LBWF spin

LBWF’s plan for a mural in Cann Hall ward threatens to descend into farce – for the second time running UPDATED

In late 2017, Cann Hall Labour councillor Sally Littlejohn led a LBWF initiative to install a £40,000 ‘artwork’ on the dilapidated side-wall of a shop in the centre of the ward – a shop that coincidentally happened to be owned by a prominent family of Labour supporters, the most eminent of whom is Dawn Butler MP, best known in the area for her belief that the public should fund her second home’s j... »

Fire safety scandal (3) is LBWF making it up as it goes along?

I have just sent the e-mail pasted below to LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom. It examines LBWF’s 2017-18 installation of 217 flat entrance doors (FEDs) at Northwood Tower and four sheltered housing blocks, and strongly queries whether this alleged improvement programme was based – as it should have been – upon appropriate smoke and fire tests. The conclusion reached is that LBWF’... »

An interview with Waltham Forest Streets For All

1. To start with, can you say a bit about yourselves? What brought you together? What kind of organisation are you? Where do you draw support from? And how do you finance your activities? Waltham Forest Streets for All is an umbrella organisation for all groups fighting road closures and other transport related issues in the borough. We were formed originally from members of E17StreetsforAll, Our ... »

Fire safety scandal (2): Cllr. Louise Mitchell responds to my statement at the December 2020 full Council about flat entrance doors, admits fraud may have occurred, but otherwise again fails to impress

Pasted below is a letter to me from LBWF Housing Portfolio Holder, Cllr. Louise Mitchell, responding to my statement about fire safety which was read out at the full Council meeting on 3 December 2020 (and was previously posted here, see the attached link). What she writes certainly requires further comment. Her letter concerns the 217 flat entrance doors (FEDs) which in 2017-18 were installed at ... »

Fire safety scandal (1): recently disclosed e-mail reveals industry expert’s warning that the LBWF specification for flat entrance doors on its estates prioritised ‘design’ over ‘compliance’, thus potentially ‘endangering lives’.

For ordinary Waltham Forest residents, how LBWF tenders and completes fire safety contracts is typically opaque, because so much is shielded from scrutiny by commercial confidentiality clauses and arms’ length transactions delivered through third parties, both outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act. However, an e-mail that has just surfaced provides a fascinating, and unexpectedly rev... »

LBWF’s Internal Audit and Anti-Fraud Team investigates Town Hall procurement of goods and services, and finds disturbing ‘non-compliance with existing Rules’

In late 2019, LBWF’s Internal Audit and Anti-Fraud Team (hereafter IAAFT) completed a report on Town Hall procurement, and surprisingly, given the fact that each year this involves many millions of pounds’ worth of goods and services, concluded that it was only deserving of ‘limited assurance’, with two of the five component findings about risk rated ‘high’ (‘Key targets missed, some service... »

LBWF and its Freedom of Information Act failings: now the Information Commissioner’s Office directly intervenes UPDATED

Past posts have covered LBWF’s increasingly unsatisfactory record in handling Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiries – its delays, illegitimate evasions, ignorance of the legal framework, and so on. However, at last there is some good news, because the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) is to meet with LBWF Chief Executive, Martin Esom, shortly to discuss ‘the numerous [ICO] decision notices ... »

LBWF ‘communication’ with local residents: the yawning gap between rhetoric and reality

As this blog has previously reported, though LBWF stridently declares that it wants to ‘communicate’ with residents, even help them become ‘active citizens’, able to drive policy, what transpires on the ground is often very different. Communication turns out to be a one-way street, while those who raise issues that are at odds with LBWF’s rosy self-image find themselves studiously ignored. To furt... »

LBWF, Mini-Holland, and air quality: the King’s College Environmental Research Group report and its frailties

Acknowledgement: I am very grateful to Steve Lowe for drawing my attention to the subject of this post, providing important source material, and making helpful suggestions right the way though the drafting process. In the early summer of 2018, LBWF commissioned the much respected Environmental Research Group based at King’s College London [hereafter KCERG] to ‘model a range of interventions around... »

London Borough of Waltham Forest: the local authority that can’t even finalise its annual accounts (2)

Mystery continues about the fate of LBWF’s 2018-19 externally audited annual accounts. As a previous post outlined, these were due on 31 July 2019, so that they could be signed off by the Audit and Governance Committee, but the auditor, Ernst and Young LLP, was tardy in starting work; then became entangled in ‘historical audit issues‘, possibly dating to as far back as 2007; and in the end was for... »

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