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... »

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... »

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, ... »

Has LBWF come clean about Town Hall asbestos to its employees, as the law demands? The evidence suggests not, and that’s a serious matter

As Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes’ asbestos management investigation limps into its seventh month, so far without any tangible findings, it becomes ever more obvious that one of the major obstacles to him reaching completion is the absence of key evidence that would prove LBWF complied with the law. One revealing illustration of this is some recently unearthed revelations about how LBWF... »

Explainer: the current Waltham Forest Town Hall asbestos scandal in ten bite-sized chunks

1. In 2022, I discovered that a specialist firm, commissioned on behalf of LBWF, had surveyed the Town Hall two years previously, and found that asbestos was present throughout but especially in the basement, with some of this asbestos defined as ‘high risk’, for example in the form of dust. 2. I further discovered that contractors had worked in the basement on three separate occasions between 201... »

After 64 working days, LBWF Director of Governance and Law, Mark Hynes, is still to complete his asbestos inquiry, ratcheting up public unease

In an e-mail of 30 January 2023, LBWF Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes writes: ‘Although I was hoping to have concluded my review into the concerns you raised about asbestos management compliance, the matter is still ongoing. I hope to have concluded matters in the near future and will write to you again at that time’. I first contacted Mr. Hynes about whether LBWF had respected the asbes... »

Has LBWF Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes’ Town Hall asbestos inquiry gone seriously awry?

As previously reported, following my request that LBWF examines whether it may have recently contravened the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012, Director of Governance and Law Mark Hynes is embarked upon an internal investigation, involving ‘a number of officers, former employees of the Council and other third parties’, ‘covering a significant period of time since 2013’, and taking ‘a ... »

Private Eye reports the new LBWF asbestos scandal (2)

From issue 1586, 18/11/22-01/12/22. »

LBWF’s Town Hall asbestos scandal: an update and comment

Local Democracy Reporter Josh Mellor yesterday posted a story on the asbestos scandal under the amusing headline ‘Council investigating itself over former town hall asbestos’, here: What follows is a complementary commentary, looking initially at how my own concerns have developed, before turning to... »

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