of the information that then emerged was hardly reassuring. LEEBA, it turned out, was in the process of liquidation. Vital documents ‘proving the contested work had been done’ could not be produced ‘because of floods and a burglary’. According to the Waltham Forest Guardian, a LEEBA director who also acted as a consultant for DC had a conviction for fraud.*

A year later DC itself went into liquidation. It claimed total assets of £124,000, but owed £109,000 to Lloyds TSB (a preferred creditor), and another £42,000 to various businesses, some private individuals, the Skills Funding Agency, and HMRC.

Thereafter, the liquidation process trundled on, until the company was dissolved via compulsory strike-off in September 2014. The liquidator had clearly not enjoyed his job, for example observing some months previously: ‘As per the Statement of Affairs the only asset pertaining to the Company was that of book debts estimated in the sum of £112,630.16. No realisations have been made in this respect due to disputes and lack of supporting evidence’.

All told, it’s a very Waltham Forest story: up like a rocket, down like a stick.

* see


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North London Ltd. and a shortfall of £101,822