LBWF

Documenting Past Failures: (8) the self-defeating silence of Councillor Marie Pye

Shortly after the Independent Panel report, I attended a Community Council meeting, and heard Cllr. Marie Pye vociferously denying any responsibility for the NRF/BNI fiasco. So I wrote her an open letter explaining why I thought she was wrong. Needless to say, in true Waltham Forest style, she never replied. However, to some extent the last laugh is on her, because if you Google ‘Cllr. Marie... »

Documenting Past Failures: (7) The Independent Panel and a ‘scathing’ report on LBWF’s ‘deep-rooted culture of non-compliance with procedures to prevent fraud’.

In mid-2009, the crisis around the BNI finally came to a head. The Council had spent c. £116,000 on a series of seven or eight disparate inquiries into the programme, (Waltham Forest Guardian, 17 June 2009)  culminating in the PwC report, but some were obviously flawed, few convinced, and almost all begged further questions. Negative press coverage continued, as when the Waltham Forest Guardian re... »

Documenting Past Failures: (6) Cllr. Loakes, PwC, and the BNI Community Cohesion Projects

As I have described in the previous post in this series, the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report was a revelation. The figures already recounted tell much of the story. But to get a full picture of the chaos that PwC uncovered, it is necessary to look at some of its unpublished findings on individual BNI files, and there is no better place to start than with the batch concerning ‘community c... »

Documenting Past Failures: (5) The BNI – ‘We’re awfully sorry, folks. Mistakes were made about how we spent millions of pounds of public money. But it’s all in the past. Let’s move forward and forget it’.

By the spring of 2008, the situation with the Better Neighbourhoods Initiative (BNI) programme was becoming untenable. The Council’s Corporate Audit and Anti-Fraud Team had just reported on the Dr. Foster episode, had nearly completed its work on EduAction’s Youth at Risk project, and was chasing new leads.  A consultant’s examination of the BNI which was presented to Cabinet concluded there had b... »

Fred Wigg and John Walsh Towers, again

If you want to understand the tower blocks issue, and why the Council’s plans have aroused such anger from local people, this is worth a listen: https://radiopetedotorg.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/nusound-radio-92fm-260215-fred-john-hsg-mtg.mp3 (courtesy of Pete Day from NuSound Radio 92FM) Given what has happened, is it any wonder that Cann Hall Labour Party, with two councillors present, u... »

LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom and asbestos: the silence continues

Exactly one month ago, Trevor Calver and I wrote LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom the following e-mail:   Dear Mr. Esom, In November 2012, we wrote to you about the potential conflict of interest inherent in concurrently you being chief executive of LBWF and board member of NPS London Ltd.. You told us that you understood the risks, and had taken steps to mitigate them, explaining: ‘I fully r... »

Asbestos matters: John Cryer MP keeps stum, too

John Cryer is a trade union sponsored MP who likes to present himself as a staunch defender of the downtrodden. In April 2014, Mr. Cryer addressed a memorial service in the Town Hall complex to commemorate ‘men killed whilst at work’, in particular those  ‘as young as 16 who have died in and around the borough’. The local press published a picture of him standing outside the Town Hall itself, alon... »

Flying the flag in the face of austerity

A local resident writes: ‘Have you noticed all the Union Jacks now flying in the borough? You might expect a Union Jack at the Town Hall, but do we need them at Leyton Cricket Ground and other such facilities? Alongside running the Council, with all the difficult decisions to be made over cuts to essential services, it would appear that money has been found to put a flagpole and union jack a... »

LBWF, the Local Authority Business Growth Initiative programmes, and the Waltham Forest Business Board, E11 Bid Co., and North London Ltd.

A couple of years ago, I started hearing some very surprising things about Leytonstone’s Business Improvement District (BID) company, the E11 Bid Co.. The allegation, in short, was that the directors of the company had failed to keep proper books and neglected to pay their taxes; run up substantial debts; and as a consequence jeopardised the company’s ‘going concern’ status... »

Asbestos matters: Waltham Forest Council, PR, and keeping stum

So you are an employer who has just been found guilty of breaking the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 – of running your affairs, in other words, in such a way as to endanger your employees and those who visit your premises. What do you do? Publicly apologise? Offer everyone involved some advice and support? Perhaps even take action against those who ... »

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