The E11 BID Co. apparently set to close, but big questions remain

Word reaches me that the E11 BID Co. directors have decided to throw in the towel, and shut their company at Christmas.

If true, this is good news, for although the E11 BID Co. claims to have put its disaterous past behind it, there are still enough flaws in its functioning to give grave cause for concern.

Well-run companies, for example, submit their accounts on time.

But the visitor who looks up the E11 BID Co. at Companies House today is greeted by the following:

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Meanwhile the E11 BID2 Ltd. remains as big a mystery as ever. We know that LBWF now feeds this recently created entity the BID levy, true, but that is about all. Why exactly the company was set up, what its aims are, and how it is related to the E11 BID Co. are unanswered questions. And the fact that Companies House presently describes the E11 BID2 Ltd. as ‘dormant’ only adds to the confusion:

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A similar cloud of doubt surrounds the matter of outputs. A recent Freedom of Information Act request asked LBWF how much of the revenue passed to the E11 BID2 Ltd. in the past two years was spent on ‘the business community in the borough of Waltham Forest’, and requested supporting evidence.

In response, LBWF forwarded two E11 BID Co. documents – a business plan and a flyer (the latter also flourished in answer to an earlier question).

The business plan dates to 2012, and so is completely irrelevant (readers can make up their own minds about whether forwarding it at this juncture reflects incompetence or an absurd attempt to pull the wool).

As to the flyer, it is at least nearly current, but that is about the only thing that can be said in its favour. For the blatantly obvious fact is that, as already pointed out, its central claims are for the most part so vague as to be unverifiable.

In addition, there is more than a dash here of Walter Mitty.

One example will suffice. Both the business plan and the flyer unsurprisingly give some prominence to the E11 BID Co. website, with the former describing it as ‘a portal for information, newsletters, activities and projects’, and the latter promising that ‘’ will feature ‘social media integration, news and updates and events’.

That all sounds very impressive, consistent with the E11 BID Co.’s grandstanding style, but if is visited today, what pops up is not exciting ‘social media integration’ and so forth, but rather wholly stale content dating from (at best) as long ago as 2014:

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Against this background, few will mourn the passing of either E11 BID Co.. But big questions remain about why the saga has been allowed to drag on for this long.

LBWF will no doubt argue that its hands are tied, because the BID legislation requires it to keep on collecting and passing over the levy, regardless of any other consideration.

But such a stance fails to convince.

In 2013, after a series of damaging revelations about how the E11 BID Co. was being run, LBWF officers noted that their ‘current view’ was that the Council should consider using its powers to pursue termination, on the grounds that the Company had ‘insufficient finances for the current chargeable period to meet both its historic debt financial liabilities and the costs of its 2013-14 BID duties’.

Subsequently, LBWF surreptitiously changed its mind, though without explanation. A few months later, there was a Scrutiny Committee hearing to examine why such a volte-face had occurred, but after a few minutes, this was suddenly closed to the public.

One fact that may well be material is that though LBWF’s contracts with the E11 BID Co. contain several clauses designed to monitor annual performance, these have been almost universally ignored.

So it is possible that LBWF’s room for manoeuvre over the E11 BID Co. – and thus its ability to successfully pursue any legal action – has been fatally compromised by its own record of ineptitude.

For sure, it wouldn’t be the first time.

Related Posts

The E11 BID Co. saga continues

LBWF’s relationship with the local business sector: new revelations about the E11 BID Co.

The E11 BID Co. and its debts: the evidence