Nick Tiratsoo's Posts

LBWF Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes releases his asbestos report and finds LBWF to have acted lawfully, but it’s not the final word

In September 2022, I asked the council’s Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, to confirm that, in the period 2015-20, LBWF had managed asbestos in the Town Hall as required by the key piece of legislation, the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (hereafter CAR 2012). I was particularly concerned about the Town Hall basement, where asbestos was known to be most prevalent, and wanted to esta... »

Departing CEO Martin Esom given freedom of the borough, though he was five years in post when LBWF was found to have exposed staff and contractors to asbestos

At the council meeting last week, departing CEO Martin Esom was granted the freedom of the borough. At first sight, many will conclude that he deserves such recognition, having guided the council for nearly thirteen years, albeit paid handsomely for his efforts, c. £200,000 every year, c. £2.6m in all. Yet it is often now overlooked that Mr. Esom had been in post for five years when in 2015 the He... »

The new Office of Local Government launches a tool to compare how councils are performing, and LBWF emerges as one of the laggards

The newly formed Office of Local Government (Oflog) has just launched a tool which shows how English councils are performing in terms of both their near neighbours and the national median. So far, the focus is on adult social care, finance, and waste management, with a total of 18 different metrics tracked. It’s fair to say that LBWF doesn’t come out of this exercise very well, performing below th... »

Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor exposes the botched refurbishment of LBWF’s John Walsh and Fred Wigg towers in Leytonstone

Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor has just published a terrific story in the Waltham Forest Echo about the botched refurbishment of LBWF’s John Walsh and Fred Wigg towers in Leytonstone, which has taken four years and millions of pounds, but for the most part remains incomplete: https://walthamforestecho.co.uk/2023/07/12/montague-road-estate-tenants-accuse-council-of-badly-misman... »

Mr. Hynes asbestos inquiry report is still awaited, though promised for June, and meanwhile LBWF continues to fight off awkward questioning

In various statements made from the end of 2022 onwards, LBWF Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, reiterated that he aimed to complete the report of his asbestos investigation by June 2023. In May 2023, the Leader, Cllr. Grace Williams, backed him up, telling councillors ‘we are expecting the final report imminently’, and elaborating: ‘the Monitoring Officer anticipates [it] will... »

Some councillors seem to have been put on earth purely to entertain us. But are they having the last laugh?

In a recent Waltham Forest Echo story, Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor reports that one of Waltham Forest’s finest, Cllr. Alistair Strathern, is standing for Labour in the eagerly awaited Mid Bedfordshire bye-election, and while a bit hazy about local issues, believes he is an upgrade on the Tory incumbent, Nadine Dorries, because she has been a ‘“part-time M.P”’, presumably a ... »

LBWF spends millions of public money on cycling, but cannot say whether residents as a whole are getting on bikes, or just the better off

In the past few years, LBWF has spent upwards of c. £30m. on cycling infrastructure, while preaching the virtues of cycling at every opportunity.  Indeed, cycling has become an integral part of the borough’s assiduously promoted self-image, alongside artisan coffee, craft beer, independent shops, and ‘the arts’. Accordingly, it’s reasonable to ask: is this policy working? Are more people cycl... »

Local faith in the police plummets to levels lower than elsewhere in London. Why? Probably because too few criminals are being caught!

It is a striking, though often overlooked fact, that Waltham Forest residents’ trust and confidence in the police has not only declined markedly over recent years, but is also comparatively less favourable than in most other London boroughs. What follows looks at the dimensions of this unsatisfactory situation, and then turns to  discuss its possible causes. Local trust and confidence in... »

Town Hall asbestos: now LBWF can’t produce the mandatory health and safety permits issued to the contractors doing vital remedial and removal work

In the period 2015-20, LBWF ostensibly managed Town Hall asbestos on the basis of a 101-page manual, ‘Asbestos Management Procedure For Main Building Walthamstow Town Hall Complex’, jointly produced with the NPS Group. Amongst other things, this contained a chapter headed ‘Audit Records – Permit to Work’, which explained that ‘The Permit To Work…procedure provides a formal control system aimed at ... »

NPS London Ltd. (now re-named Evolve Norse Ltd.) has advised LBWF on managing asbestos since 2007, but does that inspire much confidence?

One organisation that sometimes pops up on the margins of public discussion about how LBWF has managed asbestos in the past few years is NPS London Ltd., recently renamed Evolve Norse Ltd. (so hereafter NPSL/EN) which is a joint venture between – and this gets complicated – LBWF and (via a subsidiary, NPS Property Consultants Ltd.) the national holding company Norse Group Ltd., itself, ... »

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