Islamic extremism in Walthamstow: the Charity Commission investigates two Muslim charities over controversial statements made in youth programmes, but LBWF must intervene, too.

As has been reported by various media outlets (most prominently the Times), the Charity Commission is currently investigating two Waltham Forest Islamic charities, the Miftahul Jannah Academy and the Masjid-E-Umer Trust (which runs Walthamstow Central Mosque), following a complaint about controversial statements in lectures that allegedly have been delivered as part of their youth programmes. The figure at the centre of this row is ‘Islamic scholar’ Muhammad Patel, who has taught at both charities, and from 2008 onwards posted live recordings of his weekly lectures on the Miftahul Jannah Academy’s website.  Listening to these lectures reveals that they aim to clarify the meani... »

Cllr. Anna Mbachu’s High Court claim to have been libelled thrown out, leaving her with a £34,000 bill UPDATED

After attending the High Court for the Waltham Forest Echo last week, Local Democracy Reporter, Josh Mellor, brings news that Councillor Anna Mbachu has lost a libel action in spectacular fashion, leaving her with a £34,000 bill, £15,000 of which must be paid within 21 days, with leave to appeal refused. Cllr. Mbachu claimed that, in 2018, she had been called a ‘“liar”’ and a ‘“vile deceptive pig”’ in a series of posts written by mental health professional, and former colleague, Eze Ihenacho. However, in court Cllr. Mbachu failed to produce the originals of these alleged posts, as required by the judge, and so her case was dismissed. Regular readers will recall that Cllr. Mbachu is no strang... »

Crime and policing latest: the Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhood Board hits the skids again, and now LBWF – controversially – wants to disband it

The Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhood Board (WFSNB) brings together councillors and residents, and is a potentially very important component of the local fight against crime, supported, as it is, by LBWF, the Metropolitan Police Service,  and the Mayor’s Office for Policing And Crime (MOPAC), and charged with ‘bringing police and communities together to decide local policing and crime priorities, solve problems collaboratively and make sure that the public are involved in a wide range of other community safety decisions’. However, five years ago, when this blog last looked at the WFSNB, what emerged was shocking (see links below).  WFSNB meetings were few and ... »

LBWF launches a £40m. programme to upgrade the fire safety of its social housing provision, but questions remain as to why this wasn’t done years ago

It has long been suspected, by this blog not least, that LBWF is facing a major problem about fire safety in its social housing provision, and now some new evidence shows that not only is this true, but something is finally being done about it.  The pandemic has slowed down council reporting across the board, and so for the latest developments it is necessary to go back to a report presented by Divisional Director Housing Assets, Sumitra Gomer, at the Audit and Governance Committee meeting in January of the present year. This makes sobering reading. Ms. Gomer estimated that to bring all of LBWF’s housing units up to the standard required would take an astonishing 14,525 separate ‘action... »

Looking back at the past, an occasional series. Part one: LBWF CEO Roger Kilburn is sacked and walks away with £356,000

The story reproduced below is from the Oldham Evening Chronicle of 11 June 2010, and deals with the dismissal of current LBWF CEO Martin Esom’s immediate predecessor, Andrew Kilburn. Briefly, Mr. Kilburn had come to Waltham Forest with a big reputation, gained during a long career in local government, and burnished by his recent leadership of Oldham Council through a period of heightened racial tension. Yet after just 21 months in his new post, Mr. Kilburn found himself surplus to requirements, and in circumstances that the Local Government Chronicle described as ‘mysterious’. What had gone wrong? Some posited a personality clash, with the newly appointed and autocratic C... »

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