LBWF, the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act: the obstruction and harassment of residents asking lawful questions continues

In the past few years, this blog has repeatedly revealed that LBWF obstructs local residents using the Freedom of Information Act (FIA) and the Data Protection Act when they are judged to be broaching issues that the Labour leadership considers controversial or likely to damage its reputation. A new case confirms that this disreputable trend continues, and is suggestive, too, about whether LBWF’s Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, who is also Data Protection Officer, has any culpability.  The story can be summarised as follows. During the summer of 2023, I discovered that between 2015 and 2020 LBWF had contracted Amey to manage asbestos removal work in the Town Hall basement, m... »

Cllr. Williams’ statement about Remembrance Sunday: embarrassing and crass

In her weekly e-mail to residents sent out yesterday, the 9th November, LBWF Leader Cllr. Grace Williams tells us, next to a graphic of two red poppies, that ‘This weekend I, like many of you, will be remembering and honouring people who have lost their lives as a result of war’. But Remembrance Sunday isn’t about ‘those who have lost their lives as a result of war’, in other words the dead in every conflict since time began. It is much, much more specific than that. The British Legion explains: ‘Remembrance Sunday is a national opportunity to remember the service and sacrifice of all those that have defended our freedoms and protected our way of life. We remember the Armed Forces, and their... »

Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee scrutinises ‘active travel schemes’ like Mini-Holland and finds them grossly wanting

A Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report published on 3 November 2023 is highly critical of the kind of active travel schemes (ATSs) that have been so enthusiastically implemented by LBWF. The Department of Transport defines active travel as ‘everyday journeys made by walking, wheeling [i.e., using wheelchairs, mobility scooters, prams or pushchairs], or cycling’. So ATSs ‘can range from creating new infrastructure, such as separate cycle lanes on roads or amending existing road space to create pedestrian zones outside schools, as well as activities such as providing training in cycle safety’.  The PAC estimates that overall government spending on ATSs totalled £3.3 billion between 2016... »

LBWF spends enormous amounts each year on non-disclosure agreements, but is this justified?

In recent years, and particularly following the Harvey Weinstein scandal, there has been growing unease about the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). It is widely accepted that NDAs can be appropriate in some circumstances, for example to protect sensitive commercial information. The worry, however, is that on occasion NDAs appear to have been deployed solely to cover up unlawful or abusive behaviour. Against this background, it is perhaps surprising to find that LBWF has used NDAs quite extensively, as the following table demonstrates: Moreover, this has come at a cost, since a significant proportion of these agreements have been accompanied by compensatory payments, with the annu... »

The Mall tower blocks: Stella Creasy raises safety fears with Secretary of State Michael Gove, but there are other big concerns too UPDATED

In the last few weeks, Walthamstow residents have been amused – possibly bemused – by the sudden appearance of a new tower block’s soaring central core right in the middle of the Mall redevelopment scheme (now officially called ‘17&Central’). As the Waltham Forest Echo reports, this startling vision has prompted numerous memes on social media, including ‘King Kong atop the tower’, and a ‘mockup of the structure as the Leaning Tower of Pisa complete with tourists pretending to push it’. All this is undoubtedly entertaining, but there is also a serious side to the story which is well worth telling, provoking as it does questions about finance, safety (most of all, fire safet... »

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