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Waltham Forest Council

Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things - Peter Drucker


Waltham Forest Council needs to connect with its many marginalised communities, some indigenous, others recently arrived. Council urgently needs a long term vision for its education and training strategy to replace the current political battleground of different ideologies, values and visions. wfcw
WF leader Cllr Coghill

COUNCIL NEWS FAIZAN-E-ISLAM
HIV/AIDS ISSUES WF BUSINESS

COUNCIL AWARDS TOWN TWINNING
ASBESTOS EMD CINEMA
OLYMPICS KEIR
LEGACY MINI HOLLAND
WILLIAM MORRIS TRAINING/SKILLS
TRANSPARENCY COHESION
E11 BID O'REGEN
DOG STADIUM WF PARKS
COUNCIL'S PRAVDA SCRUTINY
HOUSING LIVING
DISABILITY CSE
CHILDREN  
GENTRIFICATION HOUSING
STELLA CREASY MP WF PENSION FUND
Nutshell Waltham Forest Council, in brief
TPAIn 2011 the council pension deficit, according to TaxPayers' Alliance had risen to £ -346,550,000, which amounts to £1,526 per head of population in Waltham Forest.
A total UK £54 billion black hole in council pension schemes revealed.
CLaSS2012 - Council refuse to reveal details of what happened to Waltham Forest teachers pensions in 2004.
Cllr PyeCllr Marie Pye, Waltham Forest’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing:: “Getting into the Stonewall Top 100 is great news for Waltham Forest and a real testament to our commitment towards making the organisation as open and inclusive as possible. Stella CreasyStella Creasy, Labour and Co-operative MP for Walthamstow.
Call to Action: Women in Walthamstow and access to sexual healthcare service.
Walthamstow has some of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy in the country.
Ofsted2011 - Annual assessment of children's services
WALTHAM Forest Council's children and young people services department is one of the worst in the country, according to watchdog Ofsted.
The borough is one of just 15 that are performing "poorly" and does not meet minimum requirements.
HPA 2007 - Waltham Forest - The number of persons living with HIV was among the highest in the country.
This may be a reflection of the local population, which may have a high percentage of persons in at risk groups, such as men who have sex with men and people who have recently emigrated from countries with high rates of HIV.

Shooting the messenger: the 'chilling effect' of criminalising journalism
23 Jun 2018
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At a time when journalists have never been more needed to explain the complexities of an increasingly integrated world, they have never been more under threat: jailed in increasing numbers by some of the more authoritarian administrations, threatened with prosecution in the countries which have democratic governments
Several of our councillors have close links with the young ethnic community which they represent.
What are they doing to counter the gang culture that is ruining many young lives, to include them within our mainstream society?
Several of our councillors have close links with the Muslim community, which they represent..
What are they doing to counter the radicalisation of our young Muslim youth, to include them within our mainstream society?
All our councillors represent and have links with young NEET residents.
What are they doing to encourage language and skills training to increase the chance of their finding work?
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Candidates stand in all 20 Waltham Forest wards - 19 April 2018
A left wing council advised by a right wing government to tackle segregation
Waltham Forest Council - 2018 Government's plan - 2018
wfcw wfcwGovernment launch plan to tackle racial inequality in 'hotspot' borough Waltham Forest
11 October 2017
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Waltham Forest is one of 20 areas across the UK where measures will be taken to tackle racial inequalities under new government plans.
Mentoring schemes and traineeships for people from ethnic minority backgrounds aged 16 to 24 could be introduced in the borough under measures announced by Prime Minister Theresa May.

wfcwGovernment tells Waltham Forest to tackle segregation

14 March 2018
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Waltham Forest Cuncil in London has been told it must adopt new integration plans to deal with problems of segregation. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, launching a consultation paper on the plan, said Britain "cannot ignore the fact that in too many parts of our country, communities are divided".
New measures will include the provision of more English-speaking classes, running conversation clubs, promoting British values in school curriculums and creating more opportunities, particularly for women.

wfcwRoss Wyld Care Home in Walthamstow closes
17 April 2018
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Alan Lazarus was left “completely flabbergasted” by the news that Ross Wyld Care Home in Walthamstow’s Forest Road will shut on June 30 when the lease expires.
There are 47 pensioners living at the premises, 21 who are funded by the Waltham Forest Council, and 72 people are employed there.
wfcwWaltham Forest council accused of not being "transparent"
2 May 2018
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Waltham Forest Council has been accused of not being “transparent” because 95 per cent of its councillors are exempt from declaring interests.
Elected officials are supposed to declare their interests when voting on new policies – but 59 of the boroughs 62 councillors do not have to do this.
While they are not allowed to vote on those policies, they are under no obligation to explain why.
This is because they signed up to a scheme under the Localism Act 2011, which means they can opt out of this rule.
However there is no way to police whether councillors are voting on things they are not supposed to be.
wfcwWaltham Forest Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA)
Children’s Healthy Weight
2017/18
JSNA 2017/18 Children’s Healthy Weight.pdf (1.3 MB)
The Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) aims to improve the health and wellbeing of the local community and reduce inequalities for all ages.
The JSNA provides a snapshot of health needs in the borough. For this reason it is anticipated to be “live” document, with various thematic strands of health metrics and measures of wider determinants to be examined. Content will be examined through topic area “deep dives” and updated on the website on an ongoing basis.
The borough is currently developing a specific website for the JSNA. Content for this year’s refresh of the JSNA will be ported to the JSNA website upon it going live.
wfcwToo many people live in fear of domestic violence, Clare Coghill
3 March 2018
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As the first female leader of Waltham Forest Council, I have made it my mission to champion the generations of women who have struggled for equality.
I was thrilled to mark the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage by having the Town Hall lit purple in solidarity with those brave women who fought for the right to vote.
They are an inspiration to us all and I will endeavour to continue their legacy and do everything I can to push for true equality and better life chances for women and girls in our borough.
wfcwCampaign to stamp out sexual harassment and domestic violence launched by Waltham Forest Council
8 March 2018
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To mark International Women's Day, Waltham Forest Council has launched a new domestic violence campaign.
Working with domestic abuse services and Women’s Aid England, the ‘Ask Me’ initiative will appoint volunteer ambassadors from the community.
Ambassadors will raise awareness of domestic abuse and give advice to victims, pointing them towards local services that provide further support.
Training courses will be provided by the council for all volunteers.
It is hoped the scheme will create an environment where victims feel safe to open up about their experiences.
wfcwWaltham Forest Council launches text message service to report sexual harassment
10 March 2018
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Women who have been sexually harassed in the street can now get help from a dedicated text service.
Those who have been wolf whistled, cat called, groped, followed or photographed without permission in Waltham Forest can report incidents by texting 61016 and will receive advice and support.
The service was introduced by Waltham Forest council and was launched on International Women’s Day on Thursday.
On the same day neighbourhood officers, residents and students took to the streets to hand out flyers to raise awareness about sexual harassment
wfcwMayor hosts Waltham Forest's first ever youth summit
7th February 2018
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Young people across Waltham Forest came together to discuss the issues that matter to them at the borough’s first ever youth summit.
Hosted by Mayor Cllr Yemi Osho at Waltham Forest College last Thursday (February 1), students discussed challenges facing the area that were affecting their lives and explored solutions.
The event was attended by young people from Kelmscott School, Sir George Monoux College, Leyton Sixth form, Waltham Forest College and others.
Cllr Osho said: “It’s great to see so many young people participating in discussions regarding issues and challenges they face.
wfcwWaltham Forest, where one in four people do not speak English as first language, given £1m for community cohesion
9 November 2017
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A borough where one if four people do not speak English as their first language has been given a £1 million grant to boost community cohesion.
Waltham Forest Council will receive the money to fund language classes and events to bring newcomers and long-term residents together.
Council leader Clare Coghill said: “I am delighted that we have been able to secure this money from central Government.
wfcwGovernment launch plan to tackle racial inequality in 'hotspot' borough Waltham Forest
11 October 2017
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Waltham Forest is one of 20 areas across the UK where measures will be taken to tackle racial inequalities under new government plans.
Mentoring schemes and traineeships for people from ethnic minority backgrounds aged 16 to 24 could be introduced in the borough under measures announced by Prime Minister Theresa May today (Tuesday, October 10)..
wfcwOlympic effect' sees property price per foot skyrocket in Waltham Forest
9 October 2017
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The average price of a home in Waltham Forest now costs nearly £500 per square foot- almost double the figure from five years ago.
A property in the borough is now typically priced at £498 per square foot, a 84 per cent increase on the £271 per square foot the average home cost in the area in 2012.
The new figures, collected by property website Zoopla, found the only London borough where house prices are growing faster than Waltham Forest is Newham, which saw an 86 per cent price hike.
wfcwDisgraced former Labour councillor and ex-Ukipper makes sensational return with the Tories
28 June 2017
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Afzal Akram is making a sensational return as Tory candidate in the upcoming William Morris by-election after leaving the Labour party in disgrace and joining Ukip the following year.
Tomorrow’s by-election was triggered by the sudden death of Councillor Nadeem Ali last month.
In 2013, Waltham Forest council found Mr Akram guilty of trying to fix a controversial planning application by influencing a member of the planning committee.
wfcwPlans to transform Walthamstow Town Hall site into modern neighbourhood given go-ahead
20 June 2017
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AMBITIOUS plans to transform a town hall campus into a “hub for the whole community” have been passed by a council.
Walthamstow Town Hall site will be home to a new neighbourhood with apartment blocks, retail units and healthcare services. The plans were approved at a cabinet meeting of Waltham Forest Council on Tuesday, June 20.
wfcwFormer Waltham Forest council leader Chris Robbins receives CBE in Queen's birthday honours
19 June 2017
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Chris Robbins, who stood down as the council’s leader last month after seven years at the helm, will receive a CBE for public service.
He served as a councillor in the borough since 2002 and also spent time as the council’s cabinet member for lifelong learning and cabinet member for children and young people.
He said: “I am delighted to receive this award not only for myself and my family but as recognition of Waltham Forest council’s achievements and its growing reputation across London.”
wfcwLabour MP Stella Creasy says Britain wants 'different direction' after landslide win in Walthamstow
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The landslide victory means the 40-year-old now has one of the largest majorities of any MP across the UK.
Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy says voters have called for the country to move in a “different direction” after she was re-elected with a huge majority on a good night for Labour.
Speaking after results had been announced, Ms Creasy said: “I think it’s safe to say that many of us who have been involved in politics for some years, everyone single year of our country’s life gets different and who knows quite what tomorrow will leave for all of us
“But certainly the result here in Walthamstow and across the country show that Britain is actually speaking up for something different
“They are saying they want a different direction for this country, they want a different direction for our community
Ms Creasy added: “It is incredibly overwhelming for Walthamstow to have spoken out in that way, I genuinely feel emotional about it.
“I would like to thank everyone that voted for me and everyone who voted for each candidate as we have upheld the democratic process. “I am proud of my constituents and proud to represent them in Parliament.”
wfcwStella Creasy in stinging attack on Momentum group over deselection row
24 March 2016
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Labour star Stella Creasy today accused people in the Corbyn-backing Momentum group of trying to control “the levers of power” to deselect her party’s MPs.
Ms Creasy was listed as “hostile” to Jeremy Corbyn in a leaked loyalty list, and her supporters have clashed with left-wingers in her local party. Left-wingers took key positions in her local party and she faced a major protest after voting in favour of air-strikes in Syria

wfcw'Is this what the Walthamstow Labour Party 'hard left' has come to?
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4 August 2015

Stella Creasy and Jeremy Corbyn are very unlikely bedfellows.
She's standing to be deputy leader of the Labour Party but, in a personal and provocative piece, Stella Creasy says that it's time women stopped fighting sexism politely - and stepped up to run the world
wfcwCouncil leader calls for unity in wake of 'horrendous' terrorist attack in London Bridge
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Cllr Clare Coghill, leader of Waltham Forest Council has called for unity in the wake of last weekend’s terrorist attack in London.
She paid tribute to the police and paramedics who responded to the incident in London Bridge on Saturday night.
Seven people were killed and 48 injured when three men drove a van into pedestrians before crashing near a pub and stabbing several people.
Cllr Coghill said: “We would like to offer our condolences to the people caught up in Saturday night’s horrendous terrorist attack at London Bridge. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families.
wfcwMuslim woman 'attacked' at Walthamstow polling station for wearing Labour sticker on hijab
8 June 2017
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A political campaigner has been the victim of an “Islamophobic hate crime” for wearing a Labour party sticker on her hijab, according to Stella Creasy.
Ms Creasy, the Labour candidate for Walthamstow condemned the “attack to her 20,000 followers.   
She had just returned from campaigning in Ilford North when she heard a member of her Labour team was attacked at a polling station in Walthamstow.
She said: “That kind of attack has no place in British democracy, has no sense of the values behind our democracy.
wfcwCommons Select Committee calls for review on Mini-Holland
5 April 2017
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In its report last week, the Women and Equalities Committee said current schemes which aim to improve pedestrian experience, need to address the concerns of disabled people.
Waltham Forest council was given about £30 million to introduce Mini-Holland as part of then mayor Boris Johnson’s plan to bring his “cycling revolution” to the outer London boroughs.
Part of the sweeping road changes include the blended ‘Copenhagen’ crossings, which the council claims to “reinforce the highway code” by encouraging cars to give way to pedestrians and slow down as they enter or exit side roads.
In the 200-page report, the committee throws doubt over the council’s notion that crossings are making walking “safe and enjoyable”.
It states: “Shared spaces schemes are a source of concern to many disabled people across the country, particularly features such as the removal of controlled crossings and kerbs and inconsistency.”
In concluding, the committee recommended the Government “urgently replace the 2011 guidance on shared spaces and ensure that the new guidance is clearly founded on an inclusive design approach”.
It stated: “In the meantime, the Government should require local authorities to call a halt to new shared space schemes and to review existing schemes, in partnership with local disabled people.”
Responding to the committee’s call for a full review, cllr Clyde Loakes said: "I see no reason to halt our work in Waltham Forest as a consequence of this report, as we continue to abide by and follow existing legislation and guidance."
wfcwNew Repair Café to open in Leytonstone
https://www.walthamforest.gov.uk/content/new-repair-caf%C3%A9-open-leytonstone  
A Repair Café in Leytonstone is opening its doors this month, giving residents the opportunity to get their electrical items, clothes and bikes fixed by trained professionals for free. There will also be free advice on how to upcycle furniture and clothes.
The Repair Café will be located at St John the Baptist Church, Leytonstone (E11 1HB) and will take place on the third Saturday of each month, from 11am to 2pm. The first will take place on Saturday 22 April.
Waltham Forest Council is organising the Repair Cafes, in partnership with The Restart Project, Traid, Shed Homewares and Dr Bike. As well as carrying out repairs the experts will also provide free demonstrations and advice so residents can pick up some basic repair and upcycling skills in a relaxed setting.
The Church café will be open during the events so residents can enjoy some tea, coffee and cake while their items are being fixed.
For more information email mcdu@walthamforest.gov.uk
wfcwGun crime soars by 51 per cent in Waltham Forest
13 April 2017
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Scotland Yard registered annual rises across a number of serious offence categories in Waltham Forest over the past 12 months.
GUN crime offences in Waltham Forest have surged by 51 per cent in the last year, according to Scotland Yard. 
Knife crime offences resulting in an injury also increased, by 22 per cent to 155 from 2016 to 2017
wfcwREVEALED: The shocking scale of council 'fat cats' earning over 100k
11 April 2017
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THE STAGGERING number of council staff raking in over £100,000 for jobs in town halls across east London and Essex has been revealed.
The Taxpayers’ Alliance released its annual Town Hall Rich List today, which looks at the salaries of council officers from across the country in the 2015/16 financial year. During that period, Waltham Forest council paid nine employees over £100,000 and its chief executive, Martin Esom, a tidy £195,000. To put it in perspective, that’s nearly £40,000 more than Prime Minister Theresa May’s £150,402 yearly salary.
John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “When local residents are struggling with tax rises, taxpayers will rightly question whether paying such enormous amounts in top boss pay can be justified.
"The average council tax bill has gone up by more than £900 over the last twenty years and spending has gone through the roof. "Disappointingly, many local authorities are now responding to financial reality through further tax rises and reducing services rather than scaling back top pay.”
wfcw Council leader Chris Robbins to step down in May 2017
16 December 2016
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After being leader of Waltham Forest council since 2009 , Chris Robbins, who has led the local authority for almost eight years, will step away from the role in May 2017
He said: “I am very proud to have led this council for the past eight years and strongly believe the Council has achieved a great deal since 2009.
Council chief executive, Martin Esom, said: “Chris has been an outstanding Leader for Waltham Forest with his roots firmly placed in the borough he loves.
wfcwClare Coghill will become leader of Waltham Forest council in May after Labour group vote
7 January 2017

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Clare Coghill will become leader of Waltham Forest council in May after she was elected as the new chief of the borough’s Labour group.
She will now become the first female council leader in the history of Waltham Forest and one of only eight women leading local authorities across London.
Cllr Coghill will take over from current leader Chris Robbins, who announced he would step down from the role last month after almost eight years in the top job.
Cllr Robins will remain leader until May, when Cllr Coghill will be nominated and formally confirmed as the new leader at the council’s AGM.
wfcwThe council has backtracked over plans to cut council tax support
1 December 2016
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Waltham Forest council has made a U-turn on plans to cut council tax support for some of the borough’s poorest residents.
As a result of a survey, council officers have now recommended keeping the council tax support cap at 76 per cent.
The scheme had come under criticism from Waltham Forest Trades Council, which described it as “an unjustified attack on the poorest” living in the borough.
wfcwSadiq Khan says Mini-Holland is bringing 'Mediterranean cafe style' to Walthamstow
1 November 2016
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Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, speaking to small business owners at Central Parade in Hoe Street, Walthamstow.
Khan has defended the Mini-Holland cycling scheme, saying it has introduced a “Mediterranean café style” in Waltham Forest.
Sadiq Khan visited Central Parade in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, to show his support for the small business enterprise which opened last summer.  He says the Mini-Holland, which has seen roads in Walthamstow closed to motorists to allow cyclists to pass through, is an "important" way to combat pollution.
wfcw‘Mini Holland’ scheme in Walthamstow hailed as major success as traffic falls by half
8 November 2016
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Campaigners have called for “mini Holland” walking and cycling schemes to be introduced in towns across Britain after the first London pilot scheme produced dramatic results.
Traffic levels in 12 key roads in the “village” area of Walthamstow fell by 56 per cent, or 10,000 fewer vehicles a day, Waltham Forest council has told residents.
The results sparked calls for other cities and towns, including Manchester, and other parts of the capital, such as Southwark, to follow suit.
wfcwAdditional sexual health clinics among changes proposed by council
12 September 2016
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Changes to sexual health services that will see extra clinics set up have been proposed.
The sexual health clinic at Whipps Cross Hospital will be merged with those in Newham and Tower Hamlets and relocated to Stratford and Whitechapel.
Initially there will be one clinic operating in Waltham Forest with the aim of introducing one in Walthamstow, Chingford and Leytonstone/Leyton further down the line.
Plans to enable people to order sexually transmitted infection kits online have also been proposed by Waltham Forest Council.
A drop-in session will be held on Tuesday, October 20, at Waltham Forest Town Hall from 4.30pm to 6.30pm.
wfcw Cllr Khevyn Limbajee is being investigated by the council over alleged argument on Twitter
September 2016
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A SENIOR Waltham Forest councillor has been reported over an alleged Twitter spat with claims he abused a member of the public.
Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, who sits on the local authority’s cabinet as portfolio member for housing, was subject to a complaint at the beginning of last month. The complainant claims in July, Cllr Limbajee got into a row online with a resident of the Marlowe Road estate in Walthamstow, which is currently undergoing controversial regeneration work.
Cllr Limbajee’s account has since been deleted from the social networking site, as the council decides whether the tweets breached its code of conduct.
wfcwDrug dealing gangs  in Waltham Forest
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12 September 2016
Lucida Court neighbours say they are ‘petrified’ of drug dealing gangs and binge drinkers trespassing in their building. They say children as young as nine from surrounding areas are coming to Lucida Court in Papermill Place, Walthamstow, to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol.
The estate is owned by East Thames housing group and neighbours say the company have ignored their pleas for increased security.
One member of the Residents against Anti-social Behaviour group who did not want to be named said he finds used condoms scattered around his building. He said: “They are coming in and urinating, defecating, having sex and drinking in the buildings. “There’s literally young kids having sex and they’re leaving behind condoms.
wfcwWaltham Forest councillors back Owen Smith in Labour leadership race
19 August 2016
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Eleven Waltham Forest councillors have signed a letter backing Owen Smith to become leader of the Labour Party.
Signatories from Waltham Forest include council leader Chris Robbins and cabinet members Clare Coghill, Grace Williams, Angie Bean and Stuart Emmerson.   The six other councillors to sign the letter were Alistair Strathern, Mark Rusling, Peter Barnett, Simon Miller, Marie Pye and Paul Douglas.
The letter, posted in full on the Labour List website, calls on party members to back Mr Smith because "this is the only path forward to a Labour government".
It praises the former shadow work and pensions secretary for displaying the "tenacity and skill to advance the cause of working people" but goes even further and suggests he is the only person capable of unifying the party.
wfcwJeremy Corbyn visits supporters in Walthamstow ahead of Labour leadership vote
23 August 2016
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Jeremy Corbyn met campaigners running a phone bank at the Ghousia Community Centre yesterday evening (Monday, August 22).
Addressing supporters at the community centre, he said the leadership contest "wasn't what we wanted to be doing this summer" but he was determined to fight to ensure Labour moved forward.
wfcwBoris supports Waltham Forest, again
£1.1m to be invested in E17 area after Mayor of London funding secured

25 January 2015
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A total of £1.1million is set to be invested into an area of Walthamstow after funding was secured. Waltham Forest council announced the news today (January 25) about its successful funding bid from the Mayor of London for the Blackhorse Lane area of Walthamstow.
Gentrification
wfcwA Labour government will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020
January 2016
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If home ownership is to be a realistic aspiration for working people, and if rents are to be affordable, then we need a step change in the scale of house building in this country.
Labour has a plan to make this happen.
wfcwWe will get 200,000 homes built a year by 2020. This will close the gap between the number of homes we build and the number of homes we need, as well as providing up to 230,000 jobs in construction.
wfcwWe will unblock the supply of new homes by giving local authorities "use it or lose it" powers over developers who hoard land that has planning permission so that they can sell it on for a bigger profit, instead of building on it now.
wfcwWe will deliver a new generation of New Towns and Garden Cities, and give a new "right to grow" to communities who want to expand but are blocked by neighbouring local authorities.
wfcwWe will tackle empty homes by giving councils more power to charge higher rates of council tax on empty properties, and ensure new homes are advertised in the UK first, not overseas.
wfcwCare home providers  Jennifer Khan and Adam Khan presented with Investors in People award
29 December 2015
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Forest Residential Care Homes Ltd, a group of homes specialising in care for people with mental health problems, was presented with an Investor in People award.
The award recognises the company's investment in its staffs' training, development and promotional opportunities.
wfcwWaltham Forest has over twice the national average of sufferers of the HIV virus.
20 November 2015
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Barts Health and Waltham Forest council have joined forces to mark European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week, offering a free and confidential health screening in Walthamstow town centre to improve early detection and minimise the risk of people spreading the diseases.
The disturbing stats give the borough a HIV prevalence of 4.8 per thousand people, aged between 15 and 59 years, compared to the national average of 2.1 per thousand.
In the first three months of 2015, 500 people contacted HIV charity Positive East.
wfcwInvestigation uncovers ISIS sympathising women meeting in council-owned centre
25 November 2015
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The Asian Centre in Orford Road, a council owned community centre, is being used by a group of ISIS sympathising women. 
 
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wfcwJust who do they think they are? You pay their wages. But the so-called public servants who run councils, the NHS and police are uniting to keep you in the dark about their greed, incompetence and corruption
10 December 2015
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Public sector bureaucrats yesterday united in a ‘sinister’ attempt to crush the public’s right to know about scandals in the NHS, police, town halls and education.
The bosses – paid billions by the taxpayer – made a series of extraordinary claims that elderly care and children’s services would suffer unless the Freedom of Information Act is curbed.
The Local Government Association, which represents councils across the country, said the ‘overwhelming’ view of its members is the ‘burden’ of FoI should be reduced.
Oxfordshire County Council went so far as to claim that, unless the cost to the council is reduced, it will ‘risk the diversion away from the provision of essential services
wfcwWarning: taxpayers may be forced to bail out councils such as Waltham Forest due to 'weak' pension funds.
19 December 2014
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The Centre for Policy Studies has highlighted the authority is in danger of being unable to meet its liabilities, raising the possibility of a bail-out by taxpayers.
Michael Johnson, Centre for Policy studies: “Indeed, some funds may already be beyond the point of no return. This is partly the result of dismally incompetent governance.”
wfcwIn March 2011, in response to questions , Martin Esom, Council's Chief Executive said:
"In terms of the financial statements of what happened to the CLaSS teachers' pensions in 2004, we have taken legal advice and the Council cannot disclose this information to you.   The statements are confidential and will contain personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 and it would not be in accordance with the data principles under the Act to disclose this information to you. Further, this would exempt disclosure under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000."
>> more on pensions <<  
 
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Olympic Park Legacy, July 2015 Waltham Forest Legacy, Sept 2013
wfcw Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
London's new Park is open and free to explore!
July 2015
http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/
Work on the Olympic Park is ongoing.  A business park with industry and offices is being developed.  It takes up a huge area - across the unused land from near the Westfield Stratford City pedestrian access to the stadium to almost Timber Café.  The Financial Conduct Authority and Transport for London (TfL) are among those moving there.
wfcwExperts call for public help on economy
26th September 2013
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A commission hired to help devise a growth plan for Waltham Forest’s economy is asking the public for ideas. Led by Professor Tony Travers of the London School of Economics.
The commission is tasked with finding out why the borough has one of London’s smallest economies.
>> more on Business News <<
nutshellmore on the Olympic Legacy
wfcw Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
London's new Park is open and free to explore!
http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/

Download Park Map
Work on the Olympic Park is ongoing.  A business park with industry and offices is being developed.  It takes up a huge area - across the unused land from near the Westfield Stratford City pedestrian access to the stadium to almost Timber Café.  The Financial Conduct Authority and Transport for London (TfL) are among those moving there.

The Victoria and Albert Museum, which is playing a key role in plans for a brand new higher education and cultural quarter on the Park, will be housed on the Stratford Waterfront, opposite the London Aquatics Centre, as well as a Sadler’s Wells dance studio and a new campus for the London University of Arts.

Already in operation at the former Communications Centre are a large number of small and micro IT and craft businesses, plus BT Sport TV

Three more schools, a boutique hotel  and more health facilities are to be built on the park site

A new college for mature students has recently opened just outside the Olympic Park.  Birkbeck College (also for mature students) opened a year ago in the Stratford cultural centre where Theatre Royal is located.  A building craft college exists as does a school for hospitality and catering around the Westfield site.

The legacy dream is only just off the starting block. There is much to come.  And we hear that the owners of Westfield are submitting a planning application for 1,200 more homes – in addition to the thousands already in the pipeline – and an expanded shopping centre.

The Olympic Park project is expected to deliver 3,000 jobs and 1.5 million additional visitors to the Park. with an anticipated completion date of 2020/21.

 
wfcwNew partnership of north-east London councils hopes 'to deliver real change' for residents
27 July 2015
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The local authorities in the north-east of London have formed an official partnership which it is hoped will “deliver real change” for residents. The focus of the North East London Strategic Alliance (NELSA) will be on how best to deliver new homes, jobs, improved skills, transportation and better public services.
NELSA was formally established on Thursday (23 July) at Eastbury Manor House in Barking.
Chair of NELSA and Waltham Forest’s Council Leader Chris Robbins said: “NELSA brings together six boroughs that are perfectly-placed to put forward a clear vision for north-east London and set future
.It will lead proposals for devolution of public services in Redbridge, Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, Greenwich, Hackney, Newham and Tower Hamlets
Comment

mdj says... 27 Jul 15
How interesting that they have nothing to say about why we had no chance to vote on this, or how this might increase peoples' power over their own lives.
If six boroughs are reaching collective decisions, each resident's voting power has been diluted by five-sixths.

There may be organisational and purchasing gains to be had, but to ignore the losses is a worrying sign.

The fewer the heads involved in a policy decision, the easier it is to influence it by corruption.
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wfcw2014 - 'Abusers Charter' published in Waltham Forest
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As Corporate Parents, Councillors decide that Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on them would breach the Data Protection Act 1998.
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wfcwDBS Checks for Councillors
17 July 2014
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3.1.The legal framework for criminal records checks seeks to balance two competing but legitimate interests: the rehabilitation of offenders and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. The law is also very complex and controversial, as the decision where balance between safeguarding and individual privacy and freedoms is a matter of political and public debate
wfcwWaltham Forest has the highest proportion of temporary staff looking after vulnerable children in England.
13 January 2015
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Waltham Forest social services, rated inadequate in 2012, cares for 250 children. Currently, almost half of borough's social worker posts unfilled
Vulnerable children under the care of Waltham Forest council could be at risk as permanent social worker positions remain unfilled, it is claimed.
According to figures released last month, 45 per cent of such posts in the borough are carried out by temporary workers – the largest vacancy rate in England.
The national average is 11 per cent, with 28 per cent of positions unfilled in Rochdale where dozens of girls were the victims of child sexual exploitation in recent years.
The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has warned that unfilled posts are compromising vulnerable chidren’s safety
wfcwWaltham Forest council continues failing children at risk of abuse in all safeguarding categories
21 January 2015
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Vulnerable children in Waltham Forest are still not being properly protected by the council, more than three years after it was found to have one of the worst children services departments in the country, inspectors have said.  A damning report by Ofsted found the authority continues to fail to meet minimum requirements in all safeguarding categories.
Work to protect missing children, or those at risk of being sexually abused, was found not to be properly co-ordinated, although it had been given greater priority since the last inspection.
wfcwWaltham Forest leads the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation.
2 September 2014
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Joint statement by chief superintendant Collins and council chief executive Martin Esom:: "Waltham Forest is one of three London boroughs leading the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation cases, thanks to a commitment made by the borough’s police and council to work together to tackle the issue.
Both the council and police have refused to say whether CSE is a problem affecting a particular section of the community

Comment!
mdj says...
'chief executive Martin Esom said: "Waltham Forest is one of three London boroughs leading the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation cases..'
One wouldn't have thought that Mr Esom was up to spin of this subtlety, so well done! In his book, the worse the picture, the better it proves that the authorities are aware of the problem!



wfcw Reports of child sexual exploitation inWaltham Forest second highest in London
2 September 2014
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Up to March this year, the borough had the most CSE referrals in the capital, but has recently fallen into second place.   
 Between May 2013 and July 31 this year, there were 17 reports of CSE in Waltham Forest, compared to a London average of eight.  
Reports of child sex abuse encompass a whole range of crimes, including receiving something in exchange for sexual activity, child grooming, trafficking, child-forced marriage, pornography, indecent exposure and female genital mutilation (FGM).
wfcwLeytonstone couple on the run from their Leytonstone home after admitting role in child sex ring
2 June 2016
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Two members of a child sex ring are on the run after they were convicted in absence of abusing girls who were plied with booze and legal highs. Paul Silverthorn, 35, and lover Leila Kassam, 31, both of Mornington Road, Leytonstone, had sex with a 15-year-old after she was introduced to them by 20-year-old “fixer” Daniel Trinnaman.
Silverthorn stifled her screams with a ball gag and tied her to a bed after she was given the legal high '5 NEO' at a party at a flat in Coventry House, Haymarket. Kassam then molested the girl for Silverthorn's gratification, Blackfriars Crown Court heard.
wfcwOfsted warning to councils: Local authorities had been too slow to face up to their responsibilities around preventing child sex abuse.
19 November 2014
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Organised child abuse 'widespread.'  Vulnerable children in England are at risk of sexual exploitation and abuse because of failings by councils, the education watchdog has warned. 
The report - called The sexual exploitation of children: it couldn't happen here, could it? - was commissioned by the chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw.
Ofsted said local authorities had been too slow to face up to their responsibilities around preventing abuse in their area.  Plans to tackle the problem at local levels were "underdeveloped", while leadership was "frequently lacking."
wfcwChild grooming occurs 'in every town', charity says
31 December 2014 
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Young people are currently being groomed in "every town" in Britain, according to Parents Against Child Sexual Exploitation. (Pace)  "Thousands" of children are affected and police forces lack skills to deal with such abuse.
A report into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham found at least 1,400 children were abused over two decades.
The National Child Protection Working Group says police are dealing with an "unprecedented" number of abuse cases.
The National Child Protection Working Group says police are dealing with an "unprecedented" number of abuse cases.
 
Cllr Karen Bellamy resigns
wfcwCllr Karen Bellamy, cabinet member for child and family poverty resigns
22 May 2015
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Cllr Bellamy, cabinet member with child and family poverty responsibility, resigned after council’s decision on the Pool and Track in Walthamstow
wfcw Children's Services Ofsted report
10 November 2011
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Ofsted assessed the children and young people services department as one of the worst in the country.
The report continued: The borough is performing "poorly" and does not meet minimum requirements.
IMPROVEMENT NOTICE
nutshellComment - Cllr Karen Bellamy's resignation
>> more on the Childrens' Services <<  
ICapesy,   29 May 2015 says...

Cllr Karen Bellamy did not get sacked. She resigned on a point of principle in support of long term users of the Pool & Track. Local club users and the voiceless general public including many of our young people have been totally let down by LBWF Leisure Services and Greenwich Leisure Limited. The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and the Council Leader have presided over the loss of valued Waltham Forest facility to neighbouring Newham.

As usual deals were done behind closed doors with zero local stakeholder consultation. The net effect is that a £23m sports centre rebuild has lost valuable pre-existing features. This council have allowed their preferred leisure management provider GLL aka Better to dictate the provision of facility. The end result is that a regional sports facility built in 1966 by the far sighted City fathers of the new borough to serve Waltham Forest, wider North East London and West Essex will become little more than a municipal Bannatynes under the watch of Cllr Robbins.

Waltham Forest residents could have had it so much better. The GLL tail has been wagging the LBWF dog. The total lack of scrutiny by those who should have been defending local interests is nothing less than scandalous. Only junior Cabinet member Karen Bellamy had the integrity to stand up against this travesty of local government mis-management to the bitter end. Given her very visible and public stance for a long time on this issue she was certainly not actively seeking promotion from the Leader. Therefore promotion was hardly denied her.

Karen had long known what the cost of supporting genuine long term local grassroots users against council Leisure Services, Greenwich Leisure Limited and the so called Strong Leader would be. I am very happy to second the comments of James O’Rourke, Cllr Rod Butler, Beryl and suksri. Just occasionally a local politician will stand up for local people regardless of the effect on their career. Karen IS a highly regarded ward councillor who has done much work for the grass roots community of Higham Hill. Whilst I am a resident of a different ward I am acquainted with enough people who live there to know about the time and effort she has put into improving opportunities for local youth and indeed people of all ages in a ward that like many others in the borough suffers from a long term under-provision of resources. I wish she was one of my ward councillors as we could do with more like her of whatever party affiliation.

The slur of racism and the stench of sexism in some comments are beyond contempt.
 

 

Children living in Victorian conditions, say teachers
- results of teaching union’s survey
5 April 2015
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Children are turning up to school sick because parents cannot afford to take time off and sometimes without socks or a coat.  Teachers reported seeing children come to school hungry, children turning up to school sick because their parents cannot afford to take time off to care for them.
School staff are also still seeing youngsters arriving for lessons hungry, tired and wearing inappropriate clothes due to a continuing squeeze on family finances, according to the NASUWT teaching union.  It warned that the lives of many children are young people are being “blighted and degraded by poverty and homelessness”.
In some cases, teachers reported being aware of pupils living in “Victorian conditions”, of youngsters coming to school with no socks or coat and of more families depending on food banks.
wfcwWaltham Forest council continues failing children at risk of abuse in all safeguarding categories
21 January 2015
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Vulnerable children in Waltham Forest are still not being properly protected by the council, more than three years after it was found to have one of the worst children services departments in the country, inspectors have said. 
A damning report by Ofsted found the authority continues to fail to meet minimum requirements in all safeguarding categories.
Work to protect missing children, or those at risk of being sexually abused, was found not to be properly co-ordinated, although it had been given greater priority since the last inspection.
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wfcwDisability support centre 'in real danger'
16 March 2015
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Peri Stanley and Heather Gower at the Disability Resource Centre, which is losing council funding
The future of a centre supporting some of the vulnerable members of the community has been thrown into doubt after funding was withdrawn.
Charity Waltham Forest Disability Resource Centre (WFDRC) in Crownfield Road, Leytonstone, has operated since 1988, but may be forced to close when financial support from the council ends next month.
Manager Peri Stanley said government changes to the way money is distributed meant fewer disabled people are entitled to personal support under tough new funding criteria set by the council.
wfcw'They will have to drag me out' - company boss defiant over council eviction bid
12 March 2015
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Lady Cars in Leyton, a transport business which helps special needs children get across the borough and the rest of London have been told they have just two weeks to leave their premises or will be evicted.
wfcwwfcwManaging director of Lady Cars, Denise Walker, said it is an ‘impossible’ order calling on Cllr Clyde Loakes and Chris Robbins to come and see her yard.  “I would ask the leader of the council to come down and look at what we do. Hundreds of families rely on us." She added it would be impossible for the business to relocate its 38 buses and 100 employees.
Cllr BeanCouncil launches campaign to stop abuse against vulnerable adults
08 March 2013
Anyone can be guilty of abuse, whether they are relatives, friends, neighbours, carers or voluntary staff. Whatever the relationship, abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The borough’s Adult Social Care teams dealt with more than 750 reports last year, with criminal prosecutions and bans on working with vulnerable people now pending as a result.
NutshellAdult abuse, don't tolerate it. Don't ignore it
08 March 2013
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A CAMPAIGN by Waltham Forest Council will aim to crack down on abuse of the borough’s vulnerable adults. The project wants to encourage residents to report any concerns they may have about someone’s safety to the authority’s Safeguarding Adults Team. The campaign will see posters and leaflets displaying the message “Don’t tolerate it, don’t ignore it” distributed around the borough. “Any kind of violence or abuse is unforgiveable, but when it’s perpetrated against society’s most vulnerable people it’s particularly deplorable,” said Councillor Angie Bean, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services. “Our Adult Social Care teams do a great job, and while they follow up on concerns and reports from service users they also rely on information from concerned friends, neighbours and relatives. If you’re worried about someone you know, please don’t hesitate to get in touch – your concerns will be taken seriously and any information you provide will be treated confidentially.”

The Safeguarding Adults Team work to protect residents aged 18 or over who may be unable to take care of themselves because of age, illness, disability or mental health issues. Abuse does not just cover physical harm but also things like sexual abuse, theft or withholding benefits, emotional abuse, threatening, abandonment, neglect or discrimination.

Anyone can be guilty of abuse, whether they are relatives, friends, neighbours, carers or voluntary staff. Whatever the relationship, abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The borough’s Adult Social Care teams dealt with more than 750 reports last year, with criminal prosecutions and bans on working with vulnerable people now pending as a result.

Anyone who has concerns about a vulnerable adult’s safety should phone 020 8496 3000 and ask to speak to the adult social care duty officer or adult safeguarding team.

 
Cllr BeanNew campaign urges people to report suspected abuse in Waltham Forest
"Anyone can be guilty of abuse, whether they are relatives, friends, neighbours, carers or voluntary staff."
5th March 2013
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Cllr Angie Bean, cabinet member for adult services, said: “Any kind of violence or abuse is unforgivable, but when it’s perpetrated against society’s most vulnerable people it’s particularly deplorable.
“Our Adult Social Care teams do a great job, and while they follow up on concerns and reports from service users they also rely on information from concerned friends, neighbours and relatives."
A council spokeswoman said the campaign had not been prompted by any particular incidents, but had been launched as part of the authority's priority of 'helping you and your family’. She added: "Abuse does not just cover physical harm but also things like sexual abuse, theft or withholding benefits, emotional abuse, threatening, abandonment, neglect or discrimination. "Anyone can be guilty of abuse, whether they are relatives, friends, neighbours, carers or voluntary staff." "Whatever the relationship, abuse of any kind is unacceptable and will not be tolerated."
 
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TopCrisis in care homes for the elderly
>> more on social care <<  
wfcwEnglish care homes facing financial ruin, say councils
20 August 2015
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Warning that best homes will become preserve of the rich as private companies cut number of places funded by local authorities
Care homes in England are are “teetering on the edge of financial meltdown”, according to county councils, even before the government hits them with an estimated £1bn bill for extra wages when the chancellor’s “national living wage” kicks in.
The best homes will increasingly become a preserve of the rich as private companies cut the number of places funded by local authorities, the councils have warned the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt.
 
wfcw Relatives raised serious concerns and staff were not properly trained at home where manager was absent for 10 months in one year.
16 April 2015
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Church Lane in Walthamstow is one of Outward's four registered care homes in the borough and looks after people with learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and complex needs.
Vulnerable disabled residents suffered injuries at a care home where people walked around naked due to poor care and basic safety standards were not met, a report has foound.
The home has been rated as inadequate by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) by failing to meet standards in three of five categories: safety, effectiveness and management of services. Inspectors discovered the manager Michael Heinrich Dieter Vandrey had not been at the home in 10 months as he was on secondment, but the CQC were only informed about a three-month absence.
Instead, it was being run by the deputy manager and area manager. The report highlighted incidents where people at the home had been injured and some relatives wanted their family members to leave due to safety concerns.
The report said: "A relative told us they had been 'grabbed' by people at the service and said when it happened staff did not know what to do apart from saying to the person using the service 'don’t do that.'
"Another relative told us they thought the behaviour of other people in the home meant their family member was not safe. "Incidents showed that there were occasions where people had been harmed by other people in the service at night.
wfcwCouncil’s 'Old people's charter' introduced for borough's elderly
8 December 2014
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Cllr Angie Bean launched the Council’s Older People’s Charter – a series of pledges outlining what older residents can expect from the local authority and its services.
The charter has been developed in conjunction with local older people, carers and service providers, to ensure it reflects the diverse needs of Waltham Forest’s older population.
Cllr Angie Bean, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Services, said: “We want to do as much as possible to help our older residents live happy and healthy lives and this charter clearly outlines the Council’s commitment to work with them to ensure they are supported in all aspects of their lives.”

wfcw Services for the elderly put frail residents at risk because their staff were not up to the job.
13 Dec 2014
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The revelations follow a succession of damning reports exposing failures in the social care system, including extreme cases of physical abuse and neglect of vulnerable adults in residential homes.
Under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, all care homes and nursing agencies providing home help must ensure their workers are of good character, have the skills, experience and qualifications necessary to do their jobs, and are physically and mentally fit for work.
Andrea Sutcliffe, chief inspector of Adult Social Care at the CQC, said: “It is the responsibility of providers to ensure at all times that there are sufficient numbers of suitably qualified, skilled and experienced staff.
wfcwThe slow death of Britain’s home care system
19 February 2015 
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After we revealed the terrifying chaos and lack of compassion blighting care for the elderly, you told us your stories. They’re alarming reading
Recently The Mail ran a devastating account of home care. Hundreds of readers came forward to share their own experiences from mismanagement of medication to being left without the heating on.
The following stories show what it's like for some in the home care system 
The awful truth is that while the carers were nice enough, and not generally unkind, they weren’t fit for purpose. I could train a child to open a pill box labelled with days of the week, but they couldn’t manage it — despite being ‘senior carers’.
wfcwCouncil defends a huge payout to Shifa Mustafa, a senior member of staff, stating that it was forced to by central government policy
12 September 2014
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Deputy chief executive for environment and regeneration, Shifa Mustafa, was given a pay-off totalling £140,447 when she was made redundant.
A council spokesman said that the authority was obliged to make the payment under the terms of her contract.
However, a spokesman for the government department for communities and local government rubbished the claims, stating that although guidelines may state that a payment should be offered – it is down to each local council to choose the amount.
wfcwA Waltham Forest charity for vulnerable adults says £27k of funding is being pulled by the council
10 March 2015
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Helen Tredoux, with service users of the Community Transport Door to Store Shopping Service are starting a campaign to protest at the closure of the Door to Store service by Waltham Forest Council
Elderly and disabled adults in Waltham Forest could end up ‘without food on their table’ next month a charity has warned after claims the council is pulling funding from a service seen as a ‘lifeline’ to its users.
For the last nine years Community Transport Waltham Forest based in Argall Avenue, Leyton, has been running a ‘door to store’ service, collecting elderly and disabled people and taking them shopping.
Service users pay a minimal fee and are helped on and off of the bus with help to take their bags inside.
wfcwShock toll of 5-minute care visits 
16 February 2015
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Care visits for thousands of frail pensioners are being rationed to just five minutes.
Some staff are even being told not to make conversation in case they waste time. Over 12 months, at least 209,000 of these five-minute home care slots were allocated by six councils.
Campaigners and ministers condemned the ‘drive-by visits’, saying they could have catastrophic consequences.
wfcwThe indignity and terrible suffering inside Britain's home care system
31 January 2015
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To them you're just a commodity, not a human being. Paul Burstow, former Care Minister
Indignity, a dearth of compassion, terrible suffering and utter chaos:
In an investigation that'll terrify every family, we lay bare the agonising death of Britain's home care system
The system costs UK taxpayers more than three billion pounds every year. Investigation reveals a catalogue of failings in home care system. Major inquiry found some vulnerable people had 50 different carers a year
Former Care Minister said home care is 'low paid, ill-trained and low morale'. Paul Burstow claims the effect on elderly people who need care is 'terrible' 
wfcwOld people auctioned off to care homes on the internet: Anger over 'cattle markets for grannies' as councils accept lowest bids to save cash
8 February 2015
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The elderly and disabled are being ‘put up for auction’ by local councils on ‘eBay-style’ websites, with care firms then bidding to offer them a bed.  
At least a dozen local authorities are listing vulnerable people’s details – including their age and what care and medication they need – before inviting bids from care homes in the area.
Critics last night said the system was akin to ‘auctioning your granny’ and a ‘cattle market’, saying sensitive decisions about an elderly resident’s final years are being made by a computer programme that is only interested in costs.
One council has boasted of reducing care costs by almost a fifth using the system.
www.sproc.net
wfcwMore concern over council's treatment of the vulnerable
2 December 2014
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Concerns have been raised about how Waltham Forest council deals with vulnerable tenants.
Earlier this month, Ascham Homes promised it had reviewed the way vulnerable people were treated when a disabled woman’s name was changed to ‘@@@@ U’ on her documents, after she had been waiting 16 days for repairs at her home.
wfcwThis is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody and Nobody. 
There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have
wfcwDisability Resource Centre (WFDRC) facing closure due to funding cuts
9 January 2015
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A petition was signed by over 500 people, asking the council to honour a promise of ‘peppercorn rent’ made in 2010.
Cllr Angie Bean, the Council’s cabinet member for adult services, said WFDRC had been missing its targets.
She said: “This has been a very tough decision as we have been supporting the Disability Resource Centre for over a decade.  “While we recognise the work they have done in supporting residents during that period, unfortunately since 2011 the centre has only been achieving around half of its targets
The council has not confirmed whether or not it will honour its original promise.
wfcwMeals on wheels provision in England drops by 63%
3 January 2015
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The number of vulnerable people receiving meals on wheels from English councils has more than halved in the last five years, Labour research shows. The analysis, based on Freedom of Information requests, shows 109,000 people had meals delivered to them in 2014/15, down from 296,000 in 2009/10.
wfcwThreat to services as council faces losing millions in funding cuts
19 December 2014
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Yesterday’s local government finance settlement announcement saw a 1.8 per cent average drop in funding for local authorities in the next financial year. Waltham Forest council will see funding fall by 4.2 per cent.
This follows significant cuts in previous years as the government aims to reduce the budget deficit, which currently stands at 90bn.
The cuts were announced yesterday by Local Government Minister Kris Hopkins, who advised councils to make “sensible savings” while protecting frontline services.
Councils have warned some services, many of which are already under strain, cannot be maintained with the current funding levels.
>> more on the Community <<  
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wfcwScrutiny committees and sub-committees
August 2014
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Purpose is to check Council decisions to ensure that they are practical, fair and being made in the best interest of the community.

wfcwOverview and Scrutiny in Local Government
January 2013
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wfcwAnnual Council Meeting decisions 12June14
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27 days into the Labour Party’s four year term of governing Waltham Forest they have finally killed off democracy within the Town Hall by ‘disestablishing’ Scrutiny management committee and completely ignoring their own Party’s guidance that:
“Where there is a majority group, local authorities might consider it appropriate to have all or some of these committees chaired by members outside the majority group…”
wfcwComment - Renew Waltham Forest
Overview and scrutiny committees

June 2014
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In 2000 the then Labour Government established Overview and scrutiny committees to act as a counter-weight to the executive structures such as elected mayors or leaders and cabinets.
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Wood Street: a much improved area  
wfcwWood Street recognised as much improved area in London Planning Awards
3 November 2014
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A unique area of Walthamstow, where shoppers can pick up anything from a coffee, to vintage records and even a Viking outfit, could be in line for multiple awards in the coming year. Wood Street has been nominated for a London Planning Award.
wfcwWaltham Forest. The Place for a Good Life, Our Vision
download report
A borough that promotes health and wellbeing by giving young people and adults the best start in life, building resilience and providing adults with opportunities to fulfil their potential.
wfcwHousing management brought back in-house
23 June 2015
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Management of the council housing stock has been returned to council control in a 'once in a generation offer' for tenants to redesign housing in Waltham Forest. Ascham Homes has managed the authority's 12,221 homes since 2003, but has now lost the role.  The decision approved at today’s cabinet meeting (June 23) will also see the council take direct responsibility for homelessness services and private sector licensing.
Cllr Khevyn Limbajee, cabinet member for housing, called the decision a ‘significant moment’ for council tenants.  He said: "Along with providing improved, more joined up services, savings will be made which can be reinvested into making better homes and estates for our residents.
wfcwBakers Arms ranked in top 10 'unhealthiest' high streets in London
Bakers Arms was one of nine high streets to benefit from £9m investment last year
26 March 2015
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High streets in Waltham Forest have been listed as among the "unhealthiest" in London, according to research.
The Bakers Arms area, linking Hoe Street, Lea Bridge Road and High Road, Leyton, has been ranked the ninth unhealthiest in London in a report published today by the Royal Society for Public Health. The rankings are based on the concentration of businesses deemed to have the most negative impact on health, which include fast-food outlets, payday lenders, bookmakers and tanning salons.
One of the key problems outlined as facing local authorities was the relaxed planning laws surrounding betting and pay-day loan shops.
wfcwLandlord licensing scheme will go ahead despite high court ruling
14 January 2015
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Boroughs across London have been forced to halt the implementation of the process of registering all landlords.  Waltham Forest council will still charge landlords £500 per property for five years to join register as the council chooses to press ahead with the ‘selective licensing’ scheme.
despite caution by other councils after High Court ruling
The idea behind SL is to allow the authority to track and bring to account those breaking the rules and accepting anti-social behaviour.
wfcwGet the best out of living in Waltham Forest
A guide to services and activities for the over 50s

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So you are not a teenager anymore but you can live life to the full in Waltham Forest and take advantage of all that there is on offer in the borough. As you get older you may have more free time to pursue interests or take up new ones, you may need to keep a check on your health to keep your body in good working order, or you may just need a little extra help here and there. We want to make sure that you stay healthy, happy and active so we have highlighted some of the benefits available to people over 50 in the borough.
We know that we are investing in the things that matter most to you such as:
• making our community safer
• keeping the borough clean
• bringing you better streets, shopping and leisure
• helping you and your family
But we also want to make sure that our residents are aware of all the services available that help make life just that little bit better.
On the following pages you’ll find a round-up of some of those services, events and activities.
These include free swimming, free health checks and the Freedom Pass as well as information on how you can volunteer, take part in the amazing events in our libraries, get support living in your own home or join us for a free Christmas dinner.
We hope that these pages will help you get the very best out of living in Waltham Forest.
Cllr Angie Bean
Cabinet Member for Adults Services
 
wfcwwfcwBiggest ever number of HIV cases in Waltham Forest. Charity Positive East finds the disease 'dropping off the agenda'
13 November 2014
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Positive East’s Paul Fleming:  More people are living with HIV in Waltham Forest than ever before, according to a charity which has been battling to help people come to terms with the disease for almost 25 years.   “There are more people living in Waltham Forest with HIV than there was this time last year, or two years ago. “HIV seems to have dropped off the agenda, which seems absurd to us, since there are more people with the virus in London than ever before.
>> more on HIV and AIDS <<  
 
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See Gentrification
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Stella Creasy and Jeremy Corbyn
wfcw Labour leadership: Party needs 'real democracy', says Corbyn
20 August 2015
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Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to use the backing of party members to force Labour MPs to support his agenda if he is elected leader.
Calling for "real democracy", he said MPs should not "stand in the way" of "empowering party members".
wfcwStella Creasy in stinging attack on Momentum group over deselection row
24 March 2016
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Labour star Stella Creasy today accused people in the Corbyn-backing Momentum group of trying to control “the levers of power” to deselect her party’s MPs.
Ms Creasy was listed as “hostile” to Jeremy Corbyn in a leaked loyalty list, and her supporters have clashed with left-wingers in her local party. Left-wingers took key positions in her local party and she faced a major protest after voting in favour of air-strikes in Syria.
wfcwAngela Eagle could become first LGBT Labour leader following Corbyn coup
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5 April 2016
Angela Eagle could become the first LGBT leader of the Labour party following a planned summer coup against Jeremy Corbyn
Frontbenchers and donors have said that they see Ms Eagle as a viable replacement for Mr Corbyn, claiming she could unite the party in the event of a summer shake up.
Stella Creasy 'Why I Refuse To Be Silent On Sexism'
wfcw'Is this what the Walthamstow Labour Party 'hard left' has come to?
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4 August 2015

Stella Creasy and Jeremy Corbyn are very unlikely bedfellows.
She's standing to be deputy leader of the Labour Party but, in a personal and provocative piece, Stella Creasy says that it's time women stopped fighting sexism politely - and stepped up to run the world
wfcwThe denigration of men: Ridiculed, abused, exploited - the triumph of feminism has made today's men second class citizens
18 April 2015
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Rubbishing the male of the species and everything he stands for is a disturbing 21st century phenomenon.
It is the fashionable fascism of millions of women — and many, many men, too
nutshell more on why I Refuse To Be Silent On Sexism
wfcw Stella Creasy rages against the political machine, but can she break it?
11 August, 2015
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Helen Lewis talks Jeremy Corbyn with Stella Creasy.
Labour has been poor at capturing the recent energy of the feminist movement.
There are constituency parties where only one in four members are women.
From Reluctant Gangsters, John Pitts 2007, read ...
"As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away.
I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us."
wfcwExclusive: Stella Creasy 'Why I Refuse To Be Silent On Sexism'
By Grazia staff - 4 August 2015
She's standing to be deputy leader of the Labour Party but, in a personal and provocative piece, Stella Creasy says that it's time women stopped fighting sexism politely - and stepped up to run the world

Well-behaved women may rarely change history, but it seems however good our manners are, we are still too often the unwanted guests in public life. Outnumbered, patronised and more scrutinised for our make-up than whether we make a difference, politics is not just a mug’s game but a man’s too. So, why bother? Because I believe, for the good of all, it’s time we took Beyoncé at her word and made sure women run the world.

To do that it’s not just the open sexism and harassment of female representatives that needs to stop – the ‘Calm down dear’ comments, rape and death threats both off and online. It is the everyday clichés that make it feel like you may as well be speaking Klingon when you campaign on inequality. And as a proud feminist MP, I’ve lost count of the times people have told me that describing myself as one is ‘careersuicide’, or how often I’ve been asked
‘if what I wear influences whether people take me seriously’.

The challenge is not just about how we talk to or about women, but also how we talk about leadership – that it takes ‘balls’ not guts, that it’s about ‘statesmanlike’ behaviour. When the media marvel at Nicola Sturgeon or Harriet Harman doing the top jobs, it only reinforces the notion that this is a disruption of the natural order.

"We champion equality but have to get our own house in order to lead change in the country."

On all sides of the political spectrum, stereotypes filter into how we are perceived. Right now, the Labour party is choosing a new leader and deputy leader. As a candidate for deputy, I have experienced how gender is used to dismiss us first-hand from men and women inside and outside my party. Allegations are flying. Some think women aren’t ‘up to’ the role or that we need ‘balance’ in our leadership team – having one woman may be acceptable, choosing two would be going beyond the pale. Indeed, some ask if we have ‘ladyballs’ – as though women in senior positions are OK as long as they mimic men. We champion equality but have to get our own house in order to lead change in the country.

This doesn’t just affect politics. There are more men in Parliament than there have ever been women MPs. However, electing almost 30% of the Commons as female at the 2015 election put us slightly ahead of the FTSE 100, which has scrambled to get close to 25% of company board members to be women. Sadly, most of these appointments are non-executives, there to make up numbers, not make decisions. In 2015 the glass ceiling may be cracking, but it is harder to shift than hoped.

Companies with gender diversity are much more likely to be prosperous, helping create more jobs and growth. When we do better everyone benefits, but there’s a risk Britain will get left behind. Germany will have a 30% quota for women in business by 2016. Many others have long had similar measures – Austria, France and Norway.

Such glacial progress shows how diversity – not just in gender, but ethnicity, sexuality and social class – is still considered marginal to Britain’s future. It is fiscally irresponsible not to use the full talents of our women citizens. But the latest Government budget cuts will hit them hardest.

Addressing inequality isn’t just about our economic prospects. Despite evidence that a third of girls experience sexual harassment in schools, we don’t teach consent as part of the relationship and sex education in the National Curriculum. It’s great to see some progress tackling female genital mutilation and forced marriage, but we must not stop there.

Some say that women should succeed to positions of leadership on the basis of ‘merit’ and if they don’t take part it’s their decision. Others would point out how women are putting their energy into non-party political activism. In whatever way, women are not giving up but trying to change the world on their own terms. I’m passionate about how politics can change lives, so we need women of all backgrounds and ages to be part of our decision making. We need to make politics the vehicle for change alongside such activism. We should use our democracy to demand action. And expect men to join this fight for social justice, too.

The problem isn’t with women, but the world we ask them to take on. Feminism isn’t about women. It is about power and how this is unequally distributed in our society. The insult is to think that because some women have managed to get ahead, it’s up to them to keep going – as though previous generations couldn’t have run the country or a successful business, but held back rather than face discrimination.

My mother taught me to put my money where my mouth is and not to expect to do it alone. So, I’m standing for a leadership role myself, not because we need just one more woman, but many. It is not my ambition to speak for them, but to find new ways to get more women from a wider range of backgrounds into public life because we will all benefit from the contribution they will make. To do that, politics has to stop being about a machine that turns up at election time, and become a movement where everyone feels welcome and able to participate. That especially means those currently locked out.
http://www.graziadaily.co.uk/2015/08/stella-creasy-sexism-in-politics

>> more on Crisis of Masculinity <<  
 
Stella Creasy, MP Labour and Co-operative Party
Why I am Working for Walthamstow: Impatience is a Virtue

or how we can learn to stop worrying and change the world
Stella Creasy, MP, 2014
In the speech I talk about Walthamstow and why I stood to be an MP because of my commitment to helping everyone realise their potential. In this speech I say "the impatience we should have, the choice for our generation isn’t just to deal with change, it is to provoke it for the good of all. read ...
From Reluctant Gangsters, John Pitts 2007
"As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away. I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us.".
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wfcwLabour criticised over “shameful” lack of BAME candidates in key seats
31 December 2014
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Labour MPs have called on Ed Miliband to do more to ensure that more Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates are elected in May.
Such calls have emerged partly because only one candidate who identifies as being from a minority ethnic background – Tulip Siddiq in Hampstead and Kilburn – has been selected in the 34 seats where Labour MPs are stepping down.
In addition, for ultra-marginal seats where Labour stands the best chance of winning, only a very small number of candidates are BAME.
wfcwStella Creasy MP for Walthamstow wins ‘Best Constituency Tweeter’ award
25 March 2015
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Walthamstow MP Stella Creasy has been named the UK’s ‘Best Constituency Tweeter’ at the 2015 Political Twitter Awards. The Labour MP, who has over 50,000 followers on the social networking site, fought off competition from MPs including fellow Labour MP Andy Sawford and Lib Dem Julian Huppert MP.
The judges, which included Channel 4’s Michael Crick, praised the Walthamstow MP “for being a prolific and genuinely enthusiastic ambassador for Walthamstow”, saying that she “engaged with constituents in a way that many MPs still neglect to do on Twitter.”
wfcwStella Creasy pulls out of NUT election debate on education.
31 March 2015
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Ms Creasy replaced by John Cryer MP
Walthamstow candidates Michael Gold, for the Green Party, Freddy Vachha of UKIP and Nancy Taffe, from the Trade Unionist Socialist Coalition, will attend
The MP for Walthamstow was invited to attend the event, hosted by the National Union for Teachers at the Quaker Meeting House in Jewel Road, Walthamstow, at 4.30pm today.
She has been replaced by her Labour colleague John Cryer, MP for Leyton and Wanstead.
The event is for union members only and will give them the chance to grill election candidates on their parties’ education policy.
Stella Creasy said: "I am not in London today but in Birmingham to be a keynote speaker at the centre for responsible credit conference."
wfcwNUT election candidates call for increase in teachers' pay
1 April 2015
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Parliamentary candidates from all the major parties, excluding the Conserviatives, debated education at the event last night organised by the National Union of Teachers.
School and college staff in Waltham Forest are currently paid less than their counterparts in other parts of London because the borough is classified as outer London, where living costs are deemed lower.
Teachers pay in Waltham Forest should rise in line with 'inner London' boroughs due to the increasing cost of living, an election hustings heard.
The Conservatives are yet to explain why the party sent no candidate to the event at the Quaker Meeting house in Jewel Road, Walthamstow.
wfcwReview of GP surgeries promised after widespread failings
6 February 2015
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Yesterday ministers were said to have committed to a review of GP care across the E17 area following requests from MP Stella Creasy. 
In November 2014 it was revealed that a third of Walthamstow GP surgeries have put their patients at risk by giving poor care.   Miss Creasy said she has been pushing for years for an investigation into how services can be improved.
wfcwBreed for Britain! Without immigrants women will need 'a lot of children' to save economy, claims Labour MP Stella Creasy
Jun 3rd 2014
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The unmarried Labour MP said without immigration women already in the UK will have to breed for Britain to support the growing number of pensioners. Miss Creasy, who does not have children, said without a baby boom 'our ability to sustain our economy' will collapse - leaving the NHS in crisis. The Labour MP's controversial remarks are likely to spark controversy and come just days after the former Tory Chancellor Lord Lamont dismissed the claim that immigration was needed to cope with an ageing society
stella creasyStella Creasy named Campaigner of the Year
The Political Studies Association named Stella Creasy Campaigner of the Year. Creasy named Campaigner of the Year for 'legal loan shark' work Creasy named Campaigner of the Year for 'legal loan shark' work
Stella Creasy was named Campaigner of the Year for her efforts to restrict high cost loan companies. The Political Studies Association (PSA) named the Walthamstow MP as the winner of the award last night.
NutshellStella Creasy named Campaigner of the Year
27th November 2013
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The Political Studies Association named Stella Creasy Campaigner of the Year. Creasy named Campaigner of the Year for 'legal loan shark' work Creasy named Campaigner of the Year for 'legal loan shark' work
Stella Creasy was named Campaigner of the Year for her efforts to restrict high cost loan companies. The Political Studies Association (PSA) named the Walthamstow MP as the winner of the award last night.
On Monday Chancellor George Osborne praised Ms Creasy’s work as the government announced a new law capping the cost of payday loans. Miss Creasy has highlighted problems she claims are caused by high cost payday loan companies on people struggling to make ends meet.
CEO of the Political Studies Association, Helena Djurkovic, said: “Stella Creasy’s commitment to fighting for those people struggling to keep their heads above water despite signs of economy recovery reminds us that MPs can still be a powerful forced for good.” The awards jury said in a statement: “Occasionally an MP emerges who is so strongly identified with a particular cause and is so articulate in making their case that the wider public looks beyond party politics and views what they are saying as simply the ‘right thing’. “Stella is one such as this and a worthy winner of this award.” “Her impact is all the more impressive given she is a relative newcomer to the House of Commons.” The PSA is an organisation established to promote the study of politics.

 
wfcwCouncil leader speaks out about his main priorities for the next 4 years under a Labour-led administration.
7th June 2014
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Cllr Robbins said that his main priorities were to continue cleaning up the streets with increased waste collections and prosecution of litterers. Improving pedestrian and cyclist safety. removing mattresses which he claims are often dumped by "bad landlords He said, 'we have between now and 2016 to find another £45million in savings whilst working with an already reduced budget.'

Mental health services for young people in England are "stuck in the dark ages" and "not fit for purpose", according to Care Minister Norman Lamb.
20 August 2014
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Norman Lamb is determined to reform youth mental health services which are "not fit for purpose"

lbwfCouncil will not comment on its care of a vulnerable and disabled woman
19th August 2014
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A vulnerable disabled woman who lives on her own claims she is being let down by the care system, being neglected by care workers and living in filthy conditions.   She has complex mental health needs, suffers from Epilepsy and is wheelchair bound.  She said: "All I want is to be looked after properly. Neighbour Margaret McHugh, a retired carer, after visiting the property,  said: The carers don't do her cleaning or washing, its disgusting.    "You would not believe the filth. For two or three months there were mouse droppings all over her kitchen work surface.
Up to four carers visit her Leytonstone home four times a day for half an hour and are responsible for cleaning the flat and her clothes, making sure she's comfortable and washed, administering her medication and feeding her.
wfcw Reports of child sexual exploitation inWaltham Forest second highest in London
2 September 2014
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Up to March this year, the borough had the most CSE referrals in the capital, but has recently fallen into second place.   
 Between May 2013 and July 31 this year, there were 17 reports of CSE in Waltham Forest, compared to a London average of eight.  
Reports of child sex abuse encompass a whole range of crimes, including receiving something in exchange for sexual activity, child grooming, trafficking, child-forced marriage, pornography, indecent exposure and female genital mutilation (FGM).
wfcwWaltham Forest leads the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation.
2 September 2014
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Joint statement by chief superintendant Collins and council chief executive Martin Esom:: "Waltham Forest is one of three London boroughs leading the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation cases, thanks to a commitment made by the borough’s police and council to work together to tackle the issue.
Both the council and police have refused to say whether CSE is a problem affecting a particular section of the community
mdj says... 'chief executive Martin Esom said: "Waltham Forest is one of three London boroughs leading the way in identifying potential child sexual exploitation cases..'
One wouldn't have thought that Mr Esom was up to spin of this subtlety, so well done! In his book, the worse the picture, the better it proves that the authorities are aware of the problem!
 
macmillanWaltham Forest ranked third worst in the country for cancer patients healthcare
Macmillan Cancer Suppor calls on local health commissioners and political parties to work with GPs to provide support, advice and guidance and improve early detection and diagnosis of cancer. 
15th August 2014
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A survey by Macmillan Cancer Support shows 36 per cent of patients die within a year after diagnosis.  The borough was ranked third worst in the country.
Carol Fenton, general manager for Macmillan Cancer Support in London and the south-east, said:  "Your chances of surviving cancer should not be affected simply because you live in Waltham Forest. "When patients have to wait longer for diagnosis and treatment their chances of surviving cancer are significantly reduced."
Ms Fenton is calling on local health commissioners and political parties to work with GPs to provide support, advice and guidance and improve early detection and diagnosis of cancer. 
 
wfcwBritish Chambers of Commerce
2 April 2014
John Longworth, director-general of the BCC accused the political class of failing young people, in a scathing attack on the education system which has ‘wasted human capital’.:  Britain needs politicians ‘to be more economically literate and business orientated’.
Education, education, education' – what a meaningless phrase this proved to be, he said.
Accusing some schools, colleges and universities of ‘losing the plot’, Longworth said: ‘Preparing this generation for the British workforce is too important to the economy for us to ignore.’
nutshellBritain told to prepare for 'real austerity.'
2 April 2014
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Britain is ‘barely off the starting blocks’ in the global race and faces a painful bout of ‘real austerity’ in the years ahead. That was the message from UK plc at the annual meeting of the British Chambers of Commerce in central London yesterday.
Business leaders gathered at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre called for a ‘laser like focus’ on growth driven by exports and investment.
John Longworth, director-general of the BCC, slammed critics of enterprise ‘who do not get it’ and said Britain needs politicians ‘to be more economically literate and business orientated’. He also accused the political class of failing young people, in a scathing attack on the education system which has ‘wasted human capital’.
‘Education, education, education – what a meaningless phrase this proved to be,’ he said.
Accusing some schools, colleges and universities of ‘losing the plot’, Longworth said: ‘Preparing this generation for the British workforce is too important to the economy for us to ignore.’
Karren Brady, vice chairman of West Ham United FC and star of TV show The Apprentice, also raised concerns about how badly prepared many youngsters are for the workforce.
She said one business she visited in her role as small business  ambassador for the Government was forced to send young staff on a letter-writing course so they could communicate with clients.
Brady also urged small businesses to take on staff: ‘There are 4.8m small and medium-sized enterprises in the UK. If every one of them hired one person, there would be no more unemployment.’
Addressing the conference, Education Secretary Michael Gove put English and Maths at the top of the agenda as Business Secretary Vince Cable conceded the UK faced ‘big, deep problems’ in terms of training and skills.
Gove said: ‘We need to ensure we eliminate illiteracy and innumeracy in Britain in the same way as developing nations know they need to secure clean drinking water and eliminate malaria if their children are to flourish, and in the same way as our forefathers more than a hundred years ago knew they had to eradicate polio and TB if children were to flourish.’
Longworth accused George Osborne of pulling off ‘a brilliant Houdini-like trick’ in talking tough on austerity but failing to deliver it.
The deficit has fallen from a record £157bn in 2009-10 to £115bn last year but the Chancellor is not expecting to deliver a surplus until 2019. The national debt is on course to top £1.5trillion – or £60,000 per household – in the coming years and will not start shrinking as a percentage of national income until 2016-17.
‘Contrary to popular opinion, we haven’t really seen austerity in the way, for example, it has been applied to many countries around the eurozone,’ said Longworth.
‘The next stage will require more belt tightening, possibly even real austerity in some quarters. Whoever is in government next will face very hard choices.’
Longworth accused successive governments of ducking the big decisions required to improve the country’s rail network, airport capacity and motorways.
‘On investment in infrastructure, the can has been well and truly kicked down the road,’ he said, as he called on businesses to loosen the purse strings.
Turning to the drive to rebalance the economy towards exports, Longworth said: ‘So far the national plan has failed.’
Cable added: ‘If we don’t broaden our horizons, we consign ourselves to the certain fate of becoming a marginal, bit-part player in the global economy.’ The BCC voiced concerns about the impact of the  Scottish referendum, an in/out vote on Britain’s membership of the European Union, and anti-business policies proposed by Labour leader Ed Miliband.
‘In our global race to create great, sustainable growth, Britain is barely off the starting blocks,’ said Longworth.
‘It may be obvious to us in this room why great growth is so important. But surprisingly there are many people out there who do not get it, do not subscribe to it, and do not think it is the most important thing for the UK.
‘The simple fact is that it is only through wealth creation that we can afford all of the things we want like education and the NHS. I have said it before and I cannot repeat it enough – achieving sustainable, great growth should be and must be the number one priority of any government, and our political class needs to be more economically literate and business orientated.’

   
efcwResearch indicates that Waltham Forest homes are some of the most likely to be burgled in London
5th June 2014
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This week, Metropolitan Police figures for burglary were analysed for all London boroughs by website Rentonomy. They found more burglaries were reported in Croydon, Waltham Forest, Islington and Marylebone than anywhere else in London. Croydon had the most break-ins, although all had three times more than the London average.
 
wfcw8 April 2014 - Waltham Forest News
Waltham Forest Council has been told it can no longer publish its controversial taxpayer-funded, in-house newspaper on a fortnightly basis.
The parliamentary under secretary of state, Brandon Lewis, wrote to council leader Chris Robbins to tell him the publication must be scaled back to one edition every three months.
nutshell Waltham Forest News must become quarterly
8th April 2014
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Council leader Chris Robbins has been told to ensure Waltham Forest News is only published on a quarterly basis
Waltham Forest council has been told it can no longer publish its controversial taxpayer-funded, in-house newspaper on a fortnightly basis.
The authority spends around £500,000 of taxpayers’ cash on printing, designing and distributing Waltham Forest News (WFN) every year.
Guidelines were put in place back in 2011 suggesting local authorities only produce such publications on a quarterly basis – guidelines ignored by Waltham Forest council and many other authorities.
However on March 30 those guidelines became law, prompting parliamentary under secretary of state Brandon Lewis to write to council leader Chris Robbins this week to tell him the publication must be scaled back to one edition every three months.
Mr Lewis’ letter was prompted by a complaint from Waltham Forest resident and Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIOJ) member Janice Shillum Bhend, who was angered by the council’s decision to ignore the guidelines.
Mr Lewis’ letter stated: “I can see no reason for any council not to comply (with the original guidelines) – non-compliance would, I believe, invariably involve an unacceptable waste of taxpayers’ money and council resources.
“I would suggest therefore that you take steps to ensure that your council is in complete compliance with the provisions of the code.”
The council’s website says WFN, which is delivered to every home and business in the borough, tells readers “how the council is working to create a better borough for everyone who lives and works here, as well as stories about your community”.
But some residents believe it only promotes a positive council agenda.
“Local people call it Pravda for good reason,” said Martin Duncan-Jones, a 59-year-old who has lived in Leyton for 27 years.
He added: “One would never know from reading WFN that a senior Labour councillor is currently in jail for large-scale theft, for example, although it is constantly naming and shaming people for petty offences.”
The new law is aimed at protecting local newspapers from unfair taxpayer-funded competition.
Ms Shillum Bhend  said: "I'm absolutely delighted that our campaign is about to force Waltham Forest council to toe the line at last and stop wasting residents’ money on publishing WFN fortnightly against government guidelines.”
Waltham Forest council has been asked to comment.

 
The Christian Kitchen debacle
wfcwWaltham Forest Council acted unlawfully and failed “to accord with reality” in trying to evict a soup kitchen for vulnerable homeless people after 25 years.
7th April 2014
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wfcwChristian Kitchen charity that feeds 50 homeless every night risks closing after Branches Hostel in Walthamstow throws them out
14 March 2017
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Christian Kitchen has been providing food for homeless men and women in Walthamstow for 25 years.
The charity  provides hot meals for people sleeping rough may be forced to close after a homeless hostel told them they can no longer cook on their premises.
Chariman of Christian Kitchen Norman Coe says the service the chairty provides for the homeless is "essential".
The charity, which is run by volunteers and relies entirely on donations, has been using the kitchen at Branches Hostel in Forest Road, Walthamstow, for the past four years.
nutshell Soup kitchen eviction bid failed to take into account impact on vulnerable people
7th April 2014
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A High Court judge has ruled Waltham Forest Council acted unlawfully and failed “to accord with reality” in trying to evict a soup kitchen for vulnerable homeless people after 25 years.
Christian Kitchen was last year told it must leave Mission Grove in Walthamstow due to claims of anti-social behaviour.
It was offered a new site in a lay-by near the Crooked Billet roundabout – a location kitchen organisers claimed was unsafe and unsuitable.
But the kitchen can continue to operate from Mission Grove after today’s High Court ruling by Judge Mrs Justice Ingrid Simler, who found the council had failed to consider the potential negative impact on service users and ordered it to review its plans.
Norman Coe, chairman of the trustees of Christian Kitchen, said: “We are delighted with the ruling today which has essentially saved the service from closure.
“We are now just looking forward to concentrating on providing hot meals to our users rather than the distractions of fighting to save the service.”
He said trustees now hope the authority will work with them to find a satisfactory solution.
Explaining her decision Justice Simler said: “The council should have considered the likely impact of its decision on the vulnerable users of the soup kitchen on the basis that the soup kitchen would close rather than on the wholly unrealistic basis that they would suffer little or no detriment because the soup kitchen could relocate to the lay-by at Crooked Billet.
She added that it was unlikely those people would be able to access public transport to access the alternative site, which Christian Kitchen says is up to 50 minutes away.
The council’s insistence that there was no evidence to suggest the relocation would affect users’ ability to access the kitchen “fails to accord with reality or common sense”, she said.
Alex Rook, a lawyer from Irwin Mitchell who represented the charity pro-bono, said the judgement proved Christian Kitchen’s longstanding argument that the council failed to regard the needs of vulnerable users.
The council has been contacted for comment.
Selected comments
2:13pm Mon 7 Apr 14
Sam Hain says...
Now we have this unequivocal judgement perhaps we can move on - for the sake of those vulnerable people using the service. It seems to me that there now needs to be some compromise on both sides, and some meaningful dialogue rather than 'megaphone diplomacy'. The council needs to accept that the Christian Kitchen's continued location in this carpark is now a fait-accompli and work with them in co-ordinating a multi-agency approach. If the Christian Kitchen only wants to provide food (which is, after all, it's avowed mission) then there's absolutely nothing stopping the council co-ordinating such services in its own carpark. But, by the same token, the Christian Kitchen needs to accept reasonable restrictions, such as that they do not (as they have in the past) position their vehicle on the High Street istelf, and that they monitor street drinking as this is an Alcohol Restriction Zone (AZR) and other ASB such as urination and defecation (maybe the council can provide Portaloos as there are no longer any public toilets?). The High Street SNT must also now be much more vigilant and reactive in light of this outcome, with regulat (though not intrusive) patrols. Nor should residents feel awkward or mean-spirited about complaining to them if legitimate problems arise as a result of the Christian Kitchen's operation, as has happened in the past and almost certainly will do in the future. But, looking forward positively, the clarity we now have means that we can hopefully have a fresh start, without antagonism and negativity, with all sides working in partnership - as it should have been from the beginning to avoid this unedifying public spat.

 
Cllr Mark RuslingJune 2013 - Major investment potential for Waltham Forest launches with business initiative linking London, Stansted and Cambridge.
Councillor Mark Rusling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, said: “For Waltham Forest this corridor could make a significant difference to both the economic wellbeing of the borough and the quality of life of our residents.
nutshellMajor investment with business initiative linking London, Stansted and Cambridge
6th June 2013
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Major investment could be brought to the borough with the launch of a new development consortium next week.
The London-Stansted-Cambridge Corridor Consortium, which launches on Tuesday, is a cooperative project bringing together local public and private sector bodies from the areas with the aim of boosting economic development in the corridor.
Connected by extensive rail and road links it is hoped the corridor will provide a platform for major growth in the area, particulary because Stansted Airport can double its capacity under existing infrastructure and planning permission.
Councillor Mark Rusling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, said: “For Waltham Forest this corridor could make a significant difference to both the economic wellbeing of the borough and the quality of life of our residents.
“It will put us at the centre of future conversations about the impact on London and will allow us to be at the forefront of discussions and debate.
“Most importantly it is likely to bring significant investment to the region and that can only be a good thing for local businesses and for future employment opportunities for our residents.”
Chairman of the Waltham Forest Business Board Michael Polledri said the corridor, which the Business Board fully supports, would bring major investment to the area.
He added: “This cooperative approach is what’s needed if we’re going to be serious about regeneration, rather than boroughs only thinking about what’s good for them.
“The corridor is extremely important to each borough it is connected to.”
Council Leader Chris Robbins and Cllr Rusling will be attending the launch of the LSCC at a major conference on Tuesday in Kings Cross.
Cllr Rusling said: “The conference will be a great opportunity to hear from a range of speakers debating how we can capitalise on the assets of the corridor.”
Speakers at the conference include Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, First Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Cities and the Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse.
Chair of the LSCC, Greg Clark, said, “The launch of the London Stansted Cambridge Corridor Consortium is an important moment for the Greater South East.
"This region, with an economy built on the high-tech, clean, green, and knowledge economy, has the potential to drive growth nationally.
“It is an investment opportunity like no other, and with the local and regional bodies starting to come together with a shared vision and common agenda, it can provide a genuine and compelling opportunity for all.”

 
oecdAccording to the OECD's figures for 2011, people aged between 15 and 29 in the UK spend on average 2.3 years unemployed, compared with 1.7 years in Germany and 1.1 years in the Netherlands. The report warns that too many youngsters in the UK drop out of education and are left without skills needed to get jobs.
NutshellCBI warns of the need to improve vocational skills
NEETOECD jobs fear for unqualified youth
By Sean Coughlan BBC News education correspondent
There are calls to make sure that young people have the skills for work
The poorly educated are paying the highest price for the financial crisis, says the OECD's education adviser, Andreas Schleicher.
Youngsters without qualifications now face a shrinking chance of getting jobs, according to the economic think tank's annual review of education.
For the UK, the OECD warns of the "significant" numbers of youngsters outside of education, work or training.
This is the "biggest challenge" for the UK, says Mr Schleicher.
According to the OECD's figures for 2011, people aged between 15 and 29 in the UK spend on average 2.3 years unemployed, compared with 1.7 years in Germany and 1.1 years in the Netherlands.
The report warns that too many youngsters in the UK drop out of education and are left without skills needed to get jobs.
Widening gap
The OECD's annual report describes how the financial downturn has widened the economic gap between those with and without a good level of qualifications.
The jobs market has become tougher across the developed world, but levels of unemployment are now three times higher among the poorly qualified, such as those with the equivalent of less than five good GCSEs.
There has always been an earnings gap between graduates and those less well qualified, but the OECD says that this widened even further between 2009 and 2011.
The labour market shows no sign of being overloaded with graduates, Mr Schleicher says. Instead it is the unskilled jobs that have been disappearing, leaving those without qualifications vulnerable to unemployment.
In the UK, the report highlights a particularly exaggerated gap. At the upper end of qualifications, the UK has one of the highest graduation rates in the developed world.
But at the other end of the skills scale, there are a disproportionately large number of youngsters leaving education with few qualifications and diminishing chances of regular work.
Smoke signals
These figures for 2011, show that in the UK almost a quarter of those who failed to achieve basic secondary qualifications ended up in the so-called Neet category - not in education, employment or training.
For those who have five good GCSEs or their equivalent, there is a much lower level of people who are NEET, at 14%.
The report highlights that the UK has one of the lowest percentages of 16 to 19 year olds in education among industrialised OECD countries.
This could change with the raising of the leaving age to 18. But Mr Schleicher warned that it was not enough to keep people in education, they needed to be given skills that could get them jobs.
The costs of a bad education are not only economic, says the report.
There are also health implications. A person with a degree is half as likely to be obese as someone without secondary school qualifications, says the survey.
neet table
The poorest educated are most likely to smoke. Graduates are the least likely to smoke - and this is particularly the case in the UK, where graduates have among the lowest levels of smoking in the developed world.
But the UK is at the unhealthiest end of the scale for obesity. A person from the UK without secondary school qualifications is more likely to be obese than anywhere else in the OECD.
Nicola Dandridge, chief executive of Universities UK, welcomed the report's evidence of the economic and social benefits of higher education..
"The report is clear that investing in higher education pays off in the long term, both for individuals and society."
The CBI warned of the need to improve vocational skills in the UK to make young people more employable.
"We need to end ingrained snobbishness about technical education," said Neil Carberry, the CBI's director of employment and skills.
"We're facing a critical lack of skills which risks holding back our long-term growth. UK competitiveness relies on a highly skilled workforce, so we cannot afford to waste talent."

 
Morrisons Dalton Philips, Morrisons, said he was concerned that UK schools were falling behind those in other countries and failing to teach basic numeracy and literacy skills. He told the Daily Mirror: 'I worry about our schools system. When young people come on to our apprenticeship schemes we have to do remedial literacy and numeracy work with them and it's holding them back.
'I don't know where it's gone wrong. I would love to see young people proud to join an apprentice scheme and wear it as a badge of honour.- read ..
 
wages2013 - Wages in the UK have seen one of the largest falls in the European Union during the economic downturn, according to official figures. One think tank said this year that the drop in wages was "unprecedented"
Nutshell UK wages decline among worst in Europe
11 August 2013
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One think tank said this year that the drop in wages was "unprecedented"
Wages in the UK have seen one of the largest falls in the European Union during the economic downturn, according to official figures.
Figures from the House of Commons library show average hourly wages have fallen 5.5% since mid-2010, adjusted for inflation, which is the fourth-worst decline in the 27-nation bloc.
By contrast, German hourly wages rose by 2.7% over the same period.
Across the European Union as a whole, average wages fell 0.7%.
Only Greek, Portuguese and Dutch workers have had a steeper decline in hourly wages, the figures showed.
Other countries that have suffered during the eurozone debt crisis also fared better than the UK. Spain had a 3.3% drop over the same period and salaries in Cyprus fell by 3%.
French workers saw a 0.4% increase, while the 18 countries in the eurozone saw a 0.1% drop during that period.
'Worse off'
"These figures show the full scale of David Cameron's cost of living crisis," said shadow Treasury minister Cathy Jamieson.

Joe Lynam Business correspondent, BBC News
These figures, requested by the Labour Party and collated by the apolitical House of Commons library, merely put into firm numbers what we've all sensed for three years or more.
The money left over at the end of each month is getting less and less because our salaries have been flatlining while shopping, petrol and energy bills have been rising steadily.
Politically, this is fertile ground. Ed Miliband talks of a squeezed middle and feeling poorer while the government talks of a nascent recovery that will eventually raise living standards across the board while putting pressure on benefit dependants.
Clamping down on inflation, which has been above its 2% target for four years, doesn't appear to be a priority for the new regime at the Bank of England.
Mark Carney et al say they will tolerate it above target until unemployment falls below 7%. The tolerance of voters might be tested in the interim as their spending power continues to erode.

"Working people are not only worse off under the Tories, we're also doing much worse than almost all other EU countries.
"Despite out-of-touch claims by ministers, life is getting harder for ordinary families as prices continue rising faster than wages."
But the government says it has tackled the higher cost of living by raising the tax-free personal allowance threshold to £10,000, taking 2.7 million people out of tax, and other measures such as freezing fuel duty.
"The economy is on the mend, but we've still got a long way to go as we move from rescue to recovery and we appreciate that times are still tough for families," a Treasury spokesperson said.
The GMB union said the government was "directly responsible" for the fall in wages.
"Employers paying low wages get taxpayer subsidies in the form of tax credits to assemble a workforce for them to make decent profit margins," it said.
In June, the Institute for Fiscal Studies said that a third of workers who stayed in the same job saw a wage cut or freeze between 2010 and 2011 amid a rise in the cost of living.
"The falls in nominal wages... during this recession are unprecedented," the IFS said at the time.
In 2009, the average public-sector worker earned about £16.60 per hour, which dropped to about £15.80 in 2011, the IFS said.
Meanwhile, hourly pay for private-sector workers in 2009 was just over £15.10 and dropped to about £13.60 in 2011.

 

Don’t Mess with Waltham ForestLandmark court case makes spitting a crime in Waltham Forest.
Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that the courts have backed our tough stance on this issue.
read ... (Waltham Forest Council prosecute two men who spat)

 
BailiffWaltham Forest Council among highest users of bailiffs
Authority hire bailiffs on average nearly 90 times a day in 2012.
NutshellWaltham Forest Council among highest users of bailiffs
22nd August 2013
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Authority hire bailiffs on average nearly 90 times a day in 2012. Waltham Forest referred debt to bailiffs more than 30,000 times last year
Waltham Forest Council is one of the local authorities which used bailiffs the most last year, according to new figures.
Data released under the Freedom of Information Act shows the council referred debts to bailiffs 32,215 times, the 11th highest number in England and Wales.
The majority of referrals related to residential issues such as Council Tax, with only 1,261 relating to businesses.
There were also high levels relating to parking fines, which could affect people living outside the borough.
Charity Money Advice Trust found councils across England and Wales used bailiffs a total of 1.8million times in 2012.
The charity described the use of bailiffs as “excessive”.
Birmingham, the UK’s largest local authority, topped the list with 82,329 referrals.
The council has been approached for comment.

 
GOV.UK 32 per cent of all learners were on benefit at the start of learning. This has increased from 27 per cent in the previous academic year. 89 per cent of learners on benefit studied at Level 2 or below as their highest level of learning. Information on further education activity funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for adult benefit claimants in England. Headline figures for the 2011/12 academic year:
NutshellStatistics Further education for benefit claimants: June 2013
Statistics Further education for benefit claimants: June 2013
read ...
Provides information on further education activity funded by the Skills Funding Agency (SFA) for adult benefit claimants in England. It uses data from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, the Department for Work and Pensions, and HM Revenue & Customs.
It provides new data for 2011 to 2012 and updates figures for 2008 to 2009 and 2010 to 2011 previously presented in developmental statistics.
It provides statistics on:
  • benefit spells with training
  • overall learners who were on benefits at the start of training
  • levels of qualification (all and highest) studied
  • type of provision

Further education for benefit claimants England: June 2013
Further education for benefit claimants England: June 2013 statistics
Further education for benefit claimants England: June 2013 - transparency data


 
Cllr BarnettCouncillors would normally have access to reports on a proposed development at least a week before the committee meeting. Cllr Barnett apologised for the “administrative error” but said that a decision would nevertheless have to be made at the meeting.
Cllr Jenny Gray said: “Some members only got the documents tonight, so the committee making the decision have had 10 to 15 minutes to look at it.”
NutshellCouncil Planning committee: Urban Village decision
Decision to build new “urban village” in Walthamstow made despite vital information only being made available during meeting
12th September 2013
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Planning permission was granted to build a new ‘urban village’ including more than 1000 properties and business space without detailed reports being made available to decision makers beforehand.
Three members of the council’s Planning Committee on Tuesday raised concerns that they had not been given enough time to make an informed decision on the scheme in Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, after details of the proposal were only provided by officers at the start of the meeting.
Raising concerns with chairman Peter Barnett, Cllr Jenny Gray said: “Some members only got the documents tonight, so the committee making the decision have had 10 to 15 minutes to look at it.”
Cllr Alan Siggers, who was joined by Roy Berg in expressing dismay at the handling of the application, added: “I’m so depressed by the way this has been put in front of me.”
Councillors would normally have access to reports on a proposed development at least a week before the committee meeting.
Cllr Barnett apologised for the “administrative error” but said that a decision would nevertheless have to be made at the meeting.
Developer MacDonald Eagan is set to build more than 500 student flats, nearly 500 private rental units and about 1000sqm of office space as part of what is billed as an “urban village” between the former Standard pub and Hooker’s Road, extending westwards to the reservoir.
Existing buildings will be replaced, except Gnome House, which will be refurbished and turn into a complex including children’s play areas and communal cafe spaces.
Council planners recommended the approval of the ambitious scheme and, despite the administrative error, committee members approved the application.
Anna Alcock, local resident and Director of Inky Cuttlefish, a print business based on the existing site, spoke in support of the development.
She said: “This will help Blackhorse Lane to operate as a community centre, somewhere for children to play and have safe access to the marshes.”
Cllr Geraldine Reardon also supported the development and said local residents had been waiting 15 years for a regeneration scheme of this nature and were particularly pleased there would be a new access road to the marshes.
“They are so close to one of the most beautiful locations in London and they can’t get to it,” she said.
Cllr Alan Siggers was the only member to oppose the scheme, claiming too much was being squeezed onto the site.
“I’m really concerned about the sheer volume of units going on this site,” he said.
“The strain this puts on the infrastructure we already have is extraordinary.
Cllr Siggers and Cllr Liz Phillips also raised concerns about the amount of affordable housing on site, which is currently set at 19 out of 484 units, with 40 available to buy under a shared ownership scheme.
Cllr Phillips said: “19 is appalling. I just hope they offer us more.”
Chairman Barnett informed the committee that the allocation of affordable housing had been approved by an independent advisor to the council and the developers would reconsider the allocation as the three stages of the build were completed.

   
Nick BuckmasterConservative councillor Nick Buckmaster faces firearms offence charge
20th January 2014
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Armed police officers arrested a Conservative councillor on suspicion of a firearms offence on Saturday. The 50-year-old was refused bail.
Nick Buckmaster handed a nine month sentence suspended for two years

16th May 2014
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Geoff HammonFormer Labour councillor jailed for 12 months for £100k charity fraud.
9th January 2014
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Geoff Hammond was responsible for the operations and administration of the Fellowship of St John Trust Association which runs educational projects in the UK and abroad.
nutshellNick Buckmaster refused bail.
21st January 2014
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A Conservative councillor accused of threatening someone with an imitation firearm will remain in custody ahead of a trial by jury next month.
Nick Buckmaster appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court yesterday charged with possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear.
The 50-year-old, of Mount Echo Drive in Chingford, was refused bail.
Conservative group leader Matt Davis said the councillor has had the whip suspended from him.
The Tory group will look to take other appropriate action as events develop, he added.
Cllr Davis refused to comment further.
Mr Buckmaster was elected to represent Larkswood ward in 2006 and re-elected in 2010.
He is due to appear at Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 3.
Armed police officers responded to reports of a fight in progress at around 9.15am on Saturday in College Gardens, Chingford.
Police said reports suggested a man was carrying a gun.
Mr Buckmaster was arrested and an air gun was found at the scene.
It is alleged that he intended to cause a man, Brett Stark, unlawful violence.
He chairs the council's pension fund committee and sits on the finance overview and scrutiny sub-committee.

nutshellFormer Labour councillor Geoff Hammond jailed
9th January 2014
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An ex-Labour councillor who stole almost £100,000 from a Christian charity he was working for has been jailed for 12 months.
Geoff Hammond, who represented the Higham Hill ward from May 2010 until resigning in November when he began to be investigated, admitted fraud through abuse of position last month. He defrauded The Fellowship of St John Trust Association out of £99,493 while working as the charity’s executive officer between May 29 2012 and August 2013.
He was responsible for the operations and administration of the charity including accounts and records. He claimed he took the money because he could not meet growing interest on debt repayments for loans and credit cards.
The 50-year-old was sentenced to 12 months in prison at Southwark Crown Court this afternoon. He said he apologised unreservedly.
A charity spokeswoman said Hammond admitted taking the money on August 5 last year after internal financial controls revealed a substantial figure was unaccounted for. The spokeswoman added that he has repaid the money and given relevant costs to the trust.
Hammond, of Sollershott East in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, was arrested in September.
The Fellowship of St John Trust Association runs educational projects in the UK and abroad. The charity is expected to issue a statement later today.

 
 
Top pravda
wfcwLBWF Pravda
April 17, 2015  
read ..
Press Gazette story highlights the large number of press officers and other communications staff who are now employed in local government
11 permanent staff working in Waltham Forest Town Hall communications
3 full-time members of staff working for Waltham Forest Guardian
wfcwCouncil to defy government warning over freesheet
23 March 2015
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Waltham Forest News will still be published fortnightly according to the council which stands firm on publication decision.
Today, a spokesman for the local authority called Waltham Forest News ‘the best value for money’ - confirming it will not comply with an order given earlier this month to reduce publication from 23 copies per year to four. Last year, Communities Secretary, Eric Pickles MP, ordered an end to what he described as Town Hall Pravdas.
Mr Pickles is a long-term critic of councils who regularly publish taxpayer-funded publicity sheets presented as newspapers, claiming they are propaganda tools which undermine the independent press.
wfcwCouncil warned over 'Town Hall Pravda'
11 March 2015
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Waltham Forest council has received another warning from the government over the publication of its "Town Hall Pravda" and could be forced to scale back production by the end of next month.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has called for the authority to comply with guidelines on publicility and distribute Waltham Forest News only four times a year, rather than every two weeks.
wfcwwfcwTown Hall’s ‘Pravda’:  Government serves final notice of legal action against council for 'flouting the law'
29 September 2014
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Communities and Local Government secretary Eric Pickles  has written to the council's chief executive Martin Esom issuing a final notice to council over the frequency of its tax-payer funded freesheet.
The Local Audit and Accountability Bill is designed to stop taxpayers’ money being used to promote political parties and safeguard an independent local press.
Minister Kris Hopkins said: "Frequent town hall freesheets are not only a waste of taxpayers’ money but they undermine the free press. "Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny by the press and public. "Councillors and political parties are free to campaign and put out political literature but they should not do so using taxpayers’ money.
wfcwPress body welcomes action against council newspaper
2 October 2014
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The Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has welcomed the government’s decision to take further action against Waltham Forest Council over its town hall freesheet.
For more than six years, the Chartered Institute of Journalists (CIoJ) has rallied against tax-payer funded newspapers for harming local independent press and being used for 'propaganda' purposes.
A campaigner said: "We at the CIoJ are only too aware of the damage that these ‘Pravdas’ have caused to local journalism, journalists and indeed local democracy throughout the UK. "It is more than time councils were controlled and prevented from using our council taxes to tell us only what they want us to hear. "Waltham Forest's exercise in vanity publishing has cost residents in excess of £3million over the last six years."
wfcw17th April 2014 - Waltham Forest Council has two weeks to explain why it 'clearly' breached the Publicity Code before the government considers legal action
Waltham Forest News breached the Publicity Code for not being impartial and continuing the fortnightly publication. Waltham Forest Council has been given a fortnight to explain why it ignored legislation to reduce the fortnightly publication of Waltham Forest News to quarterly.
wfcw
wfcw
Comment!

'“The council is mindful of the statutory guidance for publicity...'
Translation: 'We only obey the laws that suit us, until the rozzers actually come and kick down the door.'
Do you call it Anarchy or Nazism when the powers -that- be simply make up the rules as they go along?
nutshell Eric Pickles: WF News is a waste of taxpayers' money and "Town Hall Pravda" - +Comments
wfcw17th April 2014
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Eric Pickles has described the publicity sheets as a waste of taxpayers' money and &quot;Town Hall Pravda&quot; Eric Pickles has described the publicity sheets as a waste of taxpayers' money and "Town Hall Pravda"

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Eric Pickles has described the publicity sheets as a waste of taxpayers' money and &quot;Town Hall Pravda&quot;
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Waltham Forest News breached the Publicity Code for not being impartial and continuing the fortnightly publication

Waltham Forest Council has been given a fortnight to explain why it ignored legislation to reduce the fortnightly publication of Waltham Forest News to quarterly.

Ongar MP and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, has written to the council and four others in London to formally notify them of the laws governing the Local Audit and Accountability Bill, introduced on March 30.

Last week, the council told the Guardian, it will continue publishing the controversial freesheet fortnightly, described by councillors and members of the public as 'labour party propaganda' until formally told otherwise by the government.

A spokeswoman said: "We have not received any formal communication from the government under the new legislation. We will consider our position when we do so."

Mr Pickles has now taken 'formal' action over what he describes as Vladimir Putin style 'Town Hall Pravda' and an alleged attempt to drive local newspapers "out of business" by writing directly to the council's chief executive Martin Esom.

The letter states: 'The Secretary of State hereby gives the local authority known as the London Borough of Waltham Forest notice of a direction that he proposes to give to the authority undersection 4A of the 1986 Act.
'The Secretary of State proposes to direct the London Borough of Waltham Forest to comply by no later than 1 May 2014 with all of the provisions of the Recommended Code of Practice on Local Authority Publicity issued under section 4 of the Local Government Act 1986 on 31 March 2011 having been approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.'

It also mentioned the council has 14 days to make written representations about the direction.

As a strong defender of the local press, Mr Pickles has said he is prepared to take further action against the council for its publication described as 'not even-handed'.

He said: "It is scandalous that bloggers have been handcuffed for tweeting from council meetings, while propaganda on the rates drives the free press out of business. Only Putin would be proud of a record like that.

"Localism needs robust and independent scrutiny by the press and public, and municipal state-produced newspapers suppress that.

"‘Town Hall Pravdas’ not only waste taxpayers’ money unnecessarily, they undermine free speech.

"I have given written notice to councils most clearly breaching the Publicity Code, noting that Parliament has passed new laws to tackle this abuse.

"We are prepared to take further action against any council that undermines local democracy - whatever the political colour," said Mr Pickles.

He also added if councillors want to campaign and put out political literature, they should do it at their own cost.

Formal letters have been sent to the councils responsible for Greenwich Time, Hackney Today, the Newham Mag, and (Tower Hamlets) East End Life.

Waltham Forest Council has been contacted for a statement.

 

Comments
5:27pm Thu 17 Apr 14
Ferdy54 says...
Oh dear. How naughty, I only read it for the Public Notices to see what stupid road scheme they're going to dream up next!!!! 20mph on a main road like New Road for a start!!!

6:46pm Thu 17 Apr 14
Sam Hain says...
I take it this letter from Pickles counts as the 'formal notification' the council required and they will now go quarterly without further demur?

7:00pm Thu 17 Apr 14
NTiratsoo says...
It's been a memorable week for the Council really.
First it lost in court to the Christian kitchen - costing us thousands - purely because it failed to follow its own procedures.
Then, it was revealed to be unable to account for £50,000 paid to a private company; and unsure whether hundreds of thousands of pounds of public money given to the E11 BID Co. was monitored or not.
Now it's being deprived of its Pravda.
Chief Executive Martin Esom is paid way more than the prime minister and obviously worth every penny.
PS Sorry, I forgot the story about the Council no being able to account for 5 children in care, bless them.

7:01pm Thu 17 Apr 14
NTiratsoo says...
Sorry, I wrote 'week' but meant 'week or so'.7:07pm Thu 17 Apr 14
Howard Wolowitz says...
This will run and run unlike WF Pravda

22 April 14
The council's chief executive, Martin Esom, received a formal letter from Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on Thursday calling for compliance of the Publicity Code under the new Local Audit and Accountability Act. read ...
Top olympics
See the Worknet debacle
Top awards
wfcwShock as sport facilities ditched from Stow development
29 January 2015
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Sporting facilities promised as part of the controversial housing development of the Waltham Stadium site have been scrapped.
Developer London & Quadrant were set to build a 15m climbing wall within the main grade-II listed tote building and a BMX and skateboard deck on the upper deck of the car park as part of its housing plan, in acknowledgement of the stadium's sporting heritage.
Building is well underway at the historic former greyhound track in Chingford Road, where 294 new homes of mixed residential use are being erected alongside a nursery, crèche and pocket allotments.
As part of the development project, £3.8million was set aside as a condition of planning approval to improve local leisure, education, health and transport facilities, with £1.75 earmarked for the renovation of Walthamstow's Pool & Track.
Conservative councillors Millie Balkan, Bernadette Mill and John Moss, who represent Larkswood ward, met recently with developers L&Q to get an update on the works. 
They were told the climbing wall and BMX/skateboard deck will no longer be included in the redevelopment of Walthamstow Stadium.
Cllr John Moss, said: "Instead cash contributions will go to help fund the controversial redevelopment of Walthamstow Pool & Track. "This is shocking. Replacement leisure facilities were promised as part of the Stadium project and were one of the few things positive that this scheme offered to south Chingford. "Now they have been removed in a back-room stitch up by the council.
In response, a spokeswoman for L&Q said: "We are working hard to create high quality new homes and facilities for local people at the Walthamstow Stadium site, and are meeting the obligations of the S106 agreement as directed by the council."
However, the council insist the removal of sporting and leisure facilities was suggested by L&Q, adding: "As part of a s106 planning agreement, L&Q has requested permission to provide funding for leisure facilities instead of building a BMX/skateboard facility and a climbing wall on the site of its Walthamstow Stadium development.
"The proposal is currently being considered and no decision has yet been made."
Walthamstow StadiumWalthamstow Stadium
Mayor of London Boris Johnson then decided not to call in the plans, and Communities secretary Eric Pickles was denied the chance to intervene when Waltham Forest Council quickly approved all the final paperwork.
Nutshell Walthamstow Dogs Stadium
stowConstruction of Walthamstow Stadium housing estate starting 'within weeks'
17th May 2013
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Construction work to turn Walthamstow Stadium into a housing development is expected to start within weeks.
Housing developer London & Quadrant (L&Q) announced today it will start work on the 294-home estate shortly. But there was confusion over whether building work was already underway after a digger appeared on the site this morning. However, L&Q said it was its sub-contractor, Oakwood Demolition, which has placed cabins on the site in preparation of the work commencing.
A spokesman added: “We have not yet started work. We look forward to informing local residents of the start date for the project, which we hope will be within the next few weeks.”
Gail Penfold, chair of the Walthamstow Stadium Area Residents Association, said L&Q assured her that Oakwood would now leave the site and residents would be informed before any construction begins.
L&Q won planning permission last year for its housing estate proposals after a long-fought battle against groups comprised of residents who feared overdevelopment and others who wanted a return to dog racing.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson then decided not to call in the plans, and Communities secretary Eric Pickles was denied the chance to intervene when Waltham Forest Council quickly approved all the final paperwork.
Walthamstow StadiumNo more hope for campaigners over Walthamstow Stadium
24th January 2013
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Campaigners against a housing estate planned for Walthamstow Stadium have abandoned hope of launching a judicial review.
Chair of local residents’ association Gail Penfold has said the group will not qualify for legal aid and cannot afford to raise the £50,000-£100,000 needed to take their case against London & Quadrant’s (L&Q) 294-home development proposed for the site in Chingford Road, Walthamstow, to the High Court.
She said: “I’m gutted, just gutted. I honestly believe that if we had the money we would have won.
“The fact that it comes down to money is the harsh reality. That central government and our council failed to listen to the concerns of residents who didn’t want the L&Q build is just tragic.“To lose such an iconic part of our national heritage is very sad.
“We would like to thank Saunders Solicitors, Alun Jones QC, and Shaun Wallace for their commitment, hard work and time spent trying to assist us all of which was given free of charge.”
She added that the association would welcome the people who eventually live at the estate.
The proposals were controversially approved by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in October last year after Waltham Forest Council passed them in May.
Walthamstow StadiumGovernment blasts 'unreasonable' council in Walthamstow Stadium row
7th November 2012
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THE government has said the council acted "unusually and unreasonably" in its handling of plans to turn Walthamstow Stadium into a housing estate, saying it has questions to answer.
It comes amid mounting calls for the authority to be investigated over how it fast-tracked the planning application to build 294 homes at the iconic site in Chingford Road, Chingford.
Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson rubber stamped the controversial proposals last week after initial permission was granted by Labour councillors earlier this year. But it was widely expected that the government's communities secretary Eric Pickles would then have 21 days in which to intervene before the council formally issued final planning permission.
But Waltham Forest Council approved all the final paperwork within 48 hours of Mr Johnson's decision, leaving the government powerless to intervene in time.

Top awards
Cllr Mark RuslingWaltham Forest scoops national awards for excellence
Cllr Mark Rusling - Business awards up, growth and economy down, public procurement awards up, council staff happiness up, WF crime down, NEETs' up, HIV and AIDS up, Poverty up
nutshellWaltham Forest scoops national awards for excellence
wfcwCouncillor Karen Bellamy has been recognised as a leading force in the fight against poverty
13 March 2015
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Higham Hill Ward councillor Karen Bellamy was recognised for her drive to stamp out inequality and help struggling families in Waltham Forest at the Grassroot Diplomat Awards, last week.
Junior Cabinet Member for Child and Family Poverty, Cllr Bellamy has rolled out a number of initiatives to ensure help for the poorest and most vulnerable, by helping to set up food hubs.
wfcwBorough awarded 'white ribbon' status
26 November 2014
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Cllr Liaquat Ali, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: “We want to send a clear message that violence and abuse – whatever form it takes – cannot be condoned.
wfcwFormer Waltham Forest mayor Geoffrey Walker worked on HMS Queen Elizabeth unveiled today by the Queen
4th July 2014
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Councillor Geoffrey Walker of Hatch Lane was employed as a consultant through an engineering company to design, overlook and manufacture a key function on HMS Queen Elizabeth, unveiled today.
wfcwLeytonstone Library has been praised for its 'remarkable interiors' by English Heritage
8th May 2014
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Leytonstone Library has been awarded Grade II*-listed status after being recognised for its ‘special architectural’ and ‘remarkable interiors’.
English Heritage has now given the building built in 1934 credit as being of ‘national importance’
wfcwThe William Morris Gallery won Best Historic Building Management at London Planning Awards.
7th February 2014
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The Forest Road, Walthamstow, gallery was joint winner of the Best Historic Building Management category at the London Planning Awards, along with a restoration project in Roehampton.
wfcwKaneez Shaid, director of marketing at Sir George Monoux College in Walthamstow given MBE at a Buckingham Palace Ceremony
11 February 2014
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MonouxVice principal of Sir George Monoux College announced as winner for the 2013 Reed Manager of the Year competition
5th December 2013
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Walthamstow coupleA Walthamstow couple's menswear boutique is up for a sustainability award
read ...
27th November 2013
Two designers from Walthamstow have been recognised for their ethical approach to fashion. Couple Phil Scott, 36, and Andii Lindsay, 45, set up Cock & Bull Menswear boutique 18 months ago and say it was the UK’s first to be completely sustainable.
stella creasyStella Creasy named Campaigner of the Year
27th November 2013
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The Political Studies Association last night named Stella Creasy Campaigner of the Year. Creasy named Campaigner of the Year for 'legal loan shark' work Creasy named Campaigner of the Year for 'legal loan shark' work. Stella Creasy was named Campaigner of the Year for her efforts to restrict high cost loan companies. The Political Studies Association (PSA) named the Walthamstow MP as the winner of the award last night.
Geraldine GrandidierWalthamstow woman wins international business award
26th November 2013
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Geraldine Grandidier, CEO and founder of Tidy Books, was recognised in New York this month. Geraldine Grandidier, founder of children’s bookcase company Tidy Books, was named Female Entrepreneur of the Year in Europe, the Middle East & Africa category at the 10th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Her business, based in Hiltongrove Business Centre in Hatherley Mews, Walthamstow, makes children’s bookcases which she says encourage children to read by positioning books cover-out rather than spine-out.
lloyd parkPark's recognised as among best
23rd November 2013
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Two parks in Waltham Forest have been recognised as among the best in the country.
Lloyds Park in Walthamstow and Abbotts Park in Leyton awarded Green Flag status
William Morris Gallery William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow has been shortlisted for a London Royal Town Planning Institute award
7th November 2013
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The William Morris Gallery has been shortlisted for a London Royal Town Planning Institute award. Following refurbishments of nearly £4m in 2012, the grade II* listed Georgian building, dating from around 1740, was awarded £100,000 when it won The Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year 2013 in June.
Karen BatchelorKaren Batchelor, disability worker collects care award
6th November 2013
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A disability champion has been awarded for her work in transforming a day centre for people with disabilities.
pie and mashL Manze Eel, Pie and Mash Shop awarded Grade II status
30th October 2013
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An eel, pie and mash shop’s owner is both relieved and delighted for the Walthamstow High Street building to have received Grade II heritage status today. Jacqueline Cooper and brother Tim Nicholls have run L Manze Eel, Pie and Mash shop, along with their parents, since 1986.
Laban RoomesLaban Roomes won shares from Dragon James Caan, is in line for a business award
24th October 2013
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An entrepreneur who started a gold plating business in his Leyton home and then received Dragon’s Den investment was shortlisted for a prestigious business award this week.
Brooks FarmBrooks Farm in Leyton wins several awards at a festival celebrating London's city farms
20th October 2013
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Brooks Farm held off stiff competition from 12 other farms to win the animal show shield and best young animal handler from the City Harvest Festival.
Nadeem AliAchievements of young black people celebrated
16th October 2013
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Mayor of Waltham Forest, Nadeem Ali, with one of 100 award winners at Friday's Young Gifted and Black awards ceremony Mayor of Waltham Forest, Nadeem Ali, with one of 100 award winners at Friday's Young Gifted and Black awards ceremony
Cricket groundCricket ground holds world record history
12th October 2013
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Leyton County Cricket Ground has been the scene of some major sporting events in its near 130-year history – including a world record that stood for nearly 15 years.
Mary FaheyAlmshouse resident in Walthamstow wins London gardening award
1st October 2013
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Mary Fahey, 70, has scooped top prize in the ‘balcony and patio display’ category in the annual London Almshouses Gardens Competition.
London Mayor’s AwardChingford based Promo2u scooped the Mayoral award last week
18th September 2013
A small family business has been recognised for reinvesting profits to employ an apprentice, who has helped increase turnover. Promo2u, based in Kings Road in Chingford, won the London Mayor’s Award for Best Small Business Apprentice Employer last week. Managing director David Cowell said he did not even know the business had been nominated for the award. read ...
GangsWaltham Forest's Enough is Enough uses early intervention tactics to reduce gang culture
The council’s Community Safety Scrutiny Committee heard this week that gun crime, knife crime and other key indicators had dropped in the programme’s first two years.
28th September 2013
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Questions over anti-gang programme - [1]
30th September 2013
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Althea LoderickAlthea Loderick, director of human resources and transformation at Waltham Forest Council
has come 11th on a list of the 26 most influential people in the field of human resources by an industry magazine.
21st September 2013
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Walthamstow For fifth year running green spaces some of the 'best in the UK. Walthamstow Marshes and WaterWorks Nature Reserve have been recognised as some of the best parks and open spaces in the UK.
30th July 2013
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GuardianIn 2011 the council pension deficit had risen to £ -346,550,000 - TaxPayers' Alliance
LBWF deficit paid. Council praised for pension investments.
20 December 2011
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Boris JohnsonMayor of London, Boris Johnson, applauds success of Waltham Forest gang prevention programme at The Soul Project, Wood Street, Walthamstow.
2nd August 2013
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Ascham homes staffAscham Homes staff receiving the award for Best Green Initiative
More council houses have solar panels in Waltham Forest than in anywhere else in London. Ascham Homes manages properties on behalf of the council has installed over 1,000 solar panels last year, leading to potential savings of £145 on tenant’s energy bills.
1st August 2013
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yiagYoung people from Waltham Forest have scooped two awards for their conflict management skills at an awards ceremony in central London. Waltham Forest’s Youth Independent Advisory Group (YIAG), who work with the council and the police to get young people involved in decision making, came home with the award for ‘most supportive organisation working with young people in conflict’.
1st August 2013
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Waltham Forest CouncilCouncil staff took half the number of stress-related days off than they did in 2009
2nd April 2013
Council staff in Waltham Forest are less stressed than their city-wide counter parts, an investigation has found.
The council seems to have bucked the trend which has appeared across the rest of the city as most London councils are seeing a rise in staff shortage due to stress. In 2009 staff at Waltham Forest Council took 4,098 days off due to stress, a number which fell in 2012 to 2,489. - [A time management workshop to keep people productive]
LondonlovesBusiness - London councils hit by staggering staff stress levels amid job cuts
AwardWaltham Forest Business of the Year boss says gong was a 'genuine surprise'
28th June 2013
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Paul Henry, of Paul Henry Architects and Project Managers, was presented with the honour at a ceremony in Covent Garden last night which was hosted by the Federation of Small Businesses.
Mr Henry, who has based his business in Blackhorse Lane, Walthamstow, for 14 years, was presented the award by Councillor Mark Rusling, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, after proceedings were opened by Kit Malthouse, Deputy Mayor of London for Business and Enterprise.
He said: “I was surprised, actually, genuinely surprised, but we’ve got a great team and it’s been a great team effort.
The event is hosted to recognise London’s small business successes.
Council awardWaltham Forest scoops joint national award for excellence
3rd May 2013
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Waltham Forest and Enfield councils are celebrating their joint win in scooping the Team of the Year Award at the National Government Opportunities (GO) Excellence in Public Procurement Awards.
The two authorities set up the Shared Procurement Service which was honoured last week in the Manchester ceremony.
Councillor Mark Rusling, Waltham Forest Council’s Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Corporate Resources, said: “This award is a credit to the teams in Enfield and Waltham Forest and recognises the fact that by coming together both boroughs have benefited from an increased pool of procurement expertise and a unified approach to procurement systems and category management.”Grahame Steed, Managing Editor of GO, said of the awards: “We have finalists from across the UK, with local government, devolved government, health, housing, education, police and transport among the many areas represented – and as impressive as the number of organisations involved is the diversity of the projects they have undertaken.”
Binge drinkingWaltham Forest, the second biggest rise in London for ambulance call-outs to binge drinking.
15th January 2013
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Research by the Liberal Democrats suggests there were 621 cases in 2010, 677 in 2011 and 707 in 2012 - a rise of 37 per cent in three years. The worst borough in London was Southwark, which saw a 40 per cent rise in the same period. Borough party leader Cllr Bob Sullivan claimed the stats showed that the council's Labour leadership was not doing enough to tackle the issue of problem drinking.
Comment: technomist
Police chief Mark Collins Police chief Mark Collins 'proud' of drops in robbery and gang violence in Waltham Forest
30th April 2013
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Chief Superintendent Collins said: “We’re bucking the trend. We are very proud of what our officers are doing and long may it continue.
The borough's top police officer says Waltham Forest is becoming a safer place to live after seeing gang violence drop by nearly two-thirds and robbery fall by nearly a quarter.
Police chief Mark Collins Waltham Forest Borough Commander says figures are inaccurate
14th August 2013
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It had been reported on Sunday that a Walthamstow postcode had one of the worst burglary rates in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Burglary figures stating a Walthamstow postcode has one of the highest rates in the country are inflated by at least six times, according to the Borough Commander.
It was reported in the national media on Sunday that the postcode E17 8HJ was the fourth-worst for burglaries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, recording 39 incidents between January 2012 and June 2013.
However, Waltham Forest Borough Commander Chief Superintendent Mark Collins said since January 2012 there had been only six burglaries in the entire Lea Bridge Ward, in which the postcode covering a few hundred yards is.
fightWaltham Forest '11th least peaceful' place in England and Wales
24th April 2013
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Waltham Forest is the 11th least peaceful place to live in England and Wales, a report has claimed.
The study by The UK Peace Index, from the Institute for Economics and Peace, used Home Office and police figures to calculate the league table.
Overall researchers said crime and murder rates in the country were down and had fallen faster than other western countries in recent years.
And according to the latest Met figures reported crime is also down in Waltham Forest, but the rates are still among the highest in England and Wales.
Last month there were 1,794 offences reported in the borough, compared to 2,176 in March 2012.
Burglary and robbery rates, hate crime, gun offences and vehicle crimes are all down, but violence against people is up slightly.
There were also nine reported rapes in Waltham Forest last month, compared to six in March 2012.
The top ten of least peaceful places to live is dominated by London boroughs, with Lewisham judged to be the worst.
The study claims that the most peaceful place to live is Broadland in Norfolk, where there were just eight violent crimes reported in 2012.
 “Disinvestment in HIV prevention and testing would seriously harm public health, especially in an area like Waltham Forest which has a high rate of HIV.”
Cllr Ahsan Khan, Waltham Forest Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Waltham Forest Council is now responsible for testing and treating sexually transmitted infections, and this includes key national aims like reducing the prevalence of HIV and making sure those infected with HIV are diagnosed sooner rather than later.
"We have committed over £3.5m of our ringfenced public health budget in this first year to improve the sexual health of our residents, and this represents more than a quarter of the funding allocated to us by the government.
  "As we do with any services we commission, we will be monitoring all of our sexual health contracts closely so as to ensure they represent the best possible value for money and that our residents receive the maximum benefit from them.
"Given the borough’s particular needs, we will also be continuing to campaign for extra resources and address an unfair system that sees healthier, wealthier boroughs than ours receive a great deal more funding."
Residents can access confidential HIV testing services locally at Whipps Cross sexual health service, open daily Monday to Friday, and Walthamstow Citizens Advice Bureau on Wednesday afternoons.

 
Top skills
More homes. Less opportunity for skills training?
wfcwFrom Reluctant Gangsters, John Pitts 2007
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"As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away. I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us."
Cllr Mark RuslingThe key thing around youth unemployment is skills.
If you sort out that you'll get young people into jobs. Obviously schools have a role to play around literacy and numeracy, but in too many areas there's a disconnect between what happens at school and work. I want to close that gap. 18 September 2012. Cllr Rusling:
wfcwHuge £1.46m funding boost for historic E17 area announced
10 July 2015
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A £3m revamp of the St James Street area of Walthamstow will be joint funded by Waltham Forest council and the Heritage Lottery Fund
wfcwControversial Friday Hill House plan approved
8 July 2015
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It was last used as an adult learning centre by Waltham Forest council before it was sold on in 2013. A controversial scheme to convert a grade II-listed manor house into flats and build a concrete road through a green for a new cul-de-sac development has been passed.
Residents opposed loss of boundary wall and greenery for 18 home development at Friday Hill House
Waltham Forest council's planning committee last night unanimously approved developer's Atlantic Property Management scheme to covert Friday Hill House in Simmons Lane, Chingford into ten flats.   
wfcwNEET unemployment
November 2013
Waltham Forest experienced a 3.6% rise in NEET 16-24 year old unemployment for 2013 (Jul 12 - Jun 13 v Jul 11 - Jun 12) compared with 2012 for the same period. This compares to an average of 1.4% across all London boroughs.
Downlod NEET data - (see p 13)
wf26 March 2014 - The Waltham Forest Growth Commission has published a range of suggestions aimed at improving the borough's economy
The commission believes Waltham Forest is in an excellent position to encourage inward investment, support business and strengthen skills to lift economic output in ways that improve the lives of its people.
read the report ...
lbwf30 Oct 2013 - Businesses can access training support aimed at improving staff skill levels. Waltham Forest Council announced the programme today as part of a drive to boost the borough's economy, which is one of the smallest in London.
nutshellWaltham Forest Council announces new skills pledge
30th October 2013
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Businesses can access training support aimed at improving staff skill levels. Waltham Forest Council announced the programme today as part of a drive to boost the borough's economy, which is one of the smallest in London.
The authority’s Adult Learning Service will offer any business in the borough with 10 or more employees a bespoke training programme. Some of the courses being offered address leadership and management, customer service, ICT and business regulation compliance.
Visit www.walthamforestclass.gov.uk/working-with-employers for more information.

 
Waltham Forest Construction and Skills Training
wfcwWhy can't Britain build enough homes to meet demand?
11 August 2015
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The UK is in the grip of a housing crisis. In London in particular, entire developments containing hundreds of flats are often sold before construction has even begun.
The failure to build enough homes means that millions of people are stuck renting when they would rather be living in a home they own.
The housing charity Shelter says the shortage is "enormously damaging, socially as well as economically" and is forcing a quarter of those aged under 35 to stay living with their parents.
Just 125,110 homes were built in England in the year to March, according to government figures. That is about half as many needed to keep up with demand, and the problem is compounded every year.
Why can't Britain build enough homes to meet demand?
wfcw ‘Our Olympics': (3) The National Construction College’s Cathall Rd. facility
Nick Tiratsoo
April 10, 2015
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The National Construction College’s facility in Cathall Rd., on the Leyton-Leytonstone border, was presented by LBWF as the jewel in the crown of Waltham Forest’s Olympic legacy. Looking like a super IKEA, looming over the surrounding buildings, and hyped by every Labour hack from Cathall Councillor Terry Wheeler to the Leader himself, here was something, the patter ran, that was really going to impact on local people’s lives, and in particular dramatically diminish worklessness.
Today, the Construction Academy is virtually forgotten, and the rumour is that it will soon close. Locals hope that it becomes a real IKEA, but the likelihood is that it will be replaced by boxy flats.
-
UPDATE
>> more on Construction Skills <<  
 
WFC ConstructionLaunch of Waltham Forest Construction Training Centre, 2011
The NCC and National Skills Academies for Construction launch a new Olympic training centre in partnership with Waltham Forest Council.
Olympic legacy training centre'The poor performance of a construction training centre hailed as an Olympic legacy for Waltham Forest has been blamed on the economic downturn by the council. Last week it was revealed that the Cathall Road National Skills Academy in Leytonstone has failed to provide the promised number of annual apprenticeships for local people.
5 March 2013
NutshellTraining - the Worknet debacle
'Economy to blame' for poor performance of construction training centre in Leytonstone
5th March 2013
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The poor performance of a construction training centre hailed as an Olympic legacy for Waltham Forest has been blamed on the economic downturn by the council.
Last week it was revealed that the Cathall Road National Skills Academy in Leytonstone has failed to provide the promised number of annual apprenticeships for local people.
The authority has been unable to provide figures for how many of the total trainees are from Waltham Forest, but said only 19 per cent of apprentices and funded learners were from the borough.
In a statement to the Guardian, the council's cabinet member for economic development, Cllr Mark Rusling, admitted the apprenticeship figure was "disappointing" but said he was confident people would benefit from the centre in future.
When the £7.24million centre opened late in 2010 the council said it would help train 160 apprentices each year, but in just over two years only 105 have studied there. The authority has been unable to provide figures for how many of the total trainees are from Waltham Forest, but said only 19 per cent of apprentices and funded learners were from the borough.

wfcwLondon Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF) and Worknet - a tale underperformance, failure, and the betrayal of local people.
Nick Tiratsoo
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There is a growing dissatisfaction among young people with the way politics work according to the Study realised by the London School of Economics on "Youth participation in Democratic life". Young people want to participate in politics. - London School of Economics - LSE Youth participation
 
NavigantNavigant Consulting
London Borough of Waltham Forest, Local Economic Assessment, Nov 2010
.
In Waltham Forest skills levels are very low, as in most of EastLondon. Waltham Forest ranks 377th out of 408 local areas in Great Britain on overall skills and qualifications scores. There are more Asian/Asian British unemployed in Waltham Forest than any other ethnic grouping
nutshellA few main points from the report
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Fig 7.5.3: Proportion of population living in Lone parent Households (2008)

In 2008, there were a significant number of people – 56,041 – living in Lone parent households in Waltham Forest. This means a quarter of the borough’s population live in Lone parent households, which is the highest proportion in London, and nearly twice the national average, and nearly 50% more than the London average. Within this, 40,476 live in households where all the children are dependent on the parent, which is potentially a significant issue for the borough as – nationally – an average of 4% of those households have a parent in employment.
A low-skilled borough... Skills levels in Waltham Forest are very low, as in most of East London. Waltham Forest ranks 377th out of 408 local areas in Great Britain on overall skills and qualifications scores.
Males are more likely to be unemployed, and females are more likely to be economically inactive. Ethnic minorities are more likely to be effected by worklessness.

Table 4.9.1: Business and Economy assessment summary 
Large firms (employing 200+) are usually the major drivers of productivity in a local area. While
Waltham Forest has a number of large regeneration sites, and strategic industrial locations that could locate new large businesses coming to the area, the potential for such inward investment is viewed by partners are unlikely.
The Inward Investment market – particularly for Foreign Direct Investment is risk adverse, and companies will not take a chance on locating to an area without a strong track record as a business location.  Ethnic minorities are less likely to run businesses in the borough. 
Despite a large and diverse ethnic minority population, there is a relative lack of entrepreneurialism – particularly among the Pakistani community. This analysis offers the opportunity to promote enterprise among certain communities – which could have community cohesion as well as economic benefits.

Summary: Key Issues, 2010
  • Waltham Forest has a higher proportion of small businesses than London, the Host Boroughs and North East London. 2.6% of employers provide 50.1% of jobs in the borough.
  • Micro‐businesses (employing 10 or less people) are the most significant employer in Waltham Forest – providing 27.1% of jobs. This is unique to the borough among comparator areas.
  • Waltham Forest has the smallest overall production and is the least productive borough in London
  • The borough has low skills levels, which is critical to employment risk, and levels of unemployment and economic inactivity
  • The profile of those economically inactive ‘Seeking work but unavailable’ are very likely to be young and male in Waltham Forest.
  • Men are far more likely to be unemployed in Waltham Forest than women. The differential between rates of unemployment by gender in the borough is the highest is London.
  • There are more Asian/Asian British unemployed in Waltham Forest than any other ethnic grouping. Asian/Asian British residents are nearly three times as likely to be unemployed as White residents, and twice as likely as Black/Black British residents.
  • Economic inactivity is concentrated in the Asian/Asian British population of the borough, and predominantly amongst women.
  • Of those who are economically inactive, the proportion of Asian/Asian British who are “not seeking but want a job” is strikingly low.

 
NEETNEET unemployment - November 2013
Waltham Forest experienced a 3.6% rise in NEET 16-24 year old unemployment for 2013 (Jul 12 - Jun 13 v Jul 11 - Jun 12) compared with 2012 for the same period. This compares to an average of 1.4% across all London boroughs.
nutshellNEET employment data for November 2013
Labour Market Update - November 2013
This report uses the most recent NOMIS employment data, which is published with a three month time lag and covers the 12 month period up to June 2013. Improvements to the processing of employment datasets by ONS mean that datasets will now be released approximately 3.5 months after the end of each quarterly period (three to six months earlier than previously). The next update is due on 22nd January 2014 and will cover the 12 months to September 2013.
Downlod NEET data - (see p 13)
neet

Cllr Mark RuslingThe authority was placed 63rd on gay rights charity Stonewall’s 2013 list of the 100 best employers of gay staff.
Councillor Mark Rusling, cabinet member for economic development and corporate resources, said: “I am extremely pleased with the result this year, especially as it is the highest we have ever been ranked in the seven years that the council has entered the index.
nutshellWaltham Forest Council named as one of best LGBT employers
5th February 2013
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Waltham Forest Council has been named one of the best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.
The authority was placed 63rd on gay rights charity Stonewall’s 2013 list of the 100 best employers of gay staff.
The ranking beats last year’s placing of 92 and means the council is one of just four London local authorities to feature in the top 100, which Stonewall defines as a list of employers working to create a safe and inclusive environment for employees, customers and stakeholders.
Councillor Mark Rusling, cabinet member for economic development and corporate resources, said: “I am extremely pleased with the result this year, especially as it is the highest we have ever been ranked in the seven years that the council has entered the index.
read ... TaxPayers' Alliance, The rocketing cost of council pensions in Waltham Forest, 26 March 2013
Waltham Forest CouncilCouncil staff took half the number of stress-related days off than they did in 2009
2nd April 2013
Council staff in Waltham Forest are less stressed than their city-wide counter parts, an investigation has found.
The council seems to have bucked the trend which has appeared across the rest of the city as most London councils are seeing a rise in staff shortage due to stress.
In 2009 staff at Waltham Forest Council took 4,098 days off due to stress, a number which fell in 2012 to 2,489. - [A time management workshop to keep people productive]
LondonlovesBusiness - London councils hit by staggering staff stress levels amid job cuts

"I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us." - Reluctant Gangsters, John Pitts, 2007
 
Cllr AkramCllr Afzal Akram - "The creation of a fair and equal society in Waltham Forest is a key priority for the Council."
nutshellWaltham Forest Equal Opportunities and Diversity Statement
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Waltham Forest is a diverse borough where diversity is valued and is integral to both, service delivery and employment of staff.
The Council is proud of its rich mix of communities and as the largest employer in the area, it works hard to respond to the changing needs of its population.

The Council is committed to meeting its 4 strategic outcomes contained in its Equality Plan:
  • Promoting equality of opportunity
  • Opposing all forms of discrimination, intolerance and disadvantage
  • Ensuring our workforce reflects the diverse communities of Waltham Forest at all levels
  • Providing fair, appropriate, accessible and excellent services to all
Respecting Diversity is a core Council Value.

Staff Networing Groups at Waltham Forest Council

The Council has the following Staff Networking Groups:
  • Disability 
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
  • Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic
These groups are made up of representatives of employees, the Unions and management. The forums provide direct access to share and discuss employment issues with management.
Equal Opportunity policies and procedures are included in the Council's Framework for Managing People 

Kaleidoscope (LGBT Network)

r
>> more on Skills Training <<  
 
Top transparency
wfcw TPF March 2011: Scandal of non payment of teachers' pensions to the Teachers Pension Fund. Waltham Forest Chief Executive, refused to disclose financial statements of what happened to Waltham Forest teachers’ pensions in 2004. He said legal advice had been taken to stop details from being made public, saying: “It would not be in accordance with the data principles under the the Data Protection Act  and the Freedom of Information Act to disclose this information,” read .
Cllr Loakes Investigation report into EduAction 2003-2009 - Clyde Loakes council leader
Cllr Loakes, an accredited peer in audit, was a comprehensive area assessment (CAA) independent expert for the Audit Commission.
He led a joint administration with the Liberal Democrats from 2003 to 2009.
During this time the council assessment went from being one of the worst to one of the best in the country under the comprehensive performance assessment (CPA) regime.
WFCW wfcw 2014 - Abusers Charter published in Waltham Forest
As Corporate Parents,.Councillors decide that Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks on them would breach the Data Protection Act 1998. read ...
WFCW Records July 2012 - Thousands of town hall records to be destroyed.  
Campaigners said the revelation had the potential to be a "calamity for local democracy" and said it would be impossible to scrutinise the council if crucial records were shredded. read ...
 
wclpFrom a letter to Phillip Creasy, WCLP and East Branch Secretary
"Matters such as fraud and corrupt practice in local government are contagious and should not be covered up. Such maladministration affects not only council’s present performance but also our society’s future. Over recent years, through a lack of political leadership, council lost many talented officers and its direction, and now seems to have no long term vision for the future of our society. Councillors are still unaccountable for the actions of their officers." - 10 February 2012
nutshell Transparency and corruption

Cllr BarnettComplaint by Cllr Peter Barnett
democracy.walthamforest.gov.uk
I am making this complaint as Peter Barnett chairman of the Waltham forest planning committee. I have been made aware by members of the planning committee that councillor Afzal Akram the labour party chief whip has been interfering and attempting to influence the labour members of the planning committee in spite of their quasi-judicial independence under planning law.

Councillor Afzal Akram the labour party chief whip spoke to councillor Karen Bellamy about a future planning application for an education centre/mosque at 274 Higham Hill road telling her she should support the application or she could face deselection at the next election. I understand he told her she should support the Chingford mount road mosque application 2012/0200.

Planning committee meeting 12th September 2012
At this meeting I was aware of a very oppressive atmosphere for the first two applications these are.

Application 2012/0200 chingford mount road
Application 2012/0028 Colgrave public house
Both of these applications are for class D1 education centre/mosques

There was a lot of eye contact and gesticulating from many members of the public but more disturbingly from councillor Afzal Akram this was directed at councillor Karen Bellamy and councillor Ebony Vincent. The meeting concluded the decision of the planning committee was to support officers recommendations on both of the items.

At a later time I was informed by councillor Karen Bellamy that during the meeting she received a text from councillor Afzal Akram the labour party chief whip the contents are as follows.

I HOPE YOU ARE GOING TO SUPPORT THIS ONE

The text was received at 21:10 this was during item 2012/0028 and could be understood by councillor Karen Bellamy as an instruction from the labour party chief whip.

The contents of the text are available from councillor Karen Bellamy.

Events of the 19 th September.

Yesterday (19 september) councillor Ebony Vincent told me she had received a telephone call from someone I know as Shah who is the owner of the Star of India restaurant in Leytonstone.

He asked councillor Ebony Vincent to thank me on his behalf as he was told by councillor Afzal Akram the labour party chief whip that he (Afzal Akram) had reached a deal with me over application 2012/0028 to predetermine the outcome.

I completely refute these allegations.

These matters must be investigated or it calls in to question all recent decisions of the planning committee.

The EMD, and the dog track could be called in for a judicial review because of suspected predetermination.

I would finally state both myself and all other members of the planning committee make decisions on planning issues only in line with our responsibilities as a quasi-judicial body.

I have been made aware by members of the planning committee that councillor Afzal Akram the labour party chief whip has been interfering and attempting to influence the labour members of the planning committee in spite of their quasi-judicial independence under planning law. Cllr Barnett
 
Mosque expansionWalthamstow mosque expansion plans given the go-ahead
The mosque with the half-built extension. The works were halted in 2011 but are now set to resume. EL34609
The International Muslim Movement (IMM) applied to add an extra floor to its two-storey building on the corner of East Avenue and St Mary Road in Walthamstow Village. Plans for an extension at the site, to accommodate a cultural centre, were originally approved in 2008, but work was halted in 2011 when the council complained that it was higher than previously agreed.
It submitted a revised application and those proposals were approved by the authority's planning committee on Tuesday evening. The new extension will include a library, reading rooms and accommodation for an imam, while facilities in the rest of the building will be re-arranged.
A council consultation resulted in 18 letters of objection, including from the Walthamstow Village Residents Association and the Walthamstow Spiritualist Church. They criticised the plans over issues such as the bulk of the building, the impact on parking and expressed fears it could lower property prices in the area. But council offices expressed doubt about the impact on parking, saying most users of the mosque travel there by foot. A council report also said Walthamstow Village would benefit from the works.
 
Cllr Afzal Akram, mosque bid fix
Techno3: 24 Jan 13 - It seems to me that this council committee has failed to carry out its duty, which is, among other things, to protect the public from the machinations of councillors attempting to subvert our democracy
Cllr AkramFormer Labour whip Cllr Afzal Akram given six month committee ban in Waltham Forest for trying to fix planning vote
27th February 2013
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A leading councillor who was found guilty of trying to fix a controversial planning application vote will not be allowed to sit on any council committees for six months as his punishment.
Last month a disciplinary panel found that Cllr Afzal Akram had tried to influence a decision on controversial plans to convert Leytonstone's Colgrave Arms pub into a mosque during a meeting in September.
 
Labour to decide chief whip's punishment for planning fix attempt in Waltham Forest [1]
24th January 2013
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A disciplinary panel which found that the chief whip of the Labour Party in Waltham Forest tried to fix a planning application vote says it will let his own party decide what his punishment should be. The panel, made up of Labour councillors Paul Douglas and Shameem Highfield, along with Conservative Cllr Geoff Walker, decided it would not recommend any form of punishment.
A joint statement from the councillors recommended that "the panel’s finding is referred to the Labour Group to consider whether further action is required in accordance with its rules but taking into account the fact and length of Cllr Akram’s suspension from his role as chief whip".
Under current legislation the panel could have recommended to Cllr Akram's party that he be banned from being nominated to sit on any council committees in future.
It could also have put forward a full motion censuring him for breaching the code of conduct to the full council for a vote.
The Labour group is expected to meet within the next few weeks to discuss Cllr Akram's future.
Councillor Akram News, technomist @ 2013-01-24
 
Labour chief whip in Waltham Forest Cllr Azfal Akram guilty of trying to fix mosque bid, a panel has ruled
22nd January 2013
They judged that Cllr Akram did try to influence his colleague Cllr Karen Bellamy on the planning committee over an application to convert Leytonstone's Colgrave Arms pub into a mosque, which was subsequently approved. Cllr Peter Barnett, the Labour chair of the planning committee who made the allegations, said Cllr Akram verbally threatened Cllr Bellamy with deselection if she did not support one of those proposals.   He also claimed Cllr Akram used eye contact and gestures to pressure Cllr Bellamy and Cllr Ebony Vincent during the meeting.
 
Labour chief whip Cllr Azfal Akram 'conspired to fix controversial planning applications' in Waltham Forest [I]
Cllr Akram denies any wrongdoing.
14th January 2013
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The chief whip of the Labour Party in Waltham Forest tried to fix the outcome of controversial planning applications relating to mosques by threatening a councillor with deselection, his colleague has claimed.
 Cllr Azfal Akram is accused of trying to pressurise Cllr Karen Bellamy into supporting proposals for a mosque in Higham Hill, Walthamstow. He is also said to have urged her to vote through a mosque expansion in Chingford Mount Road and the conversion of Leytonstone's Colgrave Arms pub into a mosque at a meeting in September 2012. In addition, he is alleged to have put further pressure on another of his Labour colleagues and planning committee member, Cllr Ebony Vincent.
Comment: Councillor Akram's Fall From Grace Continues - by technomist
 
Cllr Barnett - "I have been made aware by members of the planning committee that councillor Afzal Akram the labour party chief whip has been interfering and attempting to influence the labour members of the planning committee in spite of their quasi-judicial independence under planning law."

 
cathall boysThe 2009 inspection and panel reports show a concern for the lack of WF community cohesion. Council’s lack of action and its unwavering identification with LGBT issues do nothing to mitigate the problems raised. In the society we have constructed, politicians and policy makers fear but do not respect differences. More importantly, as was said at the WF Co-op meeting, we have no long term vision for the future of our society. We have instead, a political battleground of different ideologies, values and visions.
nutshellLetter to council regarding youth gangs

Letter to Cllr xxxxxx regarding youth gangs
2 October 2011

2 October 2011

Earlier this year, Babcock, CLaSS and the Youth Service, when I had occasion to contact them about youth human rights issues, seemed to have no common agreed strategy or management to address the issues raised. Indeed, they seemed to operate independently iro their actions to assist WF deprived youth. This was my perception at the time. My perception, also is that Council connects neither with itself nor with the many marginalised WF communities, some indigenous, others recently arrived.
  • From the Independent Panel’s Report, 2009: “One of the major complaints that the Council has to deal with is that some communities believe they have been marginalised in setting priorities and taking decisions.”
  • Pitts, 2007 said: “It appears that gang-affected families don’t feel that their concerns are represented, or their predicament understood, by politicians and policy makers. As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away.”
  • The Institute of Community Cohesion Report, 2007, comments: “Many members of the Muslim communities feel unrepresented by the Council and isolated from other statutory agencies: although there are 12 Muslim Councillors, they are all associated with the same Mosque and come from the same part of the Community.“ The report continues: “Similarly, Council officials from the Muslim communities are perceived by many to be partisan, and we understand that some have been placed under inappropriate pressure by Councillors or other members of their own communities.”
  • In 2002 WF council was failing. The Corporate Assessment, giving council zero stars, commented: “There is a history of low mutual confidence between members and officers which is not yet completely resolved.“

For whatever reason, this lack of staff confidence appears to continue to the present day. The officer sackings and resignations before and after the 2009 IP report have not helped raise staff morale, and Councillors still seem unaccountable for the actions of their officers. My 18 May 2011 letter to Martin Esom and the meeting with him, Althea Loderick and three councillors on 23 May, refer.

These inspection and panel reports show a common concern for the lack of WF community cohesion. Council’s lack of action and its unwavering identification with LGBT issues do nothing to mitigate the problems raised.

My feeling is that community fears should be publicly discussed, for it is only then that they can be assessed and solutions found. The Community Safety Board could be an ideal tool for this, if it included people from all parts of WF society. I find a worrying reluctance by council to properly address intercommunity differences.

Further, in the society we have constructed, politicians and policy makers fear but do not respect differences. More importantly, as was said at the WF Co-op meeting, we have no long term vision for the future of our society. We have instead, a political battleground of different ideologies, values and visions.

I concur with Androulla Vassiliou, Commissioner for Education, Culture, Multilingualism and Youth who recently said: "I want to encourage reading in school, at home, on buses, on trains, in the street. We need to address illiteracy wherever and in whatever form it occurs to give young people a better future." Regarding youth and training, she went on to say: “I believe all of us would prefer to fly in an aeroplane with a well-trained pilot rather than a well-educated pilot. Our objective is to achieve the right blend of education and training to suit the vocational world. Investing in vocational education and training is also one of the best ways of combating youth unemployment.”

The central issue facing Waltham Forest education is how to include young people into our society, how to give them a vision of themselves and of their own futures – how to equip each and every single one of them with the skills and knowledge necessary to contribute to become part of society.

 
Transparency InternationalTransparency International research suggests that we not understand the full extent of corruption in the UK and that we need a more coherent and joined up approach to tackling the problem.  This inadequate response has in certain areas created a culture of impunity.  Some of our most trusted institutions are vulnerable, and there are inadequate procedures to detect and prevent corruption.
NutshellGovernment transparency
Transparency InternationalTransparency International UK
Transparency International UK (TI-UK) is the country’s leading anti-corruption organisation and part of the global Transparency International (TI) movement.
Also : http://www.transparency.org/
Transparency InternationalCorruption in UK politics
Policy paper series number three
ParliamentOnly a fifth of voters think MPs are truthful: Watchdog finds faith in politicians slumped after expenses scandal. Nine years ago, 31 per cent of the public thought most MPs told the truth. By 2010, after the expenses scandal, the level dropped to just 20 per cent. Less than a third of the public see MPs as 'competent' or 'dedicated.' Half think politicians are in it for personal gain, according to research on attitudes for the Committee on Standards in Public Life
23 September 2013 - read ...
Alan RusbridgerNSA surveillance goes beyond Orwell's imagination – Alan Rusbridger
Guardian editor says depth of NSA surveillance programs greatly exceed anything the 1984 author could have imagined. 23 September 2013

read ...

 
fightAccording to the latest Met figures reported crime is down in Waltham Forest, but the rates are still among the highest in England and Wales. “Disinvestment in HIV prevention and testing would seriously harm public health, especially in an area like Waltham Forest which has a high rate of HIV.”
nutshellWaltham Forest '11th least peaceful' place in England and Wales
24th April 2013
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Waltham Forest is the 11th least peaceful place to live in England and Wales, a report has claimed.
The study by The UK Peace Index, from the Institute for Economics and Peace, used Home Office and police figures to calculate the league table.
Overall researchers said crime and murder rates in the country were down and had fallen faster than other western countries in recent years.
And according to the latest Met figures reported crime is also down in Waltham Forest, but the rates are still among the highest in England and Wales.
Last month there were 1,794 offences reported in the borough, compared to 2,176 in March 2012.
Burglary and robbery rates, hate crime, gun offences and vehicle crimes are all down, but violence against people is up slightly.
There were also nine reported rapes in Waltham Forest last month, compared to six in March 2012.
The top ten of least peaceful places to live is dominated by London boroughs, with Lewisham judged to be the worst.
The study claims that the most peaceful place to live is Broadland in Norfolk, where there were just eight violent crimes reported in 2012.
 “Disinvestment in HIV prevention and testing would seriously harm public health, especially in an area like Waltham Forest which has a high rate of HIV.”
Cllr Ahsan Khan, Waltham Forest Council's Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: "Waltham Forest Council is now responsible for testing and treating sexually transmitted infections, and this includes key national aims like reducing the prevalence of HIV and making sure those infected with HIV are diagnosed sooner rather than later.
"We have committed over £3.5m of our ringfenced public health budget in this first year to improve the sexual health of our residents, and this represents more than a quarter of the funding allocated to us by the government.
  "As we do with any services we commission, we will be monitoring all of our sexual health contracts closely so as to ensure they represent the best possible value for money and that our residents receive the maximum benefit from them.
"Given the borough’s particular needs, we will also be continuing to campaign for extra resources and address an unfair system that sees healthier, wealthier boroughs than ours receive a great deal more funding."
Residents can access confidential HIV testing services locally at Whipps Cross sexual health service, open daily Monday to Friday, and Walthamstow Citizens Advice Bureau on Wednesday afternoons.

 
Top wfcw
wfcwThe UK just elected a record number of LGBTQ people to Parliament
9th June 2017
read ...
The UK has elected a record number of LGBTQ people to Parliament, election guru Professor Andrew Reynolds reports.
45 out LGBTQ MPs were elected on June 8, a net gain of six.
The 45 represent 7% of the new House of Commons and is the highest level of representation ever in Britain and the world, representing a rise from 2015.
19 CONSERVATIVE (6%)
19 LABOUR (7%)
7 SNP (20%)
There are eight new LGBTQ faces in parliament. All men. Five Labour, three Tories.
wfcwWaltham Forest has over twice the national average of sufferers of the HIV virus.
20 November 2015
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Barts Health and Waltham Forest council have joined forces to mark European HIV-Hepatitis Testing Week, offering a free and confidential health screening in Walthamstow town centre to improve early detection and minimise the risk of people spreading the diseases.
The disturbing stats give the borough a HIV prevalence of 4.8 per thousand people, aged between 15 and 59 years, compared to the national average of 2.1 per thousand.
In the first three months of 2015, 500 people contacted HIV charity Positive East.
wfcwHalf of British Muslims want gay sex banned, says poll
10 April 2016
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Half of British Muslims want gay sex to be made illegal, according to a new poll.
The survey for Channel 4 found there was a “chasm” between views among the British Muslim community and mainstream opinion in this country.
It found 52 per cent of Muslims said homosexuality should not be legal in Britain. Of more than 1,000 British Muslims polled by ICM, 39 per cent agreed “wives should always obey their husbands”, and 31 per cent said it was acceptable for a man to have more than one wife.
The survey also found 23 per cent said they supported the introduction of sharia law in Britain.
Download Tables in PDF
wfcwBroken Rainbow: 'Chaotic' LGBT charity received £1.4m in grants
27 April 2017
read …
A charity for LGBT people that collapsed after receiving £1.4m in public money was "chaotic", according to a National Audit Office report.
Broken Rainbow received at least £120,000 a year from the Home Office between 2008 and 2016.
It received another £30,000 in April 2016 - despite being threatened with closure by Companies House.
The NAO said there were comparisons with Kids Company, the high-profile charity that collapsed in 2015.
Broken Rainbow, which aimed to highlight and combat domestic violence in the LGBT community, was founded in 2004 and was funded mainly by the Home Office.
Between 2004 and 2016, the charity received an annual grant of at least £120,000, with the exception of 2007/08, when it received £30,000.
After its collapse, Conservative MP Bernard Jenkin, who is also chairman of the House of Commons Public Administration committee, asked the NAO to investigate.

LBWF2007 - Waltham Forest Council senior management have a clear commitment to doing more to support LGBT equality in the workplace.
kaleidoscope ...

Starting out at LBWF ...

wfcw
wfcwWaltham Forest HIV figures are higher than most London boroughs
19 February 2015
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Vulnerable adults will be screened for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases in an attempt to stop the spread of infections in Waltham Forest.
Jo Tanner, team leader at Turning Point Open Access, said: “Our experience shows that some people who misuse alcohol and other substances can be at greater risk of unsafe sexual behaviour, and may have a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Dr Monica Lascar, Consultant Physician at Barts Health NHS Trust, added: “We would urge everyone who is offered the test to take up this opportunity
Cllr Mark RuslingWaltham Forest Council has been named one of the best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.
5th February 2013
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The authority was placed 63rd on gay rights charity Stonewall’s 2013 list of the 100 best employers of gay staff.
Councillor Mark Rusling, cabinet member for economic development and corporate resources, said: “I am extremely pleased with the result this year, especially as it is the highest we have ever been ranked in the seven years that the council has entered the index.
wfcwwfcwBiggest ever number of HIV cases in Waltham Forest. Charity Positive East finds the disease 'dropping off the agenda'
13 November 2014
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Positive East’s Paul Fleming:  More people are living with HIV in Waltham Forest than ever before, according to a charity which has been battling to help people come to terms with the disease for almost 25 years.   “There are more people living in Waltham Forest with HIV than there was this time last year, or two years ago. “HIV seems to have dropped off the agenda, which seems absurd to us, since there are more people with the virus in London than ever before.
Waltham Forest Town Hall2007 - Waltham Forest Council senior management have a clear commitment to doing more to support LGBT equality in the workplace. Black youth 2007 - As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away. I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us.
Reluctant gangsters, John Pitts,
Positive EastWaltham Forest council launches an HIV charity and website
22nd July 2013
read ...
Positive East provides information, support and free testing for the virus.
Free and confidential testing is available through the charity on the first and third Wednesday of each month, from 4pm until 7pm, at the Waltham Forest Citizen’s Advice Bureau Centre in Church Hill, Walthamstow.
Positive East, a charity funded in part by Waltham Forest council.
natApril 2013 - According to National AIDS Trust figures, one in 180 people in Waltham Forest has HIV compared to one in 275 in 2002. The national average is one in 650 people. HPAIn Waltham Forest, the rate of persons living with HIV in 2007 was among the highest in the country. This may be a reflection of the local population, which may have a high percentage of persons in at risk groups, such as men who have sex with men and people who have recently emigrated from countries with high rates of HIV. read ...
St Peter's in the Forest Christian churches have been urged to learn more about HIV following a claim members of the congregation are too afraid to be tested. Religious leaders from Waltham Forest are being asked to support a new charity and get educated on the virus. The borough has one of the highest number of people with HIV in the country, it has been claimed.
NutshellThe number of people living with HIV in Waltham Forest is rising, according to research
26th October 2013
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Christian churches have been urged to learn more about HIV following a claim members of the congregation are too afraid to be tested.Religious leaders from Waltham Forest are being asked to support a new charity and get educated on the virus. The borough has one of the highest number of people with HIV in the country, it has been claimed.
According to the National AIDS Trust (NAT), one in 180 people in Waltham Forest has the virus. The national average is one in 650. Just 11 years ago that number was one in 275. NAT statistics also state that 52 per cent of people living with HIV in Waltham Forest are diagnosed late.
Late diagnosis or refusal to be tested could be down to some evangelical Christian churches, according to Reverend Fred Annin, founder of Action Plus Foundation. He said: “The Bible does not condemn people with HIV as cursed. It shouldn’t be taboo to discuss it in churches. “It’s a medical condition and people need medical help. Prayer cannot bring our health back when we ignore medicine. “Some churches have been ignorant and believe misconceptions about the disease. People become afraid to be diagnosed as they risk social stigma and being thrown out of the church.”.
Residents of the borough can access confidential HIV testing services at the Whipps Cross University Hospital sexual health service, open daily Monday to Friday, and Walthamstow Citizens Advice Bureau on Wednesday afternoons.
Churches interested in find out more about what the charity can do for them should contact actionplusfoundation@yahoo.co.uk.

 
flames churchNovember 2013 - An HIV clinic has opened in a church in response to evidence that members of congregations are not getting tested due to a stigma associated with the virus. The clinic opened at the Living Flames Baptist Church in Walthamstow on Sunday.
The ActionPlus Foundation believes church prejudice is deterring people from getting checked
Photo: Bishop Eric Ntorinkansah, Beatrice Nabulya from Positive East and Rev Fred Annin, CEO and founder of ActionPlus Foundation (photo by Sheena Tenkorang)
Nutshell HIV clinic opened at the Living Flames Baptist Church in Walthamstow
27th November 2013
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An HIV clinic has opened in a church in response to evidence that members of congregations are not getting tested due to a stigma associated with the virus. The clinic opened at the Living Flames Baptist Church in Walthamstow on Sunday.

An HIV clinic has opened in a church in response to evidence that members of congregations are not getting tested due to a stigma associated with the virus. The clinic opened at the Living Flames Baptist Church in Walthamstow on Sunday.

Visitors received advice and support from the ActionPlus Foundation, which says there is a damaging prejudice in some church communities about the virus.

Action Plus founder, Pentecostal minister Rev Fred Annin, cites examples of Christians who have been forced to leave their church because of “moral condemnation”.

He said: "The Bible does not condemn people with HIV as cursed. It shouldn’t be taboo to discuss it in churches.

“It’s a medical condition and people need medical help. Prayer cannot bring our health back when we ignore medicine."

The clinic was operated in collaboration with east London HIV Charity Positive East.

This week is HIV Prevention England national testing week.

 
StonewallOur members know that people perform better when they can be themselves.
At £2,000 per annum, membership represents exceptional value for money
Nutshell Council affiliations
S tonewall LBWF
Black boy Islam
Top 100 Stonewall
Employers
Waltham Forest Council, 2011 Top 100 Minority
Employers
Our members know that people perform better when they can be themselves.
"At £2,000 per annum, membership represents exceptional value for money and a cost-effective way of implementing employers’ responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010."
Council comment:
"The heterosexism of wider society is the origin of discrimination against lesbian and gay men."
Getting into the Stonewall Top 100 is great news for Waltham Forest and a real testament to our commitment.
No known list of top employers to ensure cost-effective way of implementing employers’ responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010.
"Only 1% of senior managers employed by the UK's top 100 companies are drawn from ethnic minorities:
download report Kaleidoscope 'snowy peak syndrome'

 
Waltham Forest Town Hall May 2005 - The need for especially strict rules of confidentiality in relation to HIV infection/disease derives from the intense atmosphere of fear, misunderstanding and prejudice that characterises may people's response to the virus. It is important that Waltham Forest local authority responds to the challenge of HIV infection and disease in a humane and compassionate way.
NutshellLBWF Policy Guidelines, Confidentiality and HIV/AIDS
Content
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read ... word

1    Confidentiality – a key issue

1.1       It is essentially a key issue for two prime reasons:
the consequences on the individual and their rights.
the wider public interest of helping stop the spread of infection.
1.2    The need for especially strict rules of confidentiality in relation to HIV infection/disease derives from the intense atmosphere of fear, misunderstanding and prejudice that characterises may people's response to the virus. It is important that Waltham Forest local authority responds to the challenge of HIV infection and disease in a humane and compassionate way. The consequences of a persons HIV status becoming known can be, and has been, frequently disastrous for them. Many have lost their jobs and their homes and have been rejected and isolated by family, friends, colleagues and society in general. Insensitive or even brutal treatment in both personal and professional relationships is only too common. Because of this there is an urgent need to ensure that both policies and practice are designed to protect the privacy of both employees and service users with HIV infection and disease.
1.3      Although the importance of confidentiality is frequently argued in individual terms, it should not be divorced from the wider public interest. Stopping the spread of infection particularly involves engaging people who are, or who could become, infected in considering and implementing specific behaviour change both to protect themselves and others. A lack of confidentiality only alienates people and means they have less confidence in presenting themselves to statutory and non-statutory agencies. Maintaining confidentiality is therefore an important component in preventing the spread of further infection.

2    The Legal Position

2.1      HIV infection/disease is covered by the 1974 Venereal Disease Regulations, which oblige Health Authorities to maintain strict confidentiality of information regarding people with sexually transmitted diseases.
           The DHSS have subsequently stated that this should also be considered as applying to local authorities.
2.2      Further advice to local authorities is incorporated in DHSS Circular LASSL 86/8, which states:
"There remains potential for Social Isolation if it becomes generally known that a person has AIDS and AIDS related infections. It is particularly important therefore that information identifying such individuals is strictly confined to those people who really must know in order to provide proper care and services. Where such disclosure in these circumstances is required, it should be with the consent of the person concerned save only and exceptionally where medical advice indicated that disclosure is essential to proper care or to prevent a serious risk to the health of others. In the case of disclosure relating to children, parental consent should be sought unless the child is of sufficient age and understanding to be capable of giving the consent him/herself…”
2.3      The provision in the DHSS circular which refers to disclosure without consent in exceptional circumstances needs to be interpreted with great care and in the light of the known infection characteristics of HIV. It is primarily relevant to medical case management and will almost never apply in a local authority context. In the strictest sense of the term, there are no people in a local authority sense, who have an absolute 'need to know' that a service user or colleague have HIV infection or disease. This is because good, hygienic working practice is sufficient to protect staff from any minimal risk of infection. Given the limited methods of transmission (via sexual intercourse, the exchange or transfusion of blood or blood products and from mother to baby) HIV is particularly difficult to transmit in a work setting even in close physical contact, dealing with body fluids. Additionally, since the majority of people currently infected by HIV are so far unidentified - even to themselves - it would be imprudent to rely on knowledge of a person's infection as a basis of employing safe working practices. Good infection control procedures must be standard practice at all times and will protect staff against a whole range of infections with which they may come in contact.

3    Principles of Disclosure

3.1      There are however, situations when knowledge that a service user or employee has HIV infection/disease be essential or desirable for the provision of good services or support. It is in these situations that it will be appropriate to seek the permission of the person with HIV infection/disease for disclosure of their infection to specified others. Examples of this more limited "need to know" could include:
3.1.1    When knowledge of infection influences eligibility or priority for a particular service.
3.1.2   When sharing this information will enable a service to be more sensitively provided or support more effectively given. This is particularly relevant if staff have received appropriate awareness training and are able to recognise and respond to the special needs of the person with HIV infection/disease.
3.1.3   To enable management to be accountable for service delivery and quality or to provide the necessary support for staff. In this case, it would be appropriate to consider whether disclosure of identity is really necessary or whether advice and monitoring could be done on an anonymous basis.
3.1.4   Where it is customary for responsibility for service delivery to be shared on a teamwork basis and effectiveness of the team would be jeopardised if information was not shared.
3.1.5   In some cases it will be safe to assume that a person's HIV infection/disease status will be obvious just by the nature of service provided.
3.1.6   Where there are legal requirements for full disclosure of information arising from other governing legislation, e.g. in relation to work with children.
3.2      Being knowingly in contact with a person who has HIV infection or disease is often a worrying and anxiety-provoking experience, particularly for a member of staff who is not fully aware of the nature and direct implications of the virus. Such staff may well feel over burdened by the knowledge and will feel that they need to share it with others both for their own peace of mind and also to check out implications and possible risks to third parties, particularly colleagues. In these circumstances, staff should be advised to discuss the situation in general terms without revealing the identity of the person concerned. It is important that all staff in this situation should be aware of whom they can approach for accurate, sensitive and confidential advice on the subject of HIV infection and disease.
3.3      The key features that should govern the controlled disclosure of information are:
3.3.1   The informed consent of the person with HIV infection or disease should be sought in each instance.
3.3.2   The number of people to be informed of a person's HIV infection or disease status should be kept to a minimum.
3.3.3   Disclosure should only be considered and consent sought, where there are clear operational reasons why this should happen.
3.3.4   Staff who receive information (either directly or indirectly) need to be fully aware of the need to maintain the strictest confidentiality when they receive such information.
3.3.5   The possibility of sharing information in general terms without disclosing identity should always be considered.

4    The Need for Permission to Disclose

4.1      The DHSS guidance quoted at para 2.2 makes it clear that consent is required before information is disclosed in the interests of proper care and services.
4.2      In view of the potentially demoralising effect of a diagnosis of HIV infection or disease, it is an important feature of a sensitive and responsive service that the right of the person with HIV infection/disease to retain maximum control over decisions made about their care and support is acknowledged and honoured in both policy and practice.
4.3      Disclosure of information about a person's infection should only take place with the informed consent of that person. For consent to be informed, it is necessary to share with the person concerned why there is a need to share information, with whom, and what are the likely consequences of their agreeing to or not agreeing to disclosure. In some instances, for example, non-disclosure could mean that the person would not gain access to a service or support to which they might otherwise have been entitled. It is important to be honest about this and to acknowledge the person's right to decide. Equally the person should be advised of whether and how the information about their infection may be recorded and who would be likely to have access to it. People are not always clear about the extent to which information needs to be shared in large organisations and this too must be explained.
4.4      Once consent has been obtained, it must be the responsibility of the person passing on any information to ensure that disclosure only takes place on the terms agreed with the person with HIV infection/disease. It is therefore important to ensure that the requirement for strict confidentiality and any supporting departmental guidelines are fully explained to, and understood by, the recipient of the information.
4.5      On rare occasions, the requirements of other legislation may make the withholding of information difficult or impossible. Good practice and the safeguarding of the relationship of trust developed between the authority and employees and residents with HIV infection/disease demands that consent should still be sought. If it is withheld, it must be fully explained why and in what circumstances disclosure may be unavoidable before this occurs.

5    Implications of Self-Disclosure

5.1      The importance of the person with HIV infection/disease themselves receiving advice and counselling on self-disclosure cannot be over emphasised. Shock and uncertainty following diagnosis can lead to the person inappropriately disclosing information and then subsequently regretting this. Even the best practice of confidentiality within the Authority can be undermined and lead to significant problems. The provision of advice and counselling for the person concerned can significantly reduce the possibility of disruption and the likelihood of service provision/delivery problems.
5.2      Within Waltham Forest confidential HIV counselling is available from an HIV Counsellor, Tim O’Keefe, Tel: 0208 520 3766.

6    Recording Information

6.1      There are no hard and fast rules about the recording or not of information relating to a person's HIV infection or related illnesses. It will be for individual departments to examine their own practice in the light of such questions as:
Does this information need to be recorded and why?
If it must be recorded, is it necessary for it to be accessible on an open file?
Who will have access to this information and is this acceptable?
Who will type the documents, process or record the information?
Has the person concerned been informed about what is being recorded and who will have access? (This should be standard practice).
6.2      All departments should produce clear guidelines for the recording of information about an individuals HIV infection/disease status.
6.3      Obviously it is important not to create systems that by demanding special treatment of particular information, make a nonsense of confidentiality. If this seems to be a problem, it is worthwhile to consider whether or not other 'medical' information is appropriately recorded. If all medical data is kept in 'restricted access' records, the particular safeguarding of information about HIV infection/disease may be less of an issue.

7    Enforcement and Training

7.1       It is important that the Authority as an employer, as well as individual managers, is clear and explicit about the standards of confidentiality expected from staff. This needs to involve not only formal guidance and statements of policy but also active intervention when workplace information exchange or gossip appears to be in danger of breaching confidentiality.
7.2      This Authority may regard any breaches of confidentiality as a disciplinary offence for consideration through the normal recognised procedures.
7.3      The media attention that HIV and AIDS has received with the accompanying misinformation means that many Council employees are reluctant to provide a service as they lack accurate information about HIV transmission.
           In such instances staff would be provided with training and information about HIV. In addition their partners would also be able to attend the training course if they wished to.
           It is not in the interests of any client with HIV to receive services from staff who do not wish to work with them. As far as possible only staff who have expressed willingness to work with people with HIV infection/disease would be asked to do so.
7.4      Most breaches of confidentiality occur, not out of malice but through thoughtlessness, lack of awareness of the consequences or a misguided wish to protect others perceived to be at risk. Sometimes information is disclosed, not deliberately, but through the inferences drawn by others from unnecessary or elaborate precautions or other untypical behaviour. In such instances education may be a more appropriate and effective management response than coercion, so that staff are generally aware of the nature of the virus and of its potential social and emotional impact on people. The importance of awareness training as a back up to any confidentiality policy is recognised by the Authority.
Children and Young Families

           Guidelines for the Provision of Services to Children and Young People with HIV Infection/Disease and their Families

           Glossary
HIV – the virus that can damage the immune system and sometimes leads to AIDS
AIDS – Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A clinical definition indication that a person's immune system is severely damaged by HIV
HIV Infection – term used to indicate that a person is infected with HIV, but has no obvious signs or symptoms to show this
HIV disease – illness resulting from HIV infection. It can range on a spectrum from mildly swollen glands to severe life threatening illness, characteristic of AIDS

1    Paediatric HIV Infection and Disease

1.1       Knowledge and information about Paediatric HIV Infection is constantly changing as more experience is had in dealing with HIV Infection in children and young people. While the way HIV treatment is constant (the 3 routes of infection apply equally to children as to adults) the spectrum of illness and the recommended ways of treating the infections are constantly changing.
1.2      Initial concerns that children with HIV should be isolated from other children to protect the HIV infected child from infection are now dismissed and current (June 1990) medical opinion is that children with HIV should receive all their vaccinations and lead as normal a lifestyle as possible.
1.3      The pattern of illness differs between children who acquire HIV infection. from their mothers during pregnancy and children who become infected after birth.
1.4      Children who acquire HIV from their mothers tend to exhibit one of 2 patterns of illness. Some children become ill within the first months of life, the prognosis for these children is poor and they often die within their first or second year.
1.5      The second group of children do not develop symptoms early in their lives and may grow up being well. The oldest surviving child is now eleven years old. Some of this group of children may develop symptoms, but whether these symptoms are likely to progress to fatal illness is as yet unknown.
1.6      Children who acquire HIV infection later in life, for example, haemophiliac boys or children who have had sex with someone with HIV or shared infected syringe and needles, as yet are showing patterns of illness similar to those in adults.
1.7       It is clear that HIV infection raises many issues for Social Services in our work with children and young people.

2    Philosophy

2.1      The service provided to HIV positive children and young people will be in line with the principle of normal living and equality of access to services with other groups of children and young people. There will be no discrimination in the provision of services to this client group.

3    Testing

3.1      Background   The blood test that is available is not a test for AIDS. A person or child will only be diagnosed as having AIDS if they have an opportunistic infection for which there is no other known cause.
3.2      The test that is available is a test for antibodies to HIV. HIV is the virus that in some people or children can cause AIDS. Antibodies are special chemicals that are produced by the body if it is infected by HIV.
3.3      Young children (below fifteen months old) cannot be reliably tested for HIV: A child below fifteen months of age 'might develop AIDS. Children who develop AIDS early in life currently have a very poor prognosis.
3.4      Being tested for HIV has enormous implications for the child or young person concerned. There is coping with the feelings you may have after being told that you are infected with a virus for which there is no effective treatment or cure. In addition people who have HIV are not currently eligible for life insurance or mortgages and an increasing number of countries around the world have travel restrictions of varying degrees of severity.
3.5      Children with HIV infection are able to take part in the activities that ordinary children do. There is no reason to exclude them from any activity on the grounds of their HIV infection. They do not need special provision made for them on the grounds of their physical health. Information about a child's HIV status does not help carers to provide a 'safer' environment for either the child with HIV or the children around them.

4    Policy and Criteria for Testing for HIV Infection

4.1      There will be no testing of any children or young people looked after by, or using the services of Waltham Forest Social Services Department, unless there is a clearly established need and benefit for the child of a test. Under NO circumstances will service provision be conditional on a child or young person being tested for HIV.
4.2      The informed consent of an individual must be sought before a test is taken. If the child or young person is not old enough or able to give informed consent then the local authority has a responsibility to ensure that it is itself in a position to give informed consent on that child's behalf. This is only the case where children are subject to an Emergency Protection Order or a Care Order. It should be noted that the view of even very young children should be sought.
4.3      If a child or young person requests an HIV antibody test, the child or young person must have an opportunity to have counselling from an experienced HIV Counsellor about the implications of being tested for HIV. In Waltham Forest Tim O’Keefe, provides a confidential counselling service. Tel: 0208 520 3766.
4.4      HIV Counselling should be confidential. No worker should automatically be present during the young person's counselling session.
4.5      A young person may specifically request that their worker be present. In this instance the young person must be made aware that any disclosure may have Child Protection implications that the worker will have a statutory duty to follow up.
4.6      Some young people may disclose the fact that they are lesbian or gay during the counselling. This authority does not regard consensual sex between young people as abusive.
4.7      Children Under Sixteen or unable to give informed consent. For children and young people in care, testing should only be carried out if there is evidence that the health care and management of the child will be adversely affected if the test is not done.
4.8      Children under sixteen who request a test should receive counselling (see 4.3). If the child still wishes to proceed with testing the Assistant Directors (Children & Families), must be informed and their consent sought.
4.9      A child or young person unable to give informed consent. The decision to start the testing procedure can only be made by the Assistant Director (Children & Families). Consent will only be given if the Key Worker can show that it is of benefit to the child or young person to be tested. The decision will be made taking into account the advice of the HIV Co-Ordinator, the Key Worker and whenever possible the child or young person concerned.
4.10    For children and young people accommodated on behalf of parents, consent for HIV testing as of other forms of medical treatment may only be given by the parents, persons with parental responsibility or guardians.
4.11     Specialist medical referrals can be arranged through the HIV unit. It should be remembered that it is not at present possible to test children under 15 months of age for HIV antibodies. An HIV test on a child under 15 months of age will provide information about the mother not the child. As such NO tests on children under the age of 15 months will be carried out.

5    Practice Guidelines on the Testing Procedure

5.1      (1) A meeting should be held in order to consider whether a recommendation should be made to the Assistant Director (Children & Families), that the testing procedure should be started.
5.2      The meeting should be chaired by a Principal Officer (Children & Families). The meeting should be attended by:
The child's Social Worker
The current carer and parent(s)
The Manager of the HIV team
Resource Centre Manager of their nominee
Community paediatrician
The child/young person (the child/young person only to be excluded if there are exceptional and clear reasons).
5.3      (2) If a test is recommended then it will be the responsibility of the Chair of the meeting to prepare and pass a report to the Assistant Director (Children & Families). The report should contain the following information:
Background history
Legal status
Presenting medical problems and medical advice (including the source of the medical advice)
Reason why the request is being made
What purpose the test would serve in terms of future planning and care and management of the child or young person
A list of people present at the meeting
The views of the people with parental responsibility and if there is disagreement, the reasons why the local authority view is being pursued
5.4      If a child or young person becomes seriously ill very quickly then advice from a Specialist HIV Doctor, such as in the HIV team at Great Ormond Street Hospital, would be sufficient without a case conference. The Assistant Director (Children & Families) and the Manager of the HIV team should be kept informed.
5.5      It should be remembered that a form signed by parents regarding medical consent when a child is looked after by the local authority does not cover consent to HIV testing.
5.6      In the event of the Assistant Director (Children & Families) giving their agreement to a test being carried out on a child or young person, the Social Worker or Key Worker for that child will make the appropriate arrangements for pre-test counselling given appropriate age and understanding of the child. For local counselling service see section 4.3.

6    The Test Result

6.1      The test result will be sent to the Assistant Director (Children & Families). A meeting will then be arranged as soon as possible to discuss how the test result should be shared with the young person concerned, what level of support, advice and counselling is required and by whom it will be given.
6.2      The meeting should be attended by a medical adviser, the Manager of the HIV team, and the care plan must contain details of the medical support which will be offered to the child or young person and the carers.


7    Care and Management of Children and Young People with HIV Infection/Disease

7.1       No child or young person will enter care or be accommodated on the grounds of HIV infection alone.
7.2      Decisions about placement of young children with HIV infection/disease will be based on good practice, meeting the needs of the child or young person as a whole, covering cultural, emotional and social aspects.
7.3      Carers do not have the automatic right to know a child's HIV status. Any decisions to pass on this information must be made in line with the procedures outlined in Sections 9 and 10 of this policy.
7.4      All carers, ie adoptive, foster carers and residential staff will be offered appropriate relevant training. Training will also be offered to fieldwork staff, such as family placement workers.

8    Support for HIV Positive Children, Young People and Their Carers

8.1      For the reasons outlined in paragraph 3.4 all young people of an appropriate age and understanding who are expressing the desire to be tested for HIV must receive counselling about the implications of an HIV test result, be it positive or negative.
8.2      Should the test prove positive considerable support will need to be offered to the young person to enable them to live well with the implications of being HIV positive and to maintain confidentiality.
8.3      HIV is primarily a sexually transmitted disease. It is important, therefore, in terms of further prevention of the spread of the virus that all young people in the care of the Council are aware of safe sex practices and receive the necessary support to enable them to implement them in their lives if they choose to.
8.4      Courses on safer sex and counselling will be developed for the staff working with young people.
8.5      HIV is also transmitted through unsafe drug using practices. Young people will be made aware of safe injecting practices where necessary in order that they can protect themselves.
8.6      Carers of children or young people who have HIV infection/disease are under particular stress. The prognosis for the child or young person is uncertain and they will also have to deal with unpredictable community attitudes if the prognosis becomes known.
8.7      In addition many carers are unhappy using normal facilities for respite care for these children for fear of the reactions of the friends or relatives who they would normally use should they find out the child's HIV status. Thought must therefore be given to providing appropriate resources and systems to support these placements.


8.8      A key support to carers will be the provision of good information. Knowledge about HIV infection in children and young people is developing every day. Carers should be introduced to the Social Services HIV Unit as one potential source of up-to-date information about Paediatric HIV infection. In addition carers should have access to up-to-date training and information events.

9    Child Protection

9.1      All child protection discussions and plans are to prevent abuse of the child or children involved. The relevant routes of transmission of HIV are:
penetrative sexual intercourse anal or vaginal with penis
HIV infected blood getting into blood stream of uninfected person (sharing needles and syringes, infected blood transfusions/products)
9.2      In both of the above cases if the child was at risk of HIV infection from the abuser then the child would, irrespective of the HIV status of the abuser, be seen as at risk from, or experiencing abuse. (There have been no cases worldwide of HIV being transmitted through biting).
9.3      It is important to remember that the HIV status of an actual or alleged abuser is not of relevance in child protection conferences.
9.4      In Child Protection Child Conferences no information about HIV status should be disclosed in any way.
9.5      The HIV status of an adult will not be seen as a contributory factor towards registration.
9.6      Other agencies may raise HIV. It is the responsibility of Social Services representatives to ensure that the issues about HIV do not become the focus of discussion. The protection of the child is always the issue.
9.7      The HIV testing of a child or young person is not an appropriate response to their actual or alleged abuse irrespective of the HIV status of the abuser.
9.8      If a child or young person requests an HIV antibody test, the child or young person must have an opportunity to have counselling from an experienced HIV Counsellor about the implications of being tested for HIV: In Waltham Forest Tim O’Keefe, provides a confidential counselling service. Tel: 0208 520 3766.
9.9      HIV counselling should be confidential. No worker should automatically be present during the young person's counselling session. SAME AS 4.4.
9.10    A young person may specifically request that their worker be present. In this instance the young person must be made aware that any disclosures may have Child Protection implications that the worker will have a statutory duty to follow up.


10  Confidentiality

10.1    The implications of a breach of confidentiality for a child with HIV infection/disease and their carers are potentially devastating. Peoples reactions to HIV infection are often irrational and based on inaccurate information about the routes of HIV transmission. Information that a child has HIV infection does not assist the carer(s) to provide a safer environment for that child or for other children. It is therefore ESSENTIAL that the number of people who are aware of a child's or young person's HIV status be kept to a minimum.
10.2    If a carer or young person chooses to disclose information about their HIV status it is the responsibility of the person to whom it is disclosed to pass on the information to their senior manager (for example the Officer in charge). The member of staff should not disclose this information to any other person.
10.3    The Officer in Charge should then work with that member of staff to identify if the carer or child/young person has any specific needs around HIV infection. For example a need for increased support or specialist information.
10.4    The HIV unit can be contacted to provide specialist advice if necessary. It is not necessary to disclose the identity of the specific service user or users when seeking this advice.
10.5    If the Senior Manager wishes to share the information further then they need to ask the following set of questions:
What information needs to be shared? Why?
Has the young person/carer(s) given their informed consent for this information to be shared?
Who will have access to this information? Is this acceptable?
What are the clear operational reasons for sharing this information?
What are the advantages to the child/young person of sharing this information?
What are the disadvantages to the child/young person of sharing this information?
What are the advantages to the carer(s) of sharing this information?
What are the disadvantages to the carer(s) of sharing this information?
Is there any way to enable the child/young person and or carer(s) to get the advantages already outlined without disclosing the information and/or identity
Why not?
10.6    If there are clear benefits to the child/young person or their carer(s) of the information being shared further and the carer(s) or young person agree then the information may be shared according to the procedures outlined below in 11.1.
10.7    If there is thought to be a need to share the information with an organisation or individual not covered in these guidelines the Senior Manager must discuss the reason for that referral or disclosure with either the manager of the HIV team or the Assistant Director (Children & Families) BEFORE disclosing the information.

11  Assessing Other Services

11.1     Normally there is no need to disclose the HIV status of the child or those with parental responsibilities.
11.2     A worker may consider that it is in the interests of the child that their HIV status be disclosed. In this case the worker with their Manager must meet with the Assistant Director (Children & Families), and adviser from the HIV Unit. The Assistant Director (Children & Families) will decide whether the HIV status of the child may be disclosed and to whom.
11.3     In making permanent placements the HIV status of the child should be disclosed to the parental carer(s).
11.4     All referrals for permanence will be treated anonymously and the names and addresses deleted. The name and address of the child must not be referred to in professional discussions and referral meetings.
HIV Infection/AIDS

1    Introduction

1.1       AIDS is short for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. It refers to the destruction - by a virus known as HIV (Human Immuno - Deficiency Virus) of the body's natural ability to fend off infections. Not everyone infected with the virus develops AIDS, although the virus remains in their body for the rest of their lives.
1.2      Waltham Forest Council recognises that the seriousness of HIV infection and AIDS requires a clear statement of the authority's position on related issues which affect the local authority as an employer, service provider and promoter of public health.
1.3      The purpose of this document is to provide a statement of the Council's policy on HIV infection/AIDS, in pursuance of the protection and promotion of health in the Borough, and the welfare of the authority's employees and the wider public it serves.
1.4      The council will keep under review and monitor the effectiveness of its policy on HIV infection/AIDS, in order to implement any revisions necessary to achieve objectives of this policy, in light of new information and other nation-international experience and guidance. Any amendments to the Policy arising from a review will be made subject to consultation with appropriate Trade Unions.

2    Recruitment and Selection

2.1      The council will adhere to the Equal Opportunities Policy in all recruitment and selection of staff.
2.2      The medical fitness of applicants who meet all other appointment criteria shall be determined through the normal process of consideration by the Council's Medical Adviser.
2.3      The council will ensure that internal or external candidates for posts in the authority's services are not discriminated against in recruitment and selection on the grounds that they are HIV anti-body positive.
2.4      The council will not require current or future employees, or applicants for posts in the authority's services to be tested for HIV anti-body.
2.5      If an applicant is known to have AIDS then the council will need to take a reasoned view based on all circumstances such as medical advice, the person's ability to work satisfactory at the time of appointment, nature of the post applied for, etc., before offering employment. The medical adviser may, at his/her discretion, pass an applicant as fit for employment whilst at the same time advise against that employee's entry to the superannuation.


3    Sickness and Continuing Employment

3.1      People with HIV infection/AIDS will be entitled to the same conditions of employment in respect of sickness absence and pay as all other employees.
3.2      Employees will be given every opportunity to discuss redeployment to alternative jobs but will not be prevented from continuing work, except where, through the standard procedures, they are not deemed medically fit to do so.
3.3      Sympathetic consideration will be given to requests from employees for special leave, in accordance with normal arrangements, in order to care for people for whom they have responsibility who are ill as a consequence of HIV infection.

4    Counselling and Support

4.1      If it becomes known that an employee has HIV infection/AIDS the council will ensure that resources are available to provide adequate support and any reasonable arrangements to enable work to be continued.
4.2      The council's staff welfare officer will be available to employees for initial counselling on a confidential basis, as a route to more specialist counselling and support. The council accepts that employees with HIV infection/ AIDS may prefer such counselling to be provided by an external specialist service. Time-off with pay will be granted as necessary to attend for counselling.

5    Confidentiality

5.1      The local authority will take all steps to ensure that strict confidentiality is maintained where an employee or receiver of the authority's services has HIV infection/or AIDS. Only those with a need to know will be informed, and normally only with the consent of the person with AIDS.
5.2      The local authority will regard any breach of confidentiality in such circumstances as a disciplinary offence to be dealt with through the Council's procedures.
5.3      An employee who discriminates against another employee or user of a service because she/he has HIV infection or AIDS, shall be potentially guilty of a disciplinary offence which may be dealt with through disciplinary procedures recognised under the council's Equal Opportunities Policy.

6    Education and Training

6.1      The council recognises that its employees may have fears and uncertainties about HIV infection/AIDS. The council will take all necessary steps to ensure:
the development of appropriate education and training which will promote a better understanding about AIDS related matters:
that HIV infection/AIDS related training is included within its central and departmental training programme:
that appropriate employees receive clear guidelines on health and safety procedures on how to avoid accidental cross-infection with HIV and other infectious diseases.
all council employees will be expected to take advantage of special training and equipment offered in relation to providing services for people with HIV infection/AIDS.

7    Service Provision

7.1       The council will ensure that no individual will be denied a service to which they are entitled to on the grounds that they have HIV infection/AIDS. However, if a person is not prepared to have this information shared with those who need to know, it may be necessary to advise that person that some Council services will be more difficult to provide.
7.2      The council will require all relevant departments to produce plans relevant to the needs of people with HIV infection/AIDS, following the broad principles of the Policy Statement.

8    Collaboration

8.1      The council will seek to cooperate with local Health Authorities and other relevant organisations, or groups to ensure the development of a co-ordinated approach to:
prevent the spread of HIV infection in the Borough
the provision of advice and counselling to those concerned about HIV infection/AIDS related matters; and
training and education

9    Public Health Legislation

9.1      Waltham Forest Council will endeavour to avoid having recourse to Sections 37, 38 and other related sections of the 1984 Public Health (Control of Diseases) Act for people with AIDS.
9.2      The council recognises its primary responsibility to protect the general public from infectious disease. However, in enforcing the provisions of the legislation, the District Medical Officer and Chief Environment Health Officer, as duly appointed Proper Officers, will normally ensure that the Director of Social Services and Director of Housing, together with such other senior officers as may be pertinent, shall be consulted.
9.3      If the use of the Act becomes necessary the council will ensure that this is done wisely and with compassion.

10  Implementation of the Policy

10.1    All departments of the council will be required to produce clear guidelines on how they will implement this policy, within the broad framework as employers and as providers of services (in respect of which other policy statements will apply).
10.2    All managers will be responsible for the implementation of this and other equal opportunities policies. Within each department, a lead officer shall act as liaison officer with central personnel and other agencies dealing with employment and all other aspects of the Council's responsibilities on HIV infection/AIDS.
10.3    The council will ensure that the various employees' trade unions are consulted on the details of implementation of this policy and its further development. It recognises that their support and understanding of the issues involved will play an important part in the educational process.

 

Document reference CS348  Ÿ May 2005

11 May 2005 Ÿ DW
v:\jobs\hiv confidentiality policy, 2005\cs348.doc

last saved 11 May 2005 Ÿ rev

 


 
LBWF2007 - Waltham Forest Council senior management have a clear commitment to doing more to support LGBT equality in the workplace.
nutshell Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)

Following from a Management Development Programme (MDP) project report in 2005, the Council supported staff to set up a steering group to help remove the barriers faced by LGBT staff.
read ...
The steering group then developed a LGBT staff network which was launched on IDAHO on 17 May 2007.
LBWF Management board LGBT champion
Senior management have a clear commitment to doing more to support LGBT equality in the workplace.

Michelle Moloney, Director of Residents First is the Council's LGBT Champion. Michelle will be working with the LGBT Steering Group and other stakeholders and leading on Council-side communications with all staff on LGBT issues to raise their profile and ensure that all staff have access to LGBT information and support. Michelle will be working closely with the Chairs of the Council's LGBT Steering Group and meeting with Daniel Danso of Stonewall, the lesbian gay and bisexual charity as well as linking into the valuable work done by the LGBT Champion at Ernst and Young who has offered support.

The Council is committed to treating all its staff with respect and dignity and creating a working environment that is safe, harmonious and free from harassment and victimisation. The Council values its diverse workforce. By reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve we can improve the quality of our services and send out a positive message about inclusion and equality of access. For example the Council was recently named by Stonewall as the highest achiever in the capital and third nationally for work in youth involvement projects supporting young people to speak out against homophobia. This achievement was made possible by the work of our LGBT colleagues.

Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)

The original staff network was launched on 17 May 2007. The group was refreshed with a new name on our 5th birthday on 17 May 2012 at the event to mark IDAHO – International Day to end Homophobia On this day Kaleidoscope extended its membership to NHS colleagues in North East London Foundation Trust

Who can attend the group

Kaleidoscope is open to any LGBT member of staff working for Waltham Forest Council in schools in Waltham Forest or in NELFT.

Benefits to Waltham Forest Council of having Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)

Advocacy and promotion
Provides point of contact for staff and voice for LGBT staff within LBWF and schools
Development of LGBT awareness raising course

Recruitment and retention
Shows visible commitment to diversity internally and externally
Stonewall kite mark = Employer of choice

Community cohesion and engagement
The present of the network and the borough’s engagement in LGBT events such as marking IDAHO  helps the borough reach the community of LBWF and demonstrates the boroughs commitment to equality and diversity and that the borough is a  service provider of choice

Staff engagement
The network is of benefit to individual LGBT members of staff and can also be a resource for non LGBT staff, in relation to consultation on strategies etc, also a  management and  staff support resource

Benefits for staff of having and being part of Kaleidoscope (LGBT staff network)

Point of support
A named point of contact for the authority and for schools which is anonymous and confidential and can provide advice and sign posting.
Mentoring available from named contacts.

Self-development
Opportunity to learn and enhance personal skills around

  • Event organisation
  • Negotiation skills through links with senior management and HR

As well as opportunities to networking across the borough and  with external partners

Representing your borough
Opportunity to represent  Waltham Forest externally at events such as Pride etc.

Kaleidoscope meeting dates 2012/13
3 July 2012 Pre Pride meet up at Walthamstow Town Hall
7 July 2012 – taking part in WorldPride parade with the other 3 London Boroughs who are part of Stonewall top 100 (let us know if you want to take part)
18 October 2012 Meet up in Town Hall
6 December 2012 winter social event venue and date to be confirmed
February 2013 marking LGBT history month – date and venue to be confirmed depending on events taking place

Stonewall annual workplace questionnaire

Stonewall, an organisation that works to achieve equality and justice for lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, is conducting their annual survey to identify Britain’s top employers for lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) staff. All LGB staff are encouraged to participate in this survey. More on the questionnaire

About these pages

This site aims to:
  • Keep you updated with the work of the Steering Group
  • Keep you informed of the LGBT Staff Network Events
  • Inform staff of their rights under the Framework for Personal Practice and Managing People, as well as the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and the forthcoming Equality Act 2006.
  • Help the Council progress, we have recently signed up to Stonewall’s Diversity Champions Programme in 2006. This programme is the leading good practice forum on sexual orientation. Over 300 organisations have signed up to the programme.
Contacts
For further information on the Staff Network or Steering Group see the links on the right or contact the Steering Group Chairs:

Suzanne Elwick
WFSCB business manager
Phone: 020 8496 3683
Email:suzanne.elwick@walthamforest.gov.uk
Duncan Pike
Assistant Director - Finance
Phone: 020 496 3502
Email:duncan.pike@walthamforest.gov.uk
John Harold
Jenny Hammond School
Phone: 020 8519 3977
Email: john.harold@jennyhammond.waltham.sch.uk
Wendy Anderson
Walthamstow School for Girls
Phone: 020 8509 9446
Email: wendy.anderson@wsfg.waltham.sch.uk
Email lgbt@walthamforest.gov.uk

 
Waltham Forest: Investors in People, an Equal Opportunity Employer
wfcwWaltham Forest Council:
one of the best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.
5th February 2013
read ...
wfcwMartin Esom, Chief Executive
Annual salary: £180,000
2013
read ...
"I played by the rules of politics as I found them ..."
nutshell Council one of the best LGBT employers
Cllr Sweden5th February 2013
read ...
Waltham Forest Council has been named one of the best places to work for lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people.
The authority was placed 63rd on gay rights charity Stonewall’s 2013 list of the 100 best employers of gay staff.
The ranking beats last year’s placing of 92 and means the council is one of just four London local authorities to feature in the top 100, which Stonewall defines as a list of employers working to create a safe and inclusive environment for employees, customers and stakeholders.
Councillor Mark Rusling, cabinet member for economic development and corporate resources, said: “I am extremely pleased with the result this year, especially as it is the highest we have ever been ranked in the seven years that the council has entered the index.
TPA: The rocketing cost of council pensions. Mar 13
Waltham Forest CouncilCouncil staff took half the number of stress-related days off than they did in 2009
2nd April 2013
read ...
Council staff in Waltham Forest are less stressed than their city-wide counter parts, an investigation has found.
The council seems to have bucked the trend which has appeared across the rest of the city as most London councils are seeing a rise in staff shortage due to stress.
In 2009 staff at Waltham Forest Council took 4,098 days off due to stress, a number which fell in 2012 to 2,489.
LondonlovesBusiness -
llbLondon loves Business
2 April 2013
read ...
London councils hit by staggering staff stress levels amid job cuts
Waltham Forest Council saw the level of days off taken due to stress decrease from 4,098 in 2012 to 2,489 in 2009.

nutshellComment !
Council has employed some staff on effectively zero contracts with an average part time wage of about £10 per day with no pension offered when first employed.   This led directly to future poverty for some council staff.

Some of these low paid staff were ‘promoted’ to interview and employ other staff on the same conditions of employment.

Also, it seems, staff pension payments were used to fund other staff salaries.  Chief Executive Martin Esom knows what happened, has refused to explain and is set to destroy the evidence of council’s culpability. read ....

He has taken legal advice to stop details from being made public, saying: “It would not be in accordance with the data principles under the the Data Protection Act and the Freedom of Information Act to disclose this information.”

EduAction, and Oxford County Council

From 2001
EduAction, a joint venture between Nord Anglia, Amey and Waltham Forest Council, was managing education and teachers' pensions in the borough. Oxfordshire Local Education Authority provided advice to the partnership.
2001 BBC report ...


May 2001, Citywire reported shares in Amey were up 4p at 426p, while Nord Anglia surged 21p to 256p. A jump in underlying profits and news of a contract win boosted shares in Nord Anglia Education.
Citywire report ...

2005, Cabinet Member for Lifelong Learning, Cllr Chris Robbins, said: 'In two years Waltham Forest has moved from being an education authority judged by OfSTED as 'unsatisfactory' to one that in early 2005 was found to be highly satisfactory. EduAction has played a vital role in this rapid and sustainable improvement.'
NordAnglia Education news ...
2005 results ...

On 3 December 2009, an Independent External Panel censured Waltham Forest Council for serious widespread financial mismanagement. The report consisted of 10 sections and protects the anonymity of councillors, officers and others by deleting (redacting) those parts of the report which identified individuals. The contents of the EduAction audit report are strictly confidential and were circulated only to Cabinet members and other key officers.
2009 Waltham Forest Council report...

On 31 March 2011, Settlement reached over Youth At Risk dispute.
EduAction agreed to pay council an undisclosed sum. The figure has been withheld on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. Both parties will pay their own legal costs. The agreement means that neither EduAction or the council accepts liability or wrongdoing. They have also agreed to “co-operate, consult and work with each other” in a defence against a claim being made by an undisclosed person.
June 2011, Waltham Forest Guardian report
...
Problem? What problem?

 
hiv aids 24 April 2013 - Waltham Forest Council has been urged to consult local charities and those living with HIV after it was revealed to have one of the highest prevalences of people living with the disease in Britain.
NutshellWaltham Forest has one of the highest numbers of people living with HIV in Britain.
hiv aidsWaltham Forest Council 'should consult experts like Positive East to tackle HIV'
 24th April 2013
read ...
Waltham Forest Council has been urged to consult local charities and those living with HIV after it was revealed to have one of the highest prevalences of people living with the disease in Britain.
National AIDS Trust (NAT) is calling for the authority to prioritise HIV and AIDS prevention after the government handed more control to councils over public health budgets this month.
The council has been allocated £11.2 million to spend by the government, but the charity claims none of that will be ringfenced to tackle the disease.
A spokeswoman said the council must not only ringfence funding, but work with local charities like Positive East to tackle the problem.
She said: “They should work with people already working within the borough with those living with HIV and find out what their recommendations are, as well as talking to people themselves with HIV.
“They could get a lot of useful advice from them.”
According to NAT figures, one in 180 people in Waltham Forest has HIV compared to one in 275 in 2002.
The national average is one in 650 people.
NAT statistics also state that 52 per cent of people living with HIV in the borough have been diagnosed late, meaning they have a shorter life expectancy and a greater chance of having passed the disease on.
That is compared to a London-wide high of 62 per cent in Redbridge and 60 per cent in Newham.
The spokeswoman said urban areas often have a higher rate of infection due to more people living there from more severely affected communities including Africans and gay and bisexual men.
She said: “It’s not really the culture that affects it but when you have a higher prevalence in a community, people tend to interact within that community and not as much outside it. So diseases are spread more commonly.”
Deborah Jack, chief executive of NAT, said: “We need strong commitment to HIV from Waltham Forest’s local councillors to ensure HIV prevention and testing continue to receive the necessary funding.
Council urged to ringfence money to tackle HIV as National AIDS Trust states Waltham Forest has one of highest ratio of infections in UK
22nd April 2013
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Waltham Forest Council is being urged to ringfence funding for HIV prevention after the borough was revealed to have one of the highest prevalence of people living with it in Britain.
National AIDS Trust (NAT) is calling for the authority to prioritise HIV and AIDS prevention after the government handed more control to councils over public health budgets this month.
The council has been allocated £11.2 million to spend by the government, but the charity claims none of that will be ringfenced to tackle the disease.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of NAT, said: “We need strong commitment to HIV from Waltham Forest’s local councillors to ensure HIV prevention and testing continue to receive the necessary funding.
“Disinvestment in HIV prevention and testing would seriously harm public health, especially in an area like Waltham Forest which has a high rate of HIV.”
According to NAT figures, one in 180 people in Waltham Forest has HIV compared to one in 275 in 2002.
The national average is one in 650 people.
NAT statistics also state that 52 per cent of people living with HIV in the borough have been diagnosed late, meaning they have a shorter life expectancy and a greater chance of having passed the disease on.
The Guardian has approached the council for comment.

 
hivAugust 2013 -Number of people with virus in UK at record level of nearly 100,000. Change in law will allow DIY test results to be read at home
NutshellHome test for HIV given go-ahead
12 August 2013
New law will let users know if they have virus with simple saliva swab
read ... .
At present it is illegal to test for HIV at home and read the result yourself, although people can take a sample themselves, send it off for testing in a laboratory and receive the result at a later date.
Now a change in the law will mean a saliva test will quickly give the user a ‘negative’ or a ‘positive indication’ result.
The Health Protection Agency says the number of people in the UK with the virus is at a record level of nearly 100,000.
But a quarter of people who have the human immunodeficiency virus don’t know they are infected.
Health experts hope that making the tests more readily available will help reduce infection rates.
Officials from the Department of Health are expected to say that home testing may help people detect their infection earlier on - which could lead to more effective treatment options and reduce the infection spreading.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry is expected to say: 'The stigma and fear surrounding HIV may mean that some people are afraid or reluctant to go to a clinic to be tested.
'I hope that by removing the ban on self-testing kits people will be able to choose the right time and right surroundings to take a test and, if positive, help them get the best treatment available.
'Clear information on how to get immediate support will be provided with the kits.”
Lisa Power, policy director of the Terrence Higgins Trust, welcomed the decision, which the charity has campaigned for. ‘The response to our highly successful home sampling scheme shows many people who have never tested before, or who have put off a visit to a clinic, are willing to test at home,’ she said.
‘Anything that encourages these people to test, take control of their health and get treatment is a welcome advance.”
Unaware: Around 25,000 people in the UK are living with HIV without knowing it
Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said: 'With around 25,000 people in the UK living with HIV without knowing it, it is vital that we offer as many options as possible to take an HIV test.
'Self-testing kits have an important role to play in reaching people who are uncomfortable or unable to test in a sexual health clinic or other healthcare setting.
'We know that some people are already buying poor quality self-testing kits online from overseas which is why NAT have campaigned for a change in the law.
'Legalisation is an important step to ensure that the tests available are accurate, safe and appropriately regulated.'

 
Top WMAG
Caribbean Roseau, the capital of Dominica. twinned with Waltham Forest
Twinning Twinning Dominica
Richard Etienne with Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica and Cllr Ali, (Mayor)
A film-maker is calling on the council to strengthen relations between the borough and its Caribbean twin, Roseau, the capital of Dominica. Richard Etienne, 29, spoke at the authority’s Twinning Association general meeting last week as part of a documentary he is making about his first visit to the island. He passed on a message from the Dominican Prime Minister, who said he hopes the twinning agreement can prosper in the future. Waltham Forest, Antigua and  Barbuda and Dominica Twinning Association
The Mayor of Waltham Forest is patron
mydominicastory.tumblr.com
NutshellDominica. twinned with Waltham Forest
Press Release - My Dominica Story
Twinning Information
The Twinning Association arose from an initiative by Dominican born Mr Franklyn Georges who was a Councillor of Waltham Forest and had been the first African-Caribbean person to become the Mayor of Waltham Forest in the 1990/91 municipal year.
In 1992 the idea of twinning was discussed at a public meeting and this was followed by the establishment of a steering committee leading to the signing of the Town Twinning Charters in April 1999. 
The associations objectives are mainly to promote friendship, information exchange and mutual understanding of cultural, recreational and commercial activities of the linked areas.
The Twinning Association is currently planning to celebrate in 2014, 15 years since the signing of the Charters. Local membership and support are being actively encouraged

Further information from:

Richard Etienne
richard.etienne@hotmail.co.uk
TA Press Officer, Ms Mervin Caesar-John 
merv.caesarj@googlemail.com

NutshellFilm-maker says the council does not do enough to promote its twinned city Roseau
3rd December 2013
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Richard Etienne with Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica.
A film-maker is calling on the council to strengthen relations between the borough and its Caribbean twin, Roseau, the capital of Dominica.
Richard Etienne, 29, spoke at the authority’s Twinning Association general meeting last week as part of a documentary he is making about his first visit to the island.
He passed on a message from the Dominican Prime Minister, who said he hopes the twinning agreement can prosper in the future.
Both of Mr Etienne’s parents come from the island which he has never visited because of a lack of awareness about the country, he said.
“Dominica is a country I so badly want to call home,” The Oval resident said.
“However with a mind filled with unconfirmed truths, myths and warnings bestowed upon me by Dominican-born members of my family, I developed dangerous preconceptions of our island’s history and culture.”
“I was told that Dominica wasn’t a place for young people, that it was boring, difficult to travel around and that because of French and English colonial influences it had lost its original culture.”
He said this discouraged him from visiting and he urges the council to help people who are in a similar position.
“There’s never been any evidence of politicians connecting in any way,” he said.
“It’s about raising awareness at an educational level to fulfil the purpose of raising cultural awareness of global communities.”
He said he feels this is not being done enough and is calling for cultural activities promoting information about Dominica through the borough’s clubs.
In his film, iD, he visits his parent’s home for the first time to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his father’s passing.
He hopes the film will give others a better sense of their heritage.
“I hope to inspire others who’ve not been to their country of origin to take that leap of faith,” he said.
The Twinning Association’s objectives are to promote friendship, information exchange and a mutual understanding of cultural, recreational and commercial activities of the linked areas.

 
Top WMAG
KierPolice may be called in over Kier 'fraud'
9th March 2012
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POLICE may be brought in to investigate alleged financial fraud by staff working for the borough's street cleaning and rubbish collection contractor.
The Guardian reported in February how the firm, Kier Group, had launched an investigation into allegations of misconduct and suspended three workers.
Weeks later more staff were suspended, although the company refused to answer further questions on the grounds that the probe was still on-going
 
Clyde LoakesJune 2012 - Clyde Loakes and Rubbish Disposal:
nlwaOctober 2013 - The North London Waste Authority scrapped the £3.5bn plan in favour of using existing facilities, which it claims will save £900m over thirty years. A total of £20million was spent on the procurement process by the seven authorities, which also purchased a site in Pinkham Way, Edmonton, for £12million which will not be used.
NutshellWhat can possibly go wrong?
17 June 2012
Comment by technomist
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It is interesting what readers get told in different newspapers, and what the papers sometimes never tell us at all. The other day in the Waltham Forest Guardian we were given a glimpse of a cock-up involving the North London Waste Authority (NLWA). This august body is chaired by Clyde Loakes, a councillor who used to be the leader of Waltham Forest council but who still has ambitions to be a big fish in our local political pond - he currently serves as a cabinet member to Chris Robbins. The waste authority which Clyde Loakes also chairs has a grand plan to build a new waste plant in Pinkham Way, New Southgate and an important planning inquiry was supposed to get started to get that plan put into practice in a professional and legally acceptable way. Vast sums of money are involved, (suspiciously round numbers like £100million get bandied about) not least in fees to be enjoyed by the legal profession as the plan is also contraversial.

In the Guardian, we were told how a planning inquiry had to be adjourned after a mere two hours of the 6 days scheduled for its hearing. This was because 'the inspector adjourned the hearing indefinitely to hear further objections from other local authorities which claim they were not properly consulted.' I assumed that they must be some parish council somewhere who'd been left off a mailing list, which is embarrassing enough for Mr Loakes, as the man who is responsible, but easily enough sorted out after the formal papers were sent and, after a suitable delay, they'd formally replied with their agreement. But because it is Clyde Loakes, you can never be entirely certain, so I thought I had better have a little bit more of a look into what had exactly gone wrong.

I should not have been surprised when I read that this was not a minor, merely procedural or technical slight that had put some lone and insignificant bureaucrat's nose out of joint. In fact the scale of the problem is far grander, more far-reaching and possibly* even worse than anything Mr Loakes has managed so far in his hitherto wholly undistinguished political career. (*I say possibly by the way because you never can tell: there are many facets to former council leader Loakes which may have yet to reach the cold light of day, and arguably the failure to deal with the London City Airport issue properly might rank alongside this and other fiascos for some affected folk).

The Edgeware and Mill Hill Express gave its readers more of an inkling of the trouble than the Waltham Forest Guardian. Far from some small parish council, they revealed that the objecting body at the inquiry are the "East Of England Waste Technical Advisory Body". I hadn't heard of it either, but it turns out that this innocuous little board represents several entire counties to the north and east of London and without their help in disposing of it we would literally be up to our necks in trash. Not people to ignore.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire County Council, which is one of the important counties on this body, was quoted in the Mill Hill Express saying that it 'was concerned' that the NLWP’s proposals to send waste materials to the county were 'incompatible with its own plans for receiving waste'. In the sedate world of local authority committee-speak, when a neighbouring county council says it is 'concerned' about something in public, you can be pretty sure that behind closed doors the Anglo-Saxon C Word is being used liberally about Councillor Loakes and the committee he chairs.

So, to get back to the nature of the adjournment, this is not just a question of someone unimportant being aggrieved about being forgotten from a mailing list and a slight delay being caused while the paperwork is allowed to catch up. These people actually have objections of substance.

Bad enough, you might think, for Clyde Loakes' authority to piss off Hertfordshire County Council. But there is more. The East of England Waste Technical Advisory Body ( EEWTAB), representing all the waste planning authorities of the East of England, was joined in umbrage by the South East Waste Planning Authority Advisory Group (SEWPAG). They went to the trouble of talking to each other and have submitted a joint written statement prior to the hearing. They have, and through them, the many waste-receiving and processing counties they represent, jointly and formally complained that the NLWP had failed to cooperate with them.(There are legal duties to co-operate, by the way. Co-operation is not simply self-evidently a matter of common sense which is in everyone's best interest. Moreover, as well as Hertfordshire specifically moaning,

Oxfordshire County Council, has also written to the NLWP and received no reply. Why am I reminded of something here?) Why is this row important? Because the boroughs in the north of London, including Waltham Forest, generate much more waste than they can currently cope with. There is a system of “apportionment” where waste authorities are allocated the amount of waste that they must manage. Most of the landfill of London’s waste that goes outside London is accepted under this apportionment system. In fact, nearly a million tonnes of waste per year from North London is supposed to be managed on our behalf by these counties.

Although the NLWP envisages gradually reducing North London’s reliance on such landfill by 2031, the East and South-East waste authorities would prefer this to be sooner. They are reportedly already doubtful of the accuracy of the NLWP’s landfill reduction figures, and would, anyway, prefer smaller apportionments.

This system of taking the waste away from Waltham Forest to places which then dispose of it for us is not supposed to be a fly-tip-by-night dump-and-run operation. It is supposed to be professionally managed with all due diligence, safeguards, checks and financial arrangements in place and working seemlessly well. But the system requires co-ordination and communication to work, and the co-operation and agreement in particular of the counties being asked to accept London's waste, even if there will inevitably be a few niggles and arguments from time to time. Clyde Loakes is supposed to be the man providing the leadership to make sure that coordination and communication happens. The story here is not just that a planning hearing has been adjourned.

The story is that it has been adjourned because Clyde Loakes has failed to chair his authority in a manner that would have meant that things like that didn't have to happen.

Rather than accept responsibility for apparently pissing off every county outside London that helps dispose of our mountains and mountains of waste, Cllr Loakes is spinning a line in the local paper which entirely ignores his political responsibility for this farce. (He has form where denying things is concerned). In fact, he doesn't even admit to the scale or nature of the communications and planning breakdown which he has presided over at the Waste Authority he chairs:

"The simple fact is that we have to find additional sites for new, modern waste management facilities within the north London boundaries - and Pinkham Way is the most suitable site in our area.

"We understand that local people will have concerns about the impact of the facilities proposed for Pinkham Way, and I can assure residents that all these issues and concerns will be addressed as part of the design of the facilities and in the planning process."

What can I say? Regular readers here know what I think of Clyde Loakes. I had been pleased that by losing in Northampton we'd been spared the disaster which letting him loose in Parliament could have caused this great nation of ours. And I even relaxed because he's no longer leader of the council. I thought: he's only chairing a waste disposal authority. What could possibly go wrong?


NutshellMillions spent on scrapped waste disposal plan
8 October 2013
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More than £20million was spent on ditched plans for two privately-run waste disposal centres to serve seven councils in London, including Waltham Forest.
The North London Waste Authority (NWLA) scrapped the £3.5bn plan in favour of using existing facilities, which it claims will save £900m over thirty years.
The NWLA handles waste disposal for Waltham Forest, Camden, Enfield, Barnet, Haringey, Hackney and Islington, and is chaired by Waltham Forest deputy council leader, Clyde Loakes.
A total of £20million was spent on the procurement process by the seven authorities, which also purchased a site in Pinkham Way, Edmonton, for £12million which will not be used.
The NWLA said the decision was prompted by changes to planning policy, but came under fire from Green Party London assembly member, Jenny Jones, who described the exercise as a "terrible waste" of taxpayers’ money.
Cllr Loakes denied NLWA had performed a “u-turn” after a firm which had bid for the project, FCC Skanska, said it had been led to believe that the project was affordable and deliverable.
Cllr Loakes said: “These are tough times and we have to do everything we can to protect services. That means ensuring every decision we make offers real value for money.
“Fundamental changes to local planning policy were confirmed this summer and in the light of those changes we asked for more work to be done on a range of matters – part of this work confirmed that with some additional capital expenditure our current facility at Edmonton can run up to at least 2025.”
“Two key planning policy documents (note 1) were adopted in May and July of this year which fundamentally changed the Authority’s ability to secure planning permission for a long-term energy recovery facility for north London’s non-recyclable waste at the Edmonton EcoPark site.
“It’s simply the case that the Authority has stepped back and reassessed its options to find a less expensive solution to its waste management in these difficult times for council finances.”


Comments

Busy in E17 says...
More shameful activity of local councillors in Waltham Forest. Clyde Loakes will need to contract someone's services to dispose of the increasing number of skeletons in his cupboard.

Helen, Walthamstow says...
Pinkham Way is not in Edmonton. It is if the borough of Barnet and on the border of Muswell Hill which is part of Haringey.
In general terms, Clyde Loakes has yet again demonstrated that he is not a leader to rely on - though it is anticipated that he will become the "strong" leader of our council next year. Why do I have trouble feeling confident that the new plan will save £900m over 30 years? And how much extra will it cost to keep the current facility running until 2025? We are not told.

Billy Yerache says...
No heads rolling as usual with Labour wastefulness. Easy spending other people's money.

mdj says...
So, that's £32 milllion down the drain, plus an unspeciified sum for extra capital spending at Edmonton. Will we need to add any damages resulting from a lawsuit from Skanska? Should we round this up to forty, perhaps?
The cost of Mr Loakes' education in public administration continues to be a wonder of the world. To this we must add the £40-odd million of our money which can easily be totted up that has been lost, wasted, given away, left uncollected or possibly even stolen ( we have no way of knowing, and won't be allowed to find out) since he took over the council leadership.
As Chair of the NL Waste Authority, Mr Loakes is presumably regarded as the brightest spark among those on offer. This august body is deliberating on the award of a 25-year, £2 billion contract for a private company to handle our waste, an area in which technological efficiency is changing every year. You wouldn't buy a computer on those terms, would you? There is a vanishingly small number of companies with the capacity to bid for such a contract. One, Veolia, withdrew after a campaign by Palestinian activists; another, Kier, was handed the biggest-ever fine for contract-rigging a few years ago. With such high stakes, so few potential players, and a client whose decision-makers are unpaid ( Mr Loakes was touting for a salary for the job when he chose to resign the Council leadership!), what could possibly go wrong?

mdj says...
It appears that Veolia's withdrawal several months ago left Skanska as the sole bidder! That's the beauty of competition...

Ibnbatuta says...
Time after time I am reading about our Councils **** ups. Have they never heard of an Oversight Committee? This will end in tears one day and prison may be calling for some. Not before time in my opinion.

fabster says...
This fiasco was predicted over a year ago, thanks to a local Walthamstow Town Hall insider:
http://archipelago-of-truth.blog.co.uk/2012/06/17/clyde-loakes-and-rubbish-disposal-what-could-possibly-go-wrong-13890941/
Clyde Loakes is also the man behind the cardboard box fiasco.
http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidhughes/100106533/the-local-council-where-a-cardboard-box-cost s-15000/
We thought *that* was bad then... boy is wiping out £32 million an epic fail. Perhaps time for Loakes to say bye bye to his bid for Leadership in May 2014?

WF4Dogs says...
Perhaps readers of this paper might be interested to learn that Waltham Forest Council is spending £80,000 to build a dedicated dog kennelling facility at the Low Hall Depot.
When the plans were first put into place last year, the Dangerous Dogs Act meant that dogs ceased by the police and owners awaiting trial had their dogs in kennel facilities running up a fee in the lead up to their trial date. But in March the Dangerous Dogs Act was changed and some dogs in some cases can remain with their owners under certain strict conditions awaiting their case hearings. The net result means that profitability for Council-run kennels has fallen through the bottom of the barrel.
Waltham Forest 4 Dogs informed the Dog Enforcement Team of the change in the Dangerous Dogs Act. Potentially the revenue identified through this venture has all but evaporated as the Council have effectively missed their boat... The wise decision would've been to cancel the construction of the kennels, save us £80,000. But no, the same man named in the article above is going ahead with it nonetheless
Possibly another colossal waste of money waiting to happen.

NorthcoterE17 says...
Some turds rise and float! It seems only appropriate after this and other debacle that the biggest one in the Town Hall rises to the top...!

mdj says...
Wow. I'd forgotten the true, gory, damning detail of techno's blog from a year ago, which all should read, and weep:
http://archipelago-of-truth.blog.co.uk/2012/06/17/clyde-loakes-and-rubbish-disposal-what-could-possibly-go-wrong-13890941/
It explains why Mr Loakes is rushing around trying to distract us over relative trivialities such as street spitting.

WalthamWabbit says...
For a London Borough that is always proclaiming loudly its poverty as a cause for having to close beloved Local Facilities such as Libraries and Elderly Homes it certainly does seem to like wasting money such as on this Extravagant Folly and the recent Debacle over school admissions and now they are off on another hunt for a White Elephant by building dog houses when there are hardly enough homes for the people in the area!!!! A Sordid Disgrace!!!!

 
Top ASBESTOS
wfcwQuestions raised about asbestos discovery in town hall
12 August 2015
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Nick Tiratsoo and Trevor Calver have repeatedly called for someone at the town hall to be held accountable for asbestos failings
Questions have been raised over management of asbestos by Waltham Forest council, again, after suspected asbestos dust was removed from the town hall, one year after the authority said all dust and debris had been removed.
Comment
mdj says... 7:44pm Fri 14 Aug 15
'In court it was revealed in 2002 the authority was warned about asbestos, but no action was taken.'
Another question that may occur to the hard-pressed council tax payers of this borough is why they have had to pay a fine for criminal negligence for which they carry no blame, while the easily-identifiable council leaders and chief executives who took no action over many years to protect their staff from a lethal industrial disease walk away with impunity.
>> more on Asbestos <<  
wfcwCall for Martin Esom's resignation
20 March 2015
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On 27 January 2015, Trevor Calver and Nick Tiratsoo called for LBWF Chief Executive Martin Esom to resign over the Town Hall asbestos affair.
wfcwWhat accredited qualifications are council officers, councillors or members of parliament required to obtain?
Or is Britain destined, like the Co-op, to be run by amateurs having no formal qualification or abiity in finance, administration or governance?

Here is the correspondence that followed in date order, beginning at the bottom with our initial e-mail.
20 March 2015
‘Dear Mr. Fenwick,
Thank you for your e-mail.
Most of it of course is entirely irrelevant to the points that we raised with Mr. Esom on 27 January 2015, points he has subsequently been so reticent about responding to.
As to the parts that are relevant, our response is as follows..... read

wfcwMartin Esom: No records exist of briefings given to cabinet members by asbestos contractor NPSL
23 January 2015
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Chief executive Martin Esom claims there are no records of briefings given to cabinet members on multi-million pound contract after asbestos found in town hall
The authority, this week, was convicted of knowingly putting workers at risk in areas of the town hall in Forest Road, Walthamstow.
Now the company which council chief executive Martin Esom confirmed was contracted to advise on asbestos matters throughout the period has denied any involvement in the scandal.
Norfolk Property Services London (NPSL) was formed in 2007 as part of a deal between the council and Norfolk Property Group on a multi-million contract to act as a consultant to the authority and procure services for construction matters. 
The council took 20 per cent ownership of NPSL and secured two seats on its board.  Board members have included Mr Esom, council leader Chris Robbins, mayor Terry Wheeler and cabinet member for business Mark Rusling.
Mr Esom has previously said NPSL was charged with advising the council on asbestos, but today a company spokesman said it “nothing to do” with it.   Mr Esom also confirmed that, in order to avoid a conflict of interest, he tasked his deputy Shifa Mustafa to report to the council’s cabinet on NPSL’s work on asbestos. 
It has now emerged there is only verbal evidence on the advice given.  The council will next appear in Snaresbrook Crown Court on February 2.
Comment
livedheretoolong, Fri 23 Jan 15
According to the council's own expenditure records for the year 2014 (which are freely available on their website) NPSL were paid a total of £3,372,417.09 for their services.
wfcwCouncil in court over deadly asbestos
19 January 2015
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The council will appear in court today to face charges of breaching health and safety laws relating to asbestos.  The authority has admitted it knew about the presence of the deadly substance at the town hall in Forest Road, Walthamstow. However, staff at Waltham Forest council were not prevented from entering affected areas of the building between 1984 and 2012.
wfcwThe council will appear in court in January for breaching asbestos health and safety laws.
17 December 2014
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The authority has admitted it knew about the presence of the dangerous dust in the town hall basement room. Staff were not prevented from entering affected areas of the building between 1984 and 2012 as it was believed they were within acceptable levels.
A survey carried out in January 2012 ahead of major works revealed asbestos in the basement, boiler room, generator room, cable room, print room and lobby. Documents were found covered with the deadly dust, it is claimed.
wfcwProsecution of Waltham Forest council for breaching health and safety laws relating to asbestos has been adjourned for the second time.
10 September 2014
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The authority has admitted it knew about the presence of the deadly material at the town hall in Forest Road, Walthamstow, but did not prevent staff from entering affected areas of the building between 1984 and 2012 as it was believed they were within acceptable levels.
wfcwCouncil in court over asbestos
1st July 2014
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Asbestos was discovered in a room in the basement of the town hall, which staff has access to between 1984 and 2012 Asbestos was discovered in a room in the basement of the town hall, which staff has access to between 1984 and 2012
Waltham Forest Council is being prosecuted following an investigation into whether or not staff were protected from asbestos at the town hall.
This morning the Health and Safety Executive confirmed it was seeking to prosecute the local authority over alleged breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act and the Control of Asbestos Regulations. The case, which has been brought by the government watchdog, relates to the discovery of asbestos in a room in the basement of the Forest Road building which staff had access to between 1984 and 2012.
HSE17th April 2013
The HSE asbestos improvement order, published this week, states the council failed to "draw up a suitable and sufficient plan to manage the asbestos or any asbestos containing substances" and had failed to "record how the plan will be implemented". Nick Tiratsoo, a community worker of Odessa Road in Leytonstone, said: "The council endlessly trumpets its alleged merits in public, but this development once again exposes the tawdry everyday realities.
Nutshell HSE raps Waltham Forest Council over town hall asbestos
WF Town HallWaltham Forest Town Hall asbestos plans 'now in place' after safety breaches
17th April 2013
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Waltham Forest Council says it has now complied with an order to improve its management of asbestos at the town hall after being reprimanded for safety breaches.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) issued a series of improvement demands on the authority after it failed to draw up legally-required plans for, and records of, managing the cancer-causing fibre at the site in Forest Road, Walthamstow.
Last year it emerged that all three types of asbestos - including its most dangerous blue variety - had been found in multiple rooms of the town hall, potentially putting dozens at risk.
The council had known about the asbestos since the 1980s but continued to use the rooms until they were sealed off last year ahead of refurbishment works.
In a statement, the council said the HSE orders were issued on March 26, but were only published this week. The authority said it had met the requirements to draw up plans and records two weeks later.
A council spokesman said it had "pressed" the HSE to update its records, which he said were not up-to-date.
The HSE improvement orders stated that the council had failed to "draw up a suitable and sufficient plan to manage the asbestos or any asbestos containing substances" and had failed to "record how the plan will be implemented".
WF Town HallHSE raps Waltham Forest Council over town hall asbestos
15th April 2013
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A safety watchdog has rapped Waltham Forest Council over its handling of asbestos at the town hall.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued a series of improvement orders on the authority stating it has failed to draw up legally-required plans for, and records of, managing the cancer-causing fibre at the site in Forest Road, Walthamstow.
Last year it emerged that all three types of asbestos - including its most dangerous blue variety - had been found in multiple rooms of the town hall, potentially putting dozens at risk.
It was then revealed that the council had known about the issue since the 1980s but had continued to store sensitive documents in one of the rooms affected.
The authority then announced it would have to destroy around 5,000 of the documents amid concerns they may have been contaminated, although it pledged to electronically copy some "important" financial and legal paperwork.
The news comes as the HSE continues its investigation into the council over the handling of asbestos at all its buildings in the borough.
THis includes the former Warwick School for Boys site in Brooke Road, Walthamstow, where pupils at St Mary's Primary School were due to relocate until asbestos was also found there last summer.
And in February the HSE launched an investigation into the council's handling of water systems in some schools, following concerns there was a risk of the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria developing.
The HSE asbestos improvement order, published this week, states the council failed to "draw up a suitable and sufficient plan to manage the asbestos or any asbestos containing substances" and had failed to "record how the plan will be implemented".
Nick Tiratsoo, a community worker of Odessa Road in Leytonstone, helped publicly uncover news of asbestos at the town hall when he tried unsuccessfully to obtain election records from the council last year.
He told the Guardian: "The council endlessly trumpets its alleged merits in public, but this development once again exposes the tawdry everyday realities.
"The town hall is used by thousands of people every month, both staff and visitors, yet the the council now stands condemned for failing to take the elementary steps which are required to deal with the building’s asbestos.
"Moreover, we know that HSE investigations continue on other council sites. Asbestos is too dangerous to mess around with. Perhaps [council leader] Cllr Chris Robbins can tell us exactly what is going on?"
The Guardian is awaiting a comment from the council.

wfcwHealth and Safety Executive is seeking to prosecute the local authority over alleged breaches of the Health & Safety at Work Act and the Control of Asbestos Regulations.
27th June 2014
read ...
The case, which has been brought by the government watchdog, relates to the discovery of asbestos in a room in the basement of the Forest Road building which staff had access to between 1984 and 2012. In 2012 it was revealed the authority knew about the presence of asbestos throughout that period, but did not stop staff from accessing the building, claiming asbestos levels were “within Health and Safety Executive guidelines”
 
Top ASBESTOS
wfcwCouncil to buy iconic theatre where The Beatles played for £2.6m
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An iconic building where household names such as The Beatles once performed is set to have new life breathed into it after Waltham Forest Council purchases it for £2.6 million.
The former Granada cinema, also known as the EMD, in Walthamstow’s Hoe Street is set to become a 1,000-seat venue to host the biggest names in UK and international comedy, pantomimes, film screenings and more.
The historic Grade II* listed theatre was partially reopened in 2016 as Mirth, Marvel & Maud, a pub and entertainment complex.
It will be brought back to its former glory with the help of Soho Theatre, who will operate the venue, and is expected to add between £34 and £52 million to Walthamstow’s economy over a 10 year period.
Renovation of the site is expected to take three years and the council is considering options to part finance it with external grants. The borough was awarded £1.35 million as 2019 Borough of Culture, announced last month.
emdFormer EMD cinema placed on theatre 'at risk' register
21 September 2015
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THE former Granada theatre and EMD cinema has been placed on the 2015 ‘Buildings at Risk’ register by the Theatre Trust. Despite ongoing talks over its restoration and renovation the Grade II* listed building in Walthamstow has been placed under added protection.The Theatre Buildings at Risk (TBAR) register is the Trust’s means of watching, managing and supporting theatre buildings under threat across the UK.
A spokesman for the Trust said they are “supporting the team at Soho Theatre, and Waltham Forest Cinema Trust in their discussions with Antic”.
The Hoe Street building has been given a total risk rating of seven, over fears the auditorium may not be brought back into use.
New owners Antic told The Guardian last year the building will be lovingly restored and will include entertainment for the community.
A Theatre Trust spokesman said: “Without any use or maintenance, it is believed that the auditorium and stage areas are now in a poor condition. “If the auditorium is not brought back into use, there is a strong risk that the auditorium and stage areas will deteriorate further and the venue will be lost permanently to live performance use.
wfcwAntic Pub Company confirms entertainment venue in the former EMD cinema
29 December 2014
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Part of the former EMD cinema in Walthamstow could be converted into homes to finance its re-opening as an entertainment venue, it has emerged. Antic Pub Company purchased the building in Hoe Street earlier this year from the United Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG).
A spokesman said: “Our current proposals include the 1,000-seater auditorium, bars/pubs, restaurants, jazz/cabaret/cinema club, boutique B&B, rooftop garden and summer performance/cinema space, cafes and some residential to assist in providing the financial wherewithal to deliver it all."
Waltham Forest council threatened to force a compulsory purchase following a long-running campaign to retain the EMD as an entertainment venue.
wfcwEMD cinema in Walthamstow has been purchased by pub company Antic, according to MP Stella Creasy and the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust
10 November 2014
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Antic Ltd, which owns the Red Lion in Leytonstone and the Leyton Technical, has purchased the grade II-listed building in Hoe Street from the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG)
emdWaltham Forest Council votes to return EMD cinema to the community
16th July 2014
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Waltham Forest Council’s cabinet approved undisclosed funds to push for the purchase of the grade II-listed former EMD in Hoe Street, Walthamstow, from owner Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG).
It is working in partnership with the independent Soho Theatre Company and the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust to turn the site into a mixed entertainment venue and cinema.
The Soho Theatre Company described the vote as a victory for community action.
emdDecision date set for EMD cinema purchase decision
17th June 2014
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The McGuffin Film Society's Bill Hodgson described the council move as a &quot;significant development&quot.
A decision on whether Waltham Forest Council will enforce the purchase of former cinema, which has been at the centre of a long-running dispute between the community and the evangelical church which owns it is, will be made next month.
cinemaTrust chairman Neil Gerrard : “It’s really aggravating. I’ve been in touch with the council and we’re trying to find out from the government what the new date is.    “We’re confident of a positive result and we want to get on with it
nutshellAnger at EMD cinema decision delay
21st May 2013
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Bill Hodgson and Neil Gerrard, chair of the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust
Campaigners have bemoaned the “never ending” saga of what will happen to the former EMD cinema after the result of an appeal which could determine its future was delayed.
Waltham Forest Cinema Trust members have already waited five months to hear the verdict on an appeal launched by the United Church for the Kingdom of God (UCKG) over its plans to turn the site into a church-cinema hybrid.
The UCKG's plans were rejected last September by Waltham Forest Council and its subsequent appeal spurred the government’s planning inspectorate to undertake a full public inquiry over the site in Hoe Street, Walthamstow.
That inquiry concluded last December, but yesterday the government told the trust that the decision, due this week, had been indefinitely delayed “due to unforeseen circumstances”.
The UCKG bought the listed building in 2002 but has repeatedly failed to get planning permission to convert it into a place of worship.
Trust chairman Neil Gerrard said: “It’s really aggravating. I’ve been in touch with the council and we’re trying to find out from the government what the new date is.    “We’re confident of a positive result and we want to get on with it. At the moment there’s nothing we can do to move on with our plans until this process is concluded.”
cinemaResult of appeal over former EMD cinema to be announced next week
17th May 2013
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Bill Hodgson and Neil Gerrard campaigning for the cinema to be reopened
The Universal Church for the Kingdom of God (UCKG) launched the appeal after its proposals for a church-cinema hybrid at the site in Hoe Street, Walthamstow were rejected by Waltham Forest council last September.
The group hoped to gain approval for plans to use the main auditorium as a church with other rooms used as cinemas, and after the refusal the group appealed to the government’s planning inspectorate.
Bill Hodgson, of the Waltham Forest Cinema Trust, which has been campaigning against the UCKG’s plans, hopes the appeal will put an end to the UCKG’s attempts to convert the former cinema and encourage the group to sell the site to the council.
He said: “It really should be the end of the matter. It will be 10 years since the UCKG got it. They keep coming up with new schemes but essentially they want it for church activities.   “There’s no kind of community use really.”

 
Top transparency
wfcwBorough of Culture announces new creative director
2 June 2018
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Waltham Forest – the London Borough of Culture 2019 – has announced a new creative director.
Sam Hunt, who led the creative programme for Hull’s year as City of Culture in 2017, will head the creative team to deliver an ambitious £5million cultural programme for the Mayor of London’s first Borough of Culture.
Mr Hunt will deliver a year of cultural events working with Waltham Forest Council’s partners and the community. The council said it wants to ensure 85 per cent of households in the borough take part in cultural activities during the year. Mr Hunt will work alongside the Borough of Culture’s programme director, Lorna Lee.
William Morris Museum,“The William Morris Gallery is a real labour of love for quite a number of us,“ says Lorna Lee, head of cuture and community services for the council. “Not only have we had three times as many visitors as we initially predicted, but to have made it to the top ten of the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year – well it’s just the icing on the cake.
NutshellWilliam Morris Gallery
William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow is Art Fund's Museum of the Year 2013
4th June 2013
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The William Morris Gallery has been crowned winner of the Art Fund's Museum of the Year 2013, securing the £100,000 prize. 
The Walthamstow gallery, which reopened in 2012 following major redevelopment, was praised by judges for setting high standards in curatorship and its community outreach. 
The £10,000 Clore Award has been awarded to The Hepworth in Wakefield, in recognition of its education programme for children and young people.
The winners were announced by Private Eye editor Ian Hislop this evening (Tuesday) at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
William Morris Museum,William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow beats top museums to exhibition award
17th May 2013
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The gallery has beaten world-famous museums including the V&A and the Natural History Museum to an award recognising the UK’s best permanent exhibition.
The William Morris Gallery in Forest Road, Walthamstow, beat its renowned rivals to the Museum and Heritage Awards’ Permanent Exhibition award on Wednesday. It was honoured for the display of artefacts celebrating artist William Morris’s life, housed in his former home.
More than 100,000 people have flocked to see the exhibition since the gallery’s reopening after a multi-million pound refurbishment in August 2012. The gallery has featured work from Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry and photographer David Bailey. It is also one of ten finalists in the running for the prestigious Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year, the winner of which is to be announced on June 4.
Council also proposed to move the artefacts to a museum in Lambeth, but abandoned the ideas after the public backlash. Instead the authority invested millions of pounds - partially sourced from arts organisations - to refurbish the gallery, which has met with acclaim since its reopening last August.
William Morris Museum,William Morris Gallery shortlisted for The Arts Fund’s prize of £100,000
12th April 2013
The William Morris Gallery has been shortlisted for The Arts Fund’s prize of £100,000
There was a time when the future of the William Morris Gallery looked bleak, and was threatened with closure, but the council-run gallery has just been listed in the top ten for The Art Fund’s prize for Museum of the Year 2013.
“The William Morris Gallery is a real labour of love for quite a number of us,“ says Lorna Lee, head of cuture and community services for the council. “Not only have we had three times as many visitors as we initially predicted, but to have made it to the top ten of the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year – well it’s just the icing on the cake.
Once home to the English textile designer, artist, writer, philosopher and libertarian socialist, the Georgian-style property, which stands in Lloyd Park, Walthamstow, should have been a fitting tribute to the leading light of the Arts and Crafts movement.
But come 2007, rumours were circulating that rising costs and a depleting number of visitors could result in the closure of the space – or at the very least reduced opening hours.  
However, thanks to a £1.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, matched by Waltham Forest Council, as well as donations from other trusts and foundations, far from closing, the gallery has been revamped and is now regarded by many as a jewel of Walthamstow.
And since reopening to the public in August 2012, following its extensive £5m renovation, more than 92,000 visitors have passed through its doors, eager to experience the permanent exhibits and contemporary artworks the space has to offer – among them shows by artist Grayson Perry and photographer David Bailey. 
“We had to look at the gallery and consider its strengths – and it’s got many, it has one of the most fantastic collections relating to William Morris in the world, it’s the only gallery dedicated to his life. 
“And the story of William Morris is really interesting, some people don’t know anything about it and that’s the starting point, it used to be that you needed to have a degree in Morrisology to get anything out of the gallery, but this is about telling the story of him as a person as well as what he produced. 
“Also the fact that people who do know Morris, probably know a very small part – the wallpapers, the patterns, but actually he was an incredibly diverse person in what he achieved and did."
The William Morris Gallery will compete against nine other finalists  BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, The Beaney in Canterbury, Dulwich Picture Gallery in London, The Hepworth Wakefield in Wakefield, Horniman Museum and Gardens in London, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, Narberth Museum in Pembrokeshire and Preston Park Museum and Grounds in Stockton-on-Tees.

A panel of independent judges will announce the winner on June 4 for the  prize of £100,000. The Art Fund will also give one of the ten finalist museums £10,000 for the Clore Award for learning, which recognises achievements in learning programmes for children.

“If we won, it would be wonderful,” says Lorna, “I’d cry. We want to improve even more, open more in the evenings, create affordable craft workshops for adults, and help people who don’t speak English have a fantastic time at the gallery. There are many things to consider.”


nutshell William Morris Gallery Comments (9)
mdj says...
3:01pm Fri 12 Apr 13
Mrs Lorna Lee must not be allowed to rewrite history in this shameless way.
The Gallery was underfunded and starved for years. Despite this the small and dedicated staff drafted a visionary and ambitious plan to extend and remodel it, much of which has now been implemented in the present scheme.
For their pains, they were bullied out their jobs.
It was not 'rumoured' that there would be severe cutbacks. Mrs Lee drafted a plan to slash the budget, staff and hours. This fast-tracked her promotion four grades without outside advertisement to manage the library service, for which she has no qualifications, three of which have since closed on her watch.
The cutback plan prompted a storm of protest and a worldwide petition that was presented to Downing St. The protesters were marginalised and snubbed by the Council until it was realised how much reputational damage the topic was attracting.
The Council first response was secretly to negotiate a scheme to transfer most of the collection to another museum across London, whose own situation was at that time precarious: this met another storm of outrage.
Through all this Mrs Lee's creative input consisted of various plans to license the Gallery as a wedding venue, with a few decorative Morris relics as scenic backdrop.
Her phrase:' it used to be that you needed to have a degree in Morrisology to get anything out of the gallery..' seems intended to insult the scholarship of the former Keeper, who was awarded an MBE for his years of service shortly after the Council forced him out of his position.
The reversal in policy, and the transformation in the Gallery is extremely welcome, and Mrs Lee is no doubt more than competent to manage the new regime. Let us all hope that the WMG wins this prize, to help make up the funds still required.
But let us all look to the future while remembering the true story, not this Orwellian rewrite.

Janet1 says...
3:47pm Fri 12 Apr 13
OMG, I nearly choked when I read “The William Morris Gallery is a real labour of love for quite a number of us,“ from the mouth of Lorna Lee, Waltham Forest's head of culture and community services.
Is there an award for sheer brazen bare-faced cheek? I nominate Waltham Forest council.
Neither Ms Lee nor anyone else from the council was among the group celebrating William Morris's birthday on a freezing March day in 2007 -- outside the gallery, as the council would not allow us in.
The celebration was organised by the newly formed Antiscrap campaign, set up to try to save the borough's cultural heritage from destruction by Waltham Forest council.
The council wouldn't have thought of celebrating Morris's birthday, as they were busy trying to dismantle his museum and gallery. Later that year they were actually trying to send our priceless art collection out of the borough!
All this was recorded in the press at the time.
The William Morris gallery is magnificent, but that's no thanks to anyone in Waltham Forest council. The gallery survived despite their worst efforts.

Janet1 says...
4:10pm Fri 12 Apr 13
Sadly, the Guardian deleted all the angry and accurate comments that were posted on the earlier report of the shortlisting, at
http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/wfnews/10329573.William_Morris_Gallery_could_win___100_000_art_prize/?ref=rss
But you'll find plenty more online. The amazing story of a London borough trying to get rid of its most famous cultural attraction attracted a lot of coverage.
From a BBC Online report in March 2007:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2007/03/09/latest_morris_feature.shtml
"Despite fierce public opposition the council has approved £56,000 worth of cuts to the William Morris Gallery and Vestry House Museum. The cuts will dramatically reduce opening hours and bring job losses. Dismayed but not defeated campaigners have launched an online petition which is drawing worldwide support. It's already attracted 1000 signatures this week and the petition includes names from the USA and Australia."
Staff and supporters were already preparing a bid for Lottery funding to upgrade the gallery when the council announced plans to downgrade it.
From the BBC:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/articles/2007/01/25/wmorris_feature.shtml
" has also assured the Arts community that the changes will not scupper a major Lottery bid they were hoping to secure. A grant that would see the gallery expand and fully refurbished."
Of course, the cuts did scupper this original bid. But after giving up its plans to downgrade the gallery, the council dusted off the bid, which eventually succeeded, and presented it as a council achievement.
The council nearly triggered a riot when it announced its plan to send the art collection out of the borough in October 2007:
http://www.guardian-series.co.uk/news/1757994.breaking_news_william_morris_collection_to_leave_waltham_forest/
When the gallery was reopened this year, the prestigious London Review of Books noted how the council had changed its tune since the uproar of 2007:
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v34/n17/rosemary-hill/in-walthamstow

RichieA70 says...
4:21pm Fri 12 Apr 13
I hope you're making this point directly to Lorna Lee and others in the council.

mdj says...
4:29pm Fri 12 Apr 13
They're fully aware of their own record, Ritchie, and one hopes they read this paper in addition to their own freesheet.
Anyone happy to be quoted on the record in a paper is presumably happy to field the response.

RichieA70 says...
4:37pm Fri 12 Apr 13
I hope you're right. There are some excellent comments on this site (among the nonsense). The patronising tone of the council on some issues suggests that residents have the memory (and brain power) of goldfish. It needs to be regularly challenged.

Sigi from Walthamstow says...
5:48pm Fri 12 Apr 13
Can we please get the fact right:
The people saved the William Morris Gallery from people like Lorna Lee.
The council wanted to destroy the gallery.
There was a massive outcry. Over 10,000 signatures were handed into Downing Street - to prevent the closure of the Gallery.
This beautiful Gallery deserves the price because was saved by local people.
see BBC London 2008 'A beautiful petition'
http://tinyurl.com/cbux7h2
 
Helen, Walthamstow says...
6:46pm Fri 12 Apr 13
To be fair, it isn't Lorna Lee who is saying the stuff about rumours of closure. It's the reporter, who may not have been around at the time.
In addition, the gallery in its previous form was rather precious about its collection. It is far more accessible now.
 
Walthamster says...
11:27pm Fri 12 Apr 13
Congratulations to the staff, supporters and protesters who saved the William Morris Gallery. You deserve to win this award. But your greatest achievement has been protecting this national and local treasure from the council.

Mrs Lorna Lee must not be allowed to rewrite history in this shameless way.
The Gallery was underfunded and starved for years. Despite this the small and dedicated staff drafted a visionary and ambitious plan to extend and remodel it, much of which has now been implemented in the present scheme.
For their pains, they were bullied out their jobs.
 
A strong economy begins with a productive, well educated and trained workforce - Sario
Top transparency
wfcwIt's time women stopped fighting sexism politely - and stepped up to run the world
read ...
4 August 2015

Stella Creasy is standing to be deputy leader of the Labour Party but, in a personal and provocative piece, Stella Creasy says that it's time women stopped fighting sexism politely - and stepped up to run the world
wfcwInvestigation uncovers ISIS sympathising women meeting in council-owned centre
25 November 2015
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The Asian Centre in Orford Road, a council owned community centre, is being used by a group of ISIS sympathising women. 
   
gangPitts, 2007: Gang members thought that vocational training was purposeful and that the achievement of a trade qualification could offer a way out of crime and the gang. read ... icocoICoCo, 2007. Breaking down the walls of silence
Professor Ted Cantle said: “Many members of the Muslim communities feel unrepresented by the Council and isolated from other statutory agencies:
gifReluctant Gangsters (2007), Breaking Down the Walls of Silence (2007)
John PittsReluctant Gangsters, John Pitts 2007 | Read the Guardian report
John Pitts said: “It appears that gang-affected families don’t feel that their concerns are represented, or their predicament understood, by politicians and policy makers. As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away.” Pitts went on to say: "I think their parents are too stretched with trying just to make a living. They haven’t got time to care."
Professor CantilleThe Institute of Community Cohesion Report, 2007. Breaking down the walls of silence
Professor Ted Cantle said: “Many members of the Muslim communities feel unrepresented by the Council and isolated from other statutory agencies: although there are 12 Muslim Councillors, they are all associated with the same Mosque and come from the same part of the Community. “
The report continues: “Similarly, Council officials from the Muslim communities are perceived by many to be partisan, and we understand that some have been placed under inappropriate pressure by Councillors or other members of their own communities.”
iCoC report - Breaking down the walls of silence
Read the BBC report
- Listen to Prof Ted Cantle's comments
- Listen to Cllr Pye's comments
Reluctant Gangsters, John Pitts 2007
Read the Guardian report
Update on gangs initiatives, LBWF 2009
Quote - Reluctant Gangsters: "I think their parents are too stretched with trying just to make a living. They haven’t got time to care."
From Reluctant Gangsters, John Pitts 2007
"As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away. I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us." EduAction, Nord Anglia and Amey
However, these schools had also borne the brunt of earlier administrative difficulties in Waltham Forest Education Department of a few years before, which resulted in the transfer of educational responsibilities to EduAction (KI.10,23).
The accompanying turmoil meant that truancy and exclusion escalated and several hundred children and young people fell out of the system altogether, becoming administratively untraceable. It is said that some, at least, of these children eventually gravitated towards the gangs.
The Beaumont Gang
The Beaumont Gang has been in existence for many years. Unlike the newer gangs, membership is drawn from across the borough and beyond. The gang consists of around 30-40 people and is controlled by one of the four Waltham Forest crime families. They are prolific violent street robbers. The Beaumont Gang has been described as the ‘ruling street force’ in Waltham Forest.
It appears that gang-affected families don’t feel that their concerns are represented, or their predicament understood, by politicians and policy makers.  As far as they are concerned we don’t exist, and even if we do, we are just some kind of problem that won’t go away.
I sometimes think the best thing we could do would be to go out and vote and demand that our politicians listen to what’s happening to us.
Communities that are strong and inclusive lead to a better quality of life, a stronger sense of identity and belonging, and mutual respect and equality. This is central to the idea of a civil society on which democracy rests.
Gang members on Intensive Supervision and Surveillance Programmes (ISSPs) at the YOT, thought that the vocational training element of their orders was purposeful and that the achievement of a trade qualification could offer a way out of crime and the gang.

 
wfcwNew committee to run Waltham Forest Islamic Association ends years of tension over leadership at Lea Bridge Road Mosque
24th June 2014
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A newly elected committee at the biggest religious centre in the borough has pledged to promote peace and social integration after years of tension over its leadership. Last night around 1250 Sunni Muslims (out of 1574 members) voted for a new committee to run the Waltham Forest Islamic Association.
2013 - Lea Bridge Road Mosque committee.
Watch how the current committe are refusing membership of our youth who have all right to register to vote in this already delayed election.
Its a shame the current commitee continue to deny that they had nothing to do with the change of membership criteria, however miraculously the membership form is changed to suit their own agenda.
   
mosque 2013 - Row over legitimacy of Lea Bridge Road Mosque committee.
The Charity Commission confirmed that in August it issued an order allowing elections to take place in November. Opposition member Irfan Akhtar, who has been involved with the mosque for over a decade and whose own membership was denied on Saturday, claims the committee is now denying legitimate voters the chance to have a say in the running of the mosque.

zarifSectarian strife is worst threat in world
11 November 2013
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Sectarian tension between Shia and Sunni Muslims is probably the most serious threat to world security, according to Mohamed Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister.  ''Sectarian divide in the Islamic world is a threat to all of us''
Mr Zarif said all sides should forget their differences over Syria to oppose sectarianism.
Professor Cantille2007 - Breaking down the walls of silence (3.1.5):  Professor Ted Cantle said: “Many members of the Muslim communities feel unrepresented by the Council and isolated from other statutory agencies: although there are 12 Muslim Councillors, they are all associated with the same Mosque and come from the same part of the Community.“  However, these councillors do not reflect the diversity of the communities in the borough – associated as they all are with the Jamia Masjid Ghosia (Lea Bridge Road Mosque).
The report continues: “Similarly, Council officials from the Muslim communities are perceived by many to be partisan, and we understand that some have been placed under inappropriate pressure by Councillors or other members of their own communities.” “We heard - particularly from some women - that they “didn‟t understand” democracy and that they simply voted as they were told by “their” Asian councillors.”
iCoCo report - Breaking down the walls of silence
Read the BBC report
Mosque power struggle intensifies,
8th January 2014
read ...

 
NutshellThe shape of things to come?
9th November 2013
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The committee of the Waltham Forest Islamic Association has been in power for one year longer than is constitutionally allowed
A row has erupted over the legitimacy of the elected committee at the Waltham Forest Islamic Association (WFIA). The constitution of the association, which runs Lea Bridge Road Mosque, states that a committee should stand for just three years, but the current group has been in power for four years without an election.
Committee members acknowledges it has exceeded its tenure, but added that it is legitimate.
Senior committee member Asghar Ali said: “There is no irregularity about it. We are the legitimate elected committee, regulated by the Charity Commission.” He claims they had wanted to hold elections last November, as they were bound to do, but it emerged that opposition members had registered illegitimate voters from outside the borough.
Mr Ali said: “We discussed in a committee meeting that the membership was not truly representative at the moment, so it was decided that the best way forward is to write to the Charities Commission and let them give us a ruling.”
The commission wrote back saying if the suspect membership was used in elections it would nullify any decisions taken by the committee, he said.
The Charity Commission confirmed that in August it issued an order allowing elections to take place in November.
Opposition member Irfan Akhtar, who has been involved with the mosque for over a decade and whose own membership was denied on Saturday, claims the committee is now denying legitimate voters the chance to have a say in the running of the mosque.
The committee amended the constitution to include a clause allowing only those who are affiliated with WFIA to vote.
Many opposition members are concerned that this will allow the committee to pick and choose members as it sees fit due to the unspecific nature of the criteria. It is claimed that 150 people were denied becoming members on Monday.
The move goes against voting criteria outlined in the previous constitution stating only that a person must be over 16, a resident of the borough and a Muslim.
Mr Akhtar said the committee added the condition without support of the constitution and opposition, but the committee says the changes were agreed by all parties and reflect similar changes at other mosques in the borough. “We have still kept this mosque open to the public and want to keep it as a public association, but only those affiliated can become members,” Mr Asghar said.
The deadline for new members is November 17. Following the completion of member registration a six-week notice period must be given before elections.

NutshellFrom the Independent Panel's Report
From the report, Appendix B
read ...
3.2 In addition, one of the major complaints that the Council has to deal with is that some communities believe they have been marginalised in setting priorities and taking decisions. During our interviews, we had described to us that there were a number of clear changes of policy in the way that the Council engaged local communities. During its period of service improvement, Waltham Forest reduced the involvement of community groups as community forums became panels and are now focus groups. There are also allegations or concerns regarding transparency and the availability of Local Strategic Partnership minutes. It is claimed that only the involvement of local activists got these minutes put into the public domain.
3.5 This deficiency has led to a belief that the Council does not listen to communities and that decisions are not made based on effective consultation. This lack of transparency is an issue which will recur throughout this report.

 
Top transparency
wfcwwfcwProbe launched into councillors' Facebook exchange
22 January 2015
read ...
A complaint has been made about the conduct of Peter Barnett, chair of the council's planning committee, after swore at Cllr Shabana Dhedhi during a late-night online exchange on Facebook.
Mr Barnett represents Wood Street ward and has served as a councillor since 2006.   As well as chairing the planning committee, he also sits on the staffing committee.
A spokesperson for the Labour party said the language used during the conversation is "not condoned" by the group.  He added: "We can confirm that we have received a formal complaint regarding Cllr Barnett's comments. “We are currently investigating the matter and will undertake disciplinary procedures where necessary." 
>> more on Mosque Bid Fix <<  
 
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Waltham Forest council launches HIV charity and website
www.iwantanhivtest.org.uk
Questions over anti-gang programme
30th September 2013
The effectiveness of Waltham Forest’s gang prevention programme has been questioned after an independent assessment revealed shortcomings in crucial areas. The Enough is Enough initiative has received praise at national level for work to tackle gang culture and a recent report to a council scrutiny committee claimed it was working successfully to reduce violent crime.

But an independent report commissioned by the council, which has been seen by the Guardian, claims data on the programme has not been collected efficiently enough to give a clear picture of performance. It also said that violent crime has fallen across almost all London boroughs experiencing gang problems and caution should be applied in attributing the fall in Waltham Forest to the programme.

The report by consultants Cordis Bright, said: “The review of gang prevention programme (GPP) documentation suggests that, with the exception of enforcement related performance indicators (and these crimes statistics are not directly linked to the work of the GPP), there is very limited evidence of systematic monitoring of the impact that the GPP is having on outcomes. “There is currently a lack of robust quantitative data that demonstrates the GPP has had a sustained positive impact on the lives of beneficiaries.”

The report recommends the council adopt a better system of collecting and analysing data in order to gauge performance, but that doing so would require a “more sophisticated” approach than is currently in place. It was also found that data is not effectively collected in areas such as the number of referrals in the programme, the source of referrals and the outcomes of cases.

As a result it is not possible to assess the programme’s effectiveness or whether it is achieving its intended outcomes, the report found.

The council’s own report on the programme said that, as a result of the programme, rates of personal robbery, gun crimes and knife crimes had all dropped. Cordis Bright questioned representatives of organisations involved in the programme, service providers, community members, workers and beneficiaries of the programme and their families.

The report also noted that stakeholders valued the programme as innovative and ambitious, and acknowledged that due to recruitment issues and restructuring in the council, the programme was operating in “challenging circumstances”.

A second report is due in November, followed by a final report in June.
The council has been approached for comment.

comment - rickylee369
23 September 2013 10:41pm
This comment has been chosen by Guardian staff because it contributes to the debate
I would suggest that the nature of the NSA revelations are within the scope of the Orwellian vision. The human Blair suggested that there would one day be a monitor in every household that kept a close eye on your interests and allegiances, that suspect speech, rather than freely expressed could be monitored and moderated. As far as I can see, from the information already released to Obama's continued embarrassment, the only way in which 1984 has been surpassed, is by the sheer insidious practice of being able to be tracked wherever we go, by inbuilt GPS trackers in our mobile devices, making CCTV a fast redundant form of surveillance, but more worryingly, the lunacy of people not only paying for these tablets, laptops and smartphones themselves rather than having them provided by the state, and actually queuing up in order to lose freedoms in order to get a shiny bauble, as in the case of the new iPhone...