The rules of politics This website is being updated  
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About wfcw.org

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
William Shakespeare


This small website is an attempt to get at the truth behind council’s failure to manage its finances properly and, above all, to ensure future openness and accountability.

During nine years working for Waltham Forest Council as a teacher, the editor of wfcw.org encountered financial and administrative incompetence, a culture of gender, ethnic and religious discrimination, and poverty wages for some qualified teaching staff.

Finally, in 2005, fraud, teachers' pension problems and financial mismanagement led to my resignation from the Community Learning and Skills Service. Numerous letters to council and meetings with members and senior officers brought either no reply or obfuscation.

In 2011 Martin Esom, the current chief executive, twice refused to answer questions about CLaSS pension mismanagement.

The editor

Note:
Some external website links may not work as expected as the pages may have been modified, moved or deleted.

Whether by accident or design, council lost many talented officers. These included Chief Executives Simon White, Jacquie Deane and Andrew Kilburn.  Also, notably, the CLaSS Head of Service Dr Green and the Head of Human Resources Phill Cox, both of whom had acknowledged the existence of a pension problem.

Council’s lack of openness and its persistent refusal to explain what happened to teachers pension payments in 2004, does no credit to Council and its officers.   Also, it does no credit to councillors representing Waltham Forest and betrays residents and those party members who helped elect them to office in their positions of trust.

Matters such as Council protectionism and the ‘cover-up and protect your back’ culture are unacceptable in democratic government.  Maladministration and fraud affects council’s present performance and the performance of future councils and our society’s future.

Through a lack of political leadership, council lost 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. 

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The rules of politics

I played by the rules of politics as I found them. - Richard M. Nixon
Today's reading is from the "Book of Corporate Life,"
Chapter 1, Verses 1-1
5


Between 2006 and 2009, council financial maladministration led to the dismissal, sudden resignations and sackings of senior council officers. An Independent External Panel found that those involved were sometimes 'protected'.

In 2001 Waltham Forest Education was a mess.
Ofsted In 2001 Waltham Forest Education was a mess.
26 June 2001
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An Ofsted inspection listed five failings, including not doing enough to raise standards in secondary schools, and not giving sufficient help to schools with behaviour problems.
Former Ofsted chief Chris Woodhead claimed that Waltham Forest Education had a "culture of failure and hopelessness." Ministers made it clear that they would use their power to take over the authority's functions if the private sector was not called in..
 
Nutshell Point of no return?
wfcwPoint of no return? Something had to happen in Waltham Forest. The LEA was a mess. But is privatisation really the best solution, asks Francis Beckett
26 June 2001
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Something had to be done about the education authority in the north London borough of Waltham Forest. Everyone agrees about that, from the education consultants scrabbling for the borough's business, to the trade union shop stewards who may lead their members out on strike against privatisation. Leaving things as they were was never an option after an Ofsted report in May last year exposed the authority's weaknesses.

To Estelle Morris, who was schools minister when she was first consulted and is now education secretary, the answer is the same as it was for Islington and Hackney, for Leeds, Bradford and Sandwell: privatise. If a local authority is not providing education services efficiently, sprinkle some private-sector gold dust over it. It's a one-size-fits-all prescription.

So Waltham Forest's councillors have spent a fraught year watching the unedifying sight of competing companies scratching each others' eyes out to get the business. Next month they have to decide who gets the contract, and they find themselves with only one choice of company. It is, in many ways, a thoroughly unattractive one.

Local education authorities no longer run schools. They have been stripped of their powers, but they still have responsibilities. They provide services, ranging from special needs teaching to clerks for governing bodies, which schools can buy if they wish. They help and advise schools in trouble, and the best LEAs provide valued support to headteachers in their lonely and stressful work.

By common consent, Waltham Forest has not done this effectively for some years. Ofsted listed five failings, including not doing enough to raise standards in secondary schools, and not giving sufficient help to schools with behaviour problems. Former Ofsted chief Chris Woodhead characteristically went further than his own inspectors: the LEA, he claimed, had a "culture of failure and hopelessness".

The local branch of the public sector trade union Unison, whose members work in the LEA, said: "The au thority's failure to act on schools which have been failing . . . has led to parents voting with their children's feet." There was not enough investment, poor collection of statistics, and above all, rotten communications with staff: "The unspoken message is clear: it does not matter that staff . . . are ill-informed because their opinions don't matter."

As with other councils flayed by Ofsted, education ministers made it clear that they would use their power to take over the authority's functions if the private sector was not called in. In came the management consultants PriceWaterhouseCoopers, whose report said: "The LEA does not currently have the capacity to bring about the required improvement," and offered four possible privatisation models. How much Waltham Forest ratepayers paid for their report is a closely guarded secret, but it was at least £250,000.

So in came a company called PPI, to run the education department on an interim basis until a long-term solution was found. And that's where the ethics of private business started to clash head-on with those of the public sector, and things started to get messy.
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PPI's core business was doing inspections for Ofsted. It was Ofsted's biggest supplier. Its boss and the owner of a third of its shares was John Haslett, an old friend of Chris Woodhead. He led the PPI team in Waltham Forest, becoming the borough's acting deputy chief education officer.

Then PPI was bought by a much bigger company called Tribal, which sells training packages. Tribal joined forces with the security company Group Four in order to bid for major education projects such as Waltham Forest.

Now that his company was big enough to bid for the £15m a year contract, Haslett, as deputy chief education officer, was in the awkward position of helping to award a contract from which he might ultimately benefit. He claimed that a system of "Chinese walls" would prevent any conflict of interest. But Tribal also agreed that, if they got the contract, they would give Haslett a one-off payment of £5,000. Unfortunately for Haslett, this deal was discovered by another bidder, Nord Anglia's Kevin McNeany, who gleefully exposed it. PPI said the offer had been made before the bidding formally began. But that was the end of Tribal's chances.

By then the bidders had been whittled down to two, and with Tribal safely out of the way, Nord Anglia - which put in a joint bid with the construction company Amey - is the only survivor.

Meanwhile councillors considered the options offered by PWC. They wanted to avoid the virtual annihilation suffered by Islington's education authority. They decided that the council would employ the chief education officer, and take policy decisions, and a company would be appointed to look after the borough's schools and employ all the staff responsible for schools.

That's the contract which Nord Anglia and Amey expect to get next month. Yet there are serious reservations in the borough about them. All three trade unions - Unison, the Transport and General Workers' Union and the National Union of Teachers - are to ballot their members on the question of strike action.

The borough's year-long association with private-sector management in the form of PPI is far from happy. Haslett's £5,000 was an embarrassment. And local heads are not impressed. "They have not delivered," says John Cullis, head at Barclay Junior, who has taught in the borough for 32 years. "We have part-time consultants who are not from our patch. We have not been served well this last 12 months. We have not been getting people who will listen, who appreciate what school improvement is about, who understand the job teachers do."

As for Nord Anglia, staff have failed to take a shine to their style. Union leaders say that their understanding of equal opportunities, vital in a borough with a rich ethnic mix, is rudimentary, and point to a celebrated case in Hackney where Nord Anglia was taken to an industrial tribunal by a black staff member. "I asked them what they understood by institutional racism," said TGWU branch secretary Bob Tennant. "They said they had no experience of it. That indicates that they have no understanding of racism."

There is resentment that the profit for Nord Anglia's shareholders will come out of the borough's education budget. John Cullis says: "Our children should have any help that is going. We don't want a lot of part-time consultants on large salaries." What heads need, he says, is a supportive education service. "Heads are isolated and on their own. If they pick up the phone at 7.30pm, they should expect someone to be there for them."

And there is concern about accountability. Once you privatise a service, it ceases to be directly accountable to voters. A company is employed to run a service, and make a profit. Voters cannot expect to control its decisions any more than those made by their local branch of Tesco.

Kevin McNeany's answer is that although local people cannot control the company with their votes, they can control it by using consumer power. If we fail, he says, you won't send your children to our schools. However, no one has yet devised a school admissions system which gives effective parental choice.

The Waltham Forest proposal is to create a management board consisting of teachers, governors, heads and a very few councillors to oversee the operation of the contract. There is an alternative. Over the last year, the council has recruited some experienced educational administrators as caretakers. Why not ask them to carry on, permanently, and make the changes that are needed?

Unions would welcome it. Unison branch secretary Paul Martin says: "The government has built a set of hurdles which LEAs cannot jump over. Teachers say the government loads schools with too much bureaucracy, but that's true 10 times over for LEAs. When an LEA gets into trouble there is no recovery plan. We need to get a competent set of senior managers and support them." But ministers are determined to see the contract going to a private company, and councillors fear that if they don't deliver this, the government will conduct a scorched earth policy on the council's powers.


wfcw BBC News - Scathing report on council chaos
26 November 2009
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A scathing report has criticised "damning" failures of leadership at an east London council that led to an era of financial chaos.
lbwf May 2002 - Collapse of trans-national EU project which was meant to regenerate small businesses in the south of the borough.
THE borough's head of planning and development, Bob Bennett, has been sacked by the council, following the Le Cheile debacle in which £123,000 of European grant money went unaccounted for. Shaukat Khan, the project leader on the Le Cheile scheme until it folded in July 2000, has previous convictions for theft and forgery and spent six months in prison in the early 1990s. Khan, who was appointed even though his conviction was not spent, denies misappropriating any of the money. more ...
zoom info Le Cheile debacle
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Bennett, a former chairman of the Association of London Boroughs Planning Officers, was suspended along with two unnamed "senior" officers following alleged failures in the management of two European-funded regeneration projects. An extraordinary panel meeting of five council members last week recommended to the council cabinet that Bennett should be dismissed.Cabinet members were due to consider the recommendation as Planning went to press.
The allegations centre on two projects - a trans-national project called Le Cheile and an Objective 2 regeneration project.The Le Cheile project, locally known as the "Business into Community" scheme, is a European programme linking Waltham Forest with Dublin, Madrid, Rome and Vila Nova De Gaia in Portugal which aims to help minority groups establish small businesses.
It is alleged that checks made on payments involving the Objective 2 project were inadequate.
2002 - Audit Commission judged Waltham Forest a 0-Star council
wfcw In December 2002, Ken Davis, Comprehensive Area Assessment Lead, published his Audit report. Council achieved. zero star performance and was rated as poor with little hope of improvement.
wfcw Labour 'sacks' council leader, Tony Buckley
Town hall veteran hires Max Clifford to fight removal
28 July 2003
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Nutshell Labour 'sacks' council leader, Tony Buckley
Labour 'sacks' council leader
Town hall veteran hires Max Clifford to fight removal
28 July 2003
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National Labour party officials have moved to "sack" the elected leader of an ailing London council because they say he is not up to the job.

The party has imposed an administrative "suspension" on Tony Buckley, the leader of Waltham Forest council. It means he cannot hold any public office on behalf of the party.

Waltham Forest is a hung council but Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative members are expected to formalise his removal at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday. The Labour group has already elected a new leader.

Waltham Forest falls within the east London constituency of the Tory leader, Iain Duncan Smith, who says it is further proof that Labour is failing to improve public services.
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But Mr Buckley, a veteran councillor, appears reluctant to go without a fight. He has asked the firm of the publicist Max Clifford to conduct a public relations campaign on his behalf.

It is understood that Labour acted against him after he rebuffed informal efforts to ease his departure. The Labour party's general secretary, David Triesman, is said to have asked Mr Buckley to step aside because of his failure to secure desperately needed improvements in the way the east London council is run.

The office of the deputy prime minister, John Prescott, and the independent Improvement and Development Agency (I&DEA) also called on the leader to "consider his position" after damning reports on the council's performance. Last year an audit commission report condemned Waltham Forest as one of the worst authorities in the country.

Officials from Mr Prescott's office were sent to monitor Waltham Forest in January. Three months later an assessment by the I&DEA said Mr Buckley's poor relationship with Simon White, the chief executive, was hindering efforts to improve the council.

A spokesman for the Labour party confirmed Mr Buckley's suspension. "The complaints are that Cllr Buckley has brought the party into disrepute by behaviour that is prejudicial or grossly detrimental to the party," he said. "The general secretary will shortly appoint an investigating officer to look into this complaint and the national executive committee will be asked to assess a full report. The party's first responsibility here is to the people of the borough. The audit commission gave Waltham Forest a poor rating and identified political management as a particular issue for that authority."

Simon Wright, the Labour group secretary in Waltham Forest, called the situation unfortunate. "We hope it is resolved as soon as possible and our first concern is for the recovery of Waltham Forest and to serve the people who elected us."

Mr Buckley said yesterday that any inquiries should go through Mr Clifford's office, through which he hoped to issue a statement today.

Even local Tories believe he has been treated in a heavy-handed fashion. John Moss, chairman of Walthamstow Conservatives, said: "Labour has not run Waltham Forest well for years but what is unprecedented is the severity of the treatment handed out by the Labour party to someone who knew what the problems were and was making an effort to get on top of them, whether or not he was being successful.

"He has been jumped on from a great height."

Simon White, is leaving the authority by mutual consent
Waltham Forest LBC today announced that its chief executive, Simon White, is leaving the authority by mutual consent
3 March, 2004
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Nutshell Chief Executive, Simon White, is leaving the authority by mutual consent
Waltham Forest LBC today announced that its chief executive, Simon White, is leaving the authority by mutual consent
3 March, 2004
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Waltham Forest LBC today announced that its chief executive, Simon White, is leaving the authority by mutual consen...

Waltham Forest LBC today announced that its chief executive, Simon White, is leaving the authority by mutual consent.

Since joining in 2000 Simon has helped successfully move the council from recovery into improvement.

Mr White will remain in post until the end of March during which time he will hand over to Jacquie Dean, the council's deputy chief executive who will take over as interim chief executive.

Waltham Forest LBC leader Clyde Loakes said:

'In his years as chief executive, Simon rose to the many professional and personal challenges presented to him and significantly improved the council's performance and management ability. He has built a sound platform on which the council will be able to base its future development of services to meet the needs of the people of Waltham Forest. A measure of his achievement can be demonstrated by the government lead official's comment that 'The council has come a very long way in a very short space of time. I expect the council to deliver its recovery plan with the benefits this will bring to local residents and service users'.'

After more than three years challenging and demanding work as chief executive, Mr White has decided that he wants to move his career in a new direction and has accepted early retirement. He left a legacy which will be of key importance as Waltham Forest's performance and reputation continue to be improved in the years to come.

The leaders of the three main political parties have thanked Simon for his valuable contribution to the Borough. They have wished him well for the future.

Mr White said:

'Waltham Forest is no longer the poor authority it was 18 months ago. I have every confidence that this will be recognised in our Performance Assessment this year. I am proud of my part in making this transformation which took place in particularly difficult circumstances. The new political leadership of the council has enabled the rate of improvement to accelerate and I am sure that Waltham Forest will achieve its ultimate objective of becoming an excellent authority.'

Jacquie Dean joined the council from the Audit Commission in October 2003 where she was an associate director. Previously she was assistant chief executive at Cardiff Council.

Mr Loakes added:

'It's business as usual. We will continue to focus on improving services. In Jacquie we have an able deputy chief executive who will ensure continuity in our improvement programme and all of our services. This is a very important year for the council and Jacquie will continue to build on our recent achievements.'

* Achieving high standards is what matters, not your authority's position in the league tables, Simon White argued in a recent LGC column.

Cllr Loakes

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.
Comment [1]
Register of interests

2006 - Audit Commission judged Waltham Forest a 1 -Star council
Jacquie Dean 2005 - 2007 Jacquie Dean appointed Chief Executive
She joined the council from the Audit Commission where she was an Associate Director. Previously she was Assistant Chief Executive at Cardiff Council.
Allegedly hand picked by Cllr Loakes from the Audit Commission and known for her integrity, ability, and drive to create her career in local government, suddenly left in 2007 after giving the borough 1 star for performance. Jacquie Dean quit the council for personal and family reasons. Sources close to council implied she had been harrassed after giving council one star.
Loakes Taylor 2007 - Roger Taylor, allegedly hand picked by Cllr Loakes from Pinnacle Public Services, gave the borough 3 star performance, after being suddenly employed in 2007 on an allegedly well paid contract with two salaries.

Roger Taylor, was headhunted by a firm owned by a company he was the director of. He earned up to £1,275 a day. He left the authority in September 2008 to be replaced by Andrew Kilburn. - Former CEO's firm paid £1m
Commentt - [1]
2007 - Audit Commission judged Waltham Forest a 3 -Star council
wclp 2007 - It's official: Labour has made Waltham Forest the fastest-improving Council. The Audit Commission has judged Waltham Forest a 3 -Star council.
This is a dramatic improvement on the 1-Star we received last year and makes us one of the most improved councils in the country.
2008 - Audit Commission judged Waltham Forest a 4 -Star council
wfcw In 2008, council achieved a glowing audit report and a four star rating.
A glowing report portrayed a council which was strongly led and had a clear vision for the future of the borough. It also had clear accountability for performance management.
The Local Strategic Partnership, which had overseen a widespread systematic failure to monitor the spending of millions of pounds earmarked to help the poor, is described as “well led and focused in its approach to meeting community priorities”.
The council is now the only previously-failing authority to achieve the four-star rating.
External Independent Panel
Kilburn 2008 - Chief Executive Andrew Kilburn appointed,
Independent External Panel, set up by Andrew Kilburn. Five council officers were under investigation for not reporting the alleged fraudulent use of public money by EduAction, the private company which formerly ran education in the borough.
Investigations uncovered a systematic failure to safeguard the proper use of money earmarked to help the most disadvantaged in Waltham Forest.
Cllr Loakes said: “We have let residents down - I am very disappointed.” He went on to say: This council has a lot of work to do to rebuild confidence in this organisation and how residents believe we are operating. It is clear this council cannot hide.
Investigation report into EduAction On 3 December 2009, an Independent External Panel censured council for serious widespread financial mismanagement. The contents of the EduAction audit report were ‘strictly confidential’ and protected the anonymity of councillors, officers and others by deleting (redacting) those parts of the report which identified individuals.
Report into NRF fund use within EduAction. The 2007-9 financial audits led to dismissal and sudden resignations of senior council officers. The report protects the anonymity of councillors, officers and others by deleting (redacting) those parts of the report which identified individuals.
Sir Peter Rogers Scathing report on council chaos
Sir Peter Rogers Independent Investigation.

November 2009
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A scathing report has criticised "damning" failures of leadership at an east London council that led to an era of financial chaos.
The review of Waltham Forest council, by London Development Agency chief Sir Peter Rogers, found numerous contracts were awarded against the rules.
Sir Peter Rogers commented: "Good organisations learn from problems and rectify them. Waltham Forest appears to do neither."
2009 - Cllr Chris Robbins elected council leader
Cllr Robins 2009 Cllr Chris Robbins was elected council leader.
Following the publication of the investigation's report, he apologised and promised "a new era of openness and transparency."
2009 - The year of councillor deselections
wfcw Labour Party deselect Mayor Cllr Anna Mbachu and Cllrs Shameem Highfield, Tarsem Bhogal, Elisabeth Davies and Milton Martin
June 2009
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Cllr Davies said: "I'm angry. Of course I'm angry all three black councillors have been deselected. Is it racially motivated?" A Labour party insider said the cull was motivated by the rejected councillors' association with former council leader Clyde Loakes. Forest member Cllr Faiz Yunis confirmed that he too had been deselected but said he would not yet comment on reports that he was set to follow Cllr Martin's lead.
wfcw Labour deselections reversed
18 February 2010
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Cllr Mbachu: " the episode should be a spark to make changes to the system for picking local election candidates."
wfcw
wfcw


Cathall member Cllr Milton Martin joined the Liberal Democrats after being deselected
July 2009
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It was confirmed that Cllr Milton Martin made the switch after he was spurned by the party in a major cull. Martin said: “It's true that I've crossed the floor and I'm no longer part of the Labour group.
It's to do with the deselection but it's a long story and it's also to do with a catalogue of things that have taken place over the last 12 years I've been a councillor.”
He did not give the full reason for the shift but said a statement would be released in due course.
Forest member Cllr Faiz Yunis confirmed that he too had been deselected but said he would not yet comment on reports that he was set to follow Cllr Martin's lead.
wfcw Leaked secret document reveals investigators found ruling councillors knowingly broke EU law
27 Jan 2010
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A confidential 2006 report by council fraud investigators found council cabinet members, some of whom are still in place, were aware a decision to extend a recycling collection agreement with company ECT contravened EU legislation.
Cabinet waived rules regarding the extension, which it is entitled to do in exceptional circumstances, but investigators found no justification for the move.
The report states: “The inability to waive EU procurement rules was drawn to the attention of cabinet in the proposal.  “When rules are broken for no apparent reason or necessity, there is little motivation for others to abide by them. “It is difficult to understand how (the council) expects to uphold the law when its own cabinet deliberately breaks it.”
Council leader Chris Robbins, former leader Clyde Loakes and current cabinet members Liaquat Ali and Keith Rayner were all present at the meeting.
The report also states that senior council officer Keith Weir deliberately misled the authority in pushing for the extension.
The independent report by Sir Peter Rogers found rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored over a number of years and those responsible were not held to account.
The council declined to answer a number of questions regarding the report, but released the following statement: "We can confirm the recommendations of this confidential report were addressed after it was published in 2006. The Council cannot comment on the details of confidential documents.
 
wfcw
Leading councillor rapped for breaking planning rules
14 February 2012
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A LEADING councillor has been forced to reduce the height of his front garden wall after breaking planning rules. Cllr Liaquat Ali MBE, cabinet member for communities, provoked anger from neighbours when he erected a row of bright blue lights mounted on brick pillars outside his home and two adjacent properties last month.
Cllr Ali, of Northcote Road in Walthamstow, told the Guardian at the time he had not got planning permission but said no-one had raised any objections with him
.Register of interests
wfcw
Delta Club: a very Waltham Forest story
22 February 2016
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In the mid- to late 2000s, Delta Club (hereafter DC) was one of the most high profile organisations in Waltham Forest. Incorporated as a private company in 2003, with sometime Labour Cabinet portfolio holder Cllr. Afzal Akram on its board, DC seemed to have provided training, especially where ethnic minorities were concerned.
wfcw Former Labour cabinet member for Waltham Forest Afzal Akram has joined Ukip in Ealing
8 October 2014
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Labour chief whip in Waltham Forest, Afzal Akram, was disciplined for trying to fix a planning decision and has emerged as the new chairman of Ukip in Ealing.
Mr Akram, who is of Pakistani heritage, reportedly joined the right wing, eurosceptic, anti-immigration party about three months ago after becoming “disenchanted” with Labour.
wfcw Cllr 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
 
nutshellComment - Cllr Karen Bellamy's resignation
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.
 

wfcw 15th January 2010 - New law and governance director, Terry Osborne, hired following contracts fiasco
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She has been tasked with improving contracting practices after the report, written by an independent panel of local government heavyweights, showed a systemic failings in financial management.
Chief executive Andrew Kilburn has pledged to restructure the leadership team to “enhance collective responsibility”.
Mr Kilburn stated in a report to the council’s cabinet that Waltham Forest had the largest senior management team in capital, second only to the City of London.
A spokesman for the council said: “One of the things Ms Osborne will specifically be looking at is procurement where the council needs to improve.
wfcw August 17, 2011 - Waltham Forest Council’s Director of Governance and Law, Terry Osborne, is leaving to take another job after a mere eighteen months in post.
It seems Ms Osborne will not be missed as it is rumoured she was not well liked because of her over zealous behaviour.
wfcw ANOTHER senior officer, Kathryn Myers, assistant director of Strategy and Communications, has left the council - the fifth in recent weeks.
22 August 2011
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Kathryn Myers, assistant director of Strategy and Communications, took voluntary redundancy as part of the authority's restructuring plans earlier this month, it has emerged.
It comes following the announcement of the departures of the the council's director of Governance and Law Terry Osborne, chief finance officer John Raisin, executive director of children and young people's services Chris Kiernan and his deputy director Linda Cointepas.
Comment
August 23, 2011 by truthwilloutinwalthamforest 
          
Once Upon a Time…
…at the beginning of this year Waltham Forest’s Head of Communications was summoned to a meeting to discuss her redundancy.
Suddenly, the Labour Party casts a spell, ‘Evanesco’, and the meeting is transformed into an interview for the post of Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications.
The only  ‘candidate’, Kathryn Myers, was given the job which attracted a salary between £71,000 and £127,000 a year.
Even the Conservative leader, Cllr Matt Davis, was subjected to Labour’s ‘Stupefy‘ spell as he was on the ‘interview’ panel.
7 months later we hear Kathryn Myers took voluntary redundancy as part of the authority’s restructuring plans earlier this month.
It seems the Labour Party looks after its own. By promoting Myers from Head of Communications to  Assistant Director of Strategy and Communications her redundancy package must of improved dramatically.
To add insult to injury it is alleged that the council is planning to give senior officers pay rises while cutting the wages of its lowest paid staff.
Kilburn Chief Executive Andrew Kilburn quits
June 2010
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Cllr Davis confirmed that Mr Kilburn left only a year into the job, added that he believed the chief executive was forced out because of his decision to commission an independent review which revealed widespread financial mis-management across the authority. He said: “"Both I and the Conservative group are extremely dismayed at the unwarranted and unilateral dismissal of Andrew Kilburn by Cllr Robbins in his first act as the council's 'strong leader'.
wfcw Martin Esom appointed Chief Executive
17 September 2010
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Esom was a senior officer during a time when rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored at the council, although there is no evidence to suggest he was involved.
Confidential documents seen by the Guardian revealed that Cllr Robbins decided that Mr Kilburn should leave following a breakdown in the working relationship between the two.
wfcw Feb 2011: Council admit poor fund fraud took place
The council is yet to reveal when the evidence emerged and what action was taken.
PriceWaterhousCoopers (PwC) investigators in 2008 found the BNI in complete disarray, despite warnings about council spending in poor areas being made as early as 2004.- [comment]
read ... 29 Nov 10,
read ... 17 Feb 11
wfcw Settlement reached over Youth At Risk dispute
7 June 2011
A legal settlement reached on March 31 will see EduAction pay the 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.
lbwf Four experienced senior officers leave council within weeks of each other.
5th August 2011
read ...
It has emerged that the authority's director of Governance and Law, Terry Osborne, is quitting and chief finance officer, John Raisin, has already left his post.
The news comes after it was revealed that the deputy director of children and young people's services, Linda Cointepas, had left "by mutual consent" following a damning Ofsted report of her department. Its executive director Chris Kiernan will also retire at the end of August.
Mission Grove Children's Centre 2012 - Inspectors said the situation at Mission Grove Children's Centre, in Buxton Road, Walthamstow, was so confusing they had to ask the council "to immediately clarify who is in charge.
read ...
2011 - Scandal of non payment of teachers' pensions to the Teachers Pension Fund
wfcw Scandal of non payment of teachers' pensions to the Teachers Pension Fund
21 January 2004 - responding to questions about CLaSS pension problems, the, Head of Community Learning and Skills Service Dr Maureen Green said, "The problem as far as I understand it is that LBWF have been very late in trans. pension payments over to the TPF." Her statement was confirmed by the CLaSS teachers’ union NATFHE.
March 2011 - Martin Esom, Chief Executive Waltham Forest, responding to questions about CLaSS TPF problems, refused to disclose financial statements of what happened to Waltham Forest teachers’ pensions in 2004. 
He 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."
123 people
wfcw A history of library cuts and book burning in Waltham Forest
12 November 2016
read ...
Waltham Forest resident, Keith Foster, has his say on plans to close libraries.
As a local resident of over 60 years, and someone for whom the Higham Hill library was very much a focal learning point during my schooldays of the 1950s and 60s, I have been following closely the latest Labour council's manoevres to 'downsize' yet more of our leisure resources.
There must be many residents still alive who like me, well remember the previous exercise which took place in 2007.
 
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. The exact amount of paperwork to be destroyed has not been disclosed, but a member of council staff described it as a "vast number". more ...
Nov 2012 - Asbestos Scandal Widens
wfcwLBWF CEO Martin Esom’s appointment to the Health and Safety Executive Board: a step far too far - Nick Tiratsoo
August 16, 2017
read …
In July of this year, LBWF CEO Martin Esom joined the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) as a part-time non-executive director – a post that entails approximately 30 days commitment per year for a remuneration of no less than £15,100 (that is £503 per day)..
wfcw
wfcwWaltham Forest Council has breached data protection laws
8 March 2018
read …
A WALTHAM Forest Council employee uploaded a video containing “sensitive information” to Youtube, a report filled with damning personal data breaches has revealed.
The report by private consultants Agilisys noted the council is currently not currently compliant with data protection regulations.
In total, 39 council employees and partners were investigated in 2017 for failing to protect important information.  The number of investigations was up 50 per cent since 2016.
The council has until May 25 to ensure it is compliant with data protection laws - if it does not, it could be taken to court.
Issues highlighted included a lack of training and the need for more consistent handling of queries.
Cllr Liaquat Ali, cabinet member for transformation and commercial services, said: “The new general data protection regulations come into effect on Friday 25 May and Waltham Forest Council is being proactive in preparing for the new guidelines.
“The report outlines for members what work has been done to prepare for general data protection regulations and reassures them that the council is ready, reflecting the recommendations of an independent review into the council’s data protection practices.”
wfcw Experts call for public help on economy
26th September 2013
read ...
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.
town hall Council admit poor fund fraud took place
17th February 2011
read ...
Fraud occurred in the handling of money intended for Waltham Forest’s poorest areas, the council has admitted for the first time.
A report published in November last year into the authority’s response to the scandal over Better Neighbourhood Initiative spending found no evidence that lessons had been learned after the mismanagement of millions of pounds was uncovered.
The council is yet to reveal when the evidence emerged and what action was taken.
Waltham Forest Council report reveals internal fraud investigations
11 March 2018
read ...
Waltham Forest Council council investigated 13 cases of fraud involving its own staff or partners between April 2017 and January 2018.
Cases included theft, abuse of position and contractor fraud.
The majority of cases involved council employees.
Investigations resulted in four council employees or associates being dismissed or resigning.
2009 - Chris Robbins elected council leader
wfcw 2009 Cllr Chris Robbins was elected council leader.
Following the publication of the investigation's report, he apologised and promised "a new era of openness and transparency.
2016 - Chris Robbins to step down in May 2017
wfcw Council leader Chris Robbins to step down in May 2017
16 December 2016
read ...
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.
KilburnChief Executive Andrew Kilburn quits
June 2010
read ...
Cllr Davis confirmed that Mr Kilburn left only a year into the job, added that he believed the chief executive was forced out because of his decision to commission an independent review which revealed widespread financial mis-management across the authority. He said: “"Both I and the Conservative group are extremely dismayed at the unwarranted and unilateral dismissal of Andrew Kilburn by Cllr Robbins in his first act as the council's 'strong leader'.
wfcw Martin Esom appointed Chief Executive
September 2010
read ...
Esom was a senior officer during a time when rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored at the council, although there is no evidence to suggest he was involved.
Confidential documents seen by the Guardian revealed that Cllr Robbins decided that Mr Kilburn should leave following a breakdown in the working relationship between the two.
wfcw Improvement notice issued to Waltham Forest Borough Council due to poor performance in looked after children's services.
Department for Communities and Local Government and Department for Education
Last updated: 7 March 2013
read ...
read document - pdf
 

   
Top Top
 
   
The council fraud and maladministration between 2006 and 2009, which resulted in the Independent Anti Fraud Investigation, appears to be continuing, unabated.

Eduaction and Oxford County Council

And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands,
all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control - Lord Acton


In 2001 Waltham Forest Education was a mess.
An Ofsted inspection listed five failings, including not doing enough to raise standards in secondary schools, and not giving sufficient help to schools with behaviour problems. Former Ofsted chief Chris Woodhead claimed that Waltham Forest Education had a "culture of failure and hopelessness." Ministers made it clear that they would use their power to take over the authority's functions if the private sector was not called in. more..

EduAction, Nord Anglia and Amey
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,
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
...

Waltham Forest Council settlement reached over Youth At Risk dispute
7 June 2011
read ...
The authority launched a legal bid to recoup £240,000 it paid EduAction in 2004 from its Neighbourhood Renewal Fund to help schoolchildren at risk of exclusion.
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.
A town hall investigation found EduAction, the company which used to run education in the borough, had committed fraud and deliberately misled the council on the number of children helped.
This eventually led to an independent review concluding that officers across many town hall departments regularly ignored rules to prevent fraud. It also found senior officers were protected from disciplinary action when concerns were raised.
The political leadership blamed officers for ignoring council rules.
Waltham Forest Council and the TPF

On 21 January 2004, in response to questions about CLaSS TPF problems, Dr Maureen Green, Head of Community Learning and Skills Service said,

"The problem as far as I understand it is that LBWF have been very late in trans. pension payments over to the TPF."

In 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."

Unanswered questions

On 23 May 2011, a
t a meeting with Martin Esom, Althea Loderick, the Head of Human Resources, and three Labour Councillors, they were asked:

  • "What happened to CLaSS teachers pension money in 2004,"

Further questions put to council's senior officers, were:

  • "Was Council or any CLaSS or Council Officer holding shares in Nord Anglia or Amey between 2001 and 2006?"
  • Were any CLaSS or council staff salaries paid from the pension payments of other teachers?
The questions were not answered.

Problem?  What problem? 

Community Learning and Skills Service teachers’ pension fund, 2004 - 2012


The future of a society is intimately bound up with and to a great extent dependent upon the way the youth are prepared for the task of maintaining that society

Responding to questions about Walham Forest teachers' pension payments:
Council’s Directorate of Governance and Law
said: “there was no money involved.”
Chief Executive wrote: "...discolosure is exempt under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000."

nutshellLabours lost
 
In January 2004, while employed by CLaSS, in conversation with a colleague, I first heard that there were delays  in  transferring teachers pension payments over to the Teachers’ Pension Fund.   A few days later another colleague referred to the matter.   I started to ask questions.  So began seven years of enquiries which led nowhere.   To this day my questions have not been answered.

The very existence of a problem with the council teachers’ pension fund  was both confirmed and denied at all levels, from teachers through administration up to council.  

In January 2004, Dr Maureen Green, then Head of the CLaSS, confirmed that there was a problem transferring pension payments over to the TPF.  She added: “You need to know that WF is not the only Council in this position but that does not make it OK. I have been supporting NATFHE to try to hasten the process. I agree that it is unacceptable.”  NATFHE,  the CLaSS teachers’ union, confirmed her support.  

The existence of CLaSS teachers’ pension problem was
  • Stated by CLaSS colleagues A & B (early January 2004)
  • Confirmed by Dr Maureen Green, CLaSS Head of Service. (22 January 2004)
  • Confirmed by other CLaSS employees, (January, February 2004)
  • Confirmed  by NATFHE, CLaSS (January, February 2004)
  • Reconfirmed by colleague B, (17 February 2004)
  • Denied by colleague B, who now seemed to be under duress. (20 February 2004)
    Denial copied to Angela Diamond, then head of ESOL
  • Subsequent events redacted

    Meanwhile some retired teachers were not receiving their pensions.

Very concerned, and being a member of the Labour Party, I raised this matter for East Branch’s attention.  Throughout 2005 enquiries regarding CLaSS TPF payments met a wall of silence:

  • I asked branch to invite a delegation from NATFHE Head Office who wished to speak to branch.
    This was refused.
  • I then asked branch to invite the CLaSS Head of Service to address branch. 
    I was again refused.  
  • Cllr  Chris Robbins, then Head of Life Long Learning was guest speaker at the December 2005 meeting. A senior councillor protected him from questions about CLaSS and pensions.  Cllr Sweden, a member of East Branch, wrote that had he been branch chair at the time he would have dealt with the matter differently.
On 31 December 2005 I resigned from CLaSS
In September and October 2005 I sent several unanswered resignation letters to CLaSS
In January 2006 CLaSS administration phoned me to ask whether I was working for CLaSS
However, council kept my name on their records as ‘employed’ for some 2½ years and in 2008 offered me retirement advice, even though I had retired from teaching at another institution some 15 years earlier.


On 1 June 2006  I
wrote to Phill Cox, Head of Human Resources about CLaSS teachers’ pension problems. 
He requested a meeting with me in my home, resulting in
  • Confirmation, at a meeting with  Phill Cox and Gerry Kemble, then Head Life Long Learning.  (August 2006)
  • Reconfirmation:   16 months later (Dec 2008), Cox gave a written answer to questions raised at the August 2006 meeting, but only after chief executive Andrew Kilburn demanded a response

CLaSS court action
During 2006
Anne Perez, then CLaSS Deputy Head of Service, agreed to Council’s taking court action to recover from me an alleged overpayment - which according to their own P45 did not exist.  This smacks of malice resulting from my letter of 1 June 2006.  In 2007 a Default Judgment from Bromley County Court resulted in my name being put on the debtors list and the threat of bailiff action. Council withdrew their action only at a 'Set Aside' court hearing.   

Subsequent enquiries about TPF problems brought

  • Evasion: WF Chief Executives Jacquie Deane and Roger Taylor passed my letter to council officers who evaded or denied the problem (2007)
  • Denial by Gerry Kemble, Children and Young People Services (15 July 2009)
  • Denial by Shirley Orijh, Corporate Law Team LBWF (19 March 2009)
  • Denial by Council Leader, Cllr Chris Robbins (17 November 2009)

Responding to further inquiries about teachers pensions under the Freedom of Information Act, the Council’s Directorate of Governance and Law stated “there was no money involved”, and the Council Leader, Chris Robbins, categorically declared: “there was no failure on the part of Waltham Forest to transfer appropriate monies to the (TPF) scheme.”

Amazingly, Cllrs Bean and Barnett seemed unaware of a TPF problem (meeting 24 November 2009) 
Cllr Barnett
promised to investigate the matter with NATFHE, resulting in:

  • Evasion:  after investigating the issue, Cllr Barnet refused to reveal any findings.
    At a subsequent meeting , Cllr Michael Lewis too seemed unaware of the TPF issue
  • Denial by Duncan Pike, Asst Director of Resources (2 July 2010)

Cllr Robbins, the council leader, asked me to meet Gerry Kemble to address my concerns.  Result -

  • Evasion:  On 11 Feb 2010 at a 1½ hr meeting, Gerry Kemble stonewalled and obfuscated the issues, explaining nothing.  I asked him for a written response. 
    In spite of requests from me and Cllr Sweden, no answers were forthcoming.
    Six months later, on 17 August 2010 Kemble sent an inadequate, evasive response, this only after a solicitor’s demand.
  • Evasion:  Anne Perez, Head of CLaSS ignored letters asking for an explanation of CLaSS TPF problems. (2007) 
  • Evasion:  In March 2011 Chief Executive Martin Esom, 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."

To confirm council’s stance on CLaSS pension problems I asked Cllr Angie Bean to arrange a meeting with the Chief Executive, Martin Esom

  • Evasion:  Martin Esom, Althea Loderick,  Head of Human Resources, and three Labour Councillors refused to say what happened to CLaSS teachers pension money in 2004. (meeting 23 May 2011)

Using  a Freedom of Information request, I asked Council and CLaSS for a copy of my personal file and my original contract of employment. Result:

  • Evasion:  On 4 August 2010, I wrote to Cllr Barnet, saying I had paid for a complete copy of my personal file and expected to receive exactly that, not an expurgated version. I asked him to ensure that Anne Perez, Head of CLaSS, provide me with all the missing documents. Nothing further was heard.
  • Evasion:  In March 2011, Martin Esom, Chief Executive. said that my original contract of employment and personal file could not be located

Over these years, whether by accident or design, council lost many talented officers. These included Chief Executives Jacquie Deane and Andrew Kilburn.  Also, notably, the CLaSS Head of Service Dr Green and the Head of Human Resources Phill Cox, all of whom had acknowledged the existence of a pension problem.

Council’s lack of openness and its persistent refusal to explain what happened to teachers pension payments in 2004, does no credit to Council and its officers.   Also, it does no credit to councillors representing Waltham Forest and betrays residents and those party members who helped elect them to office in their positions of trust.

Matters such as Council protectionism and the ‘cover-up and protect your back’ culture are unacceptable in democratic government.  Maladministration and fraud affects council’s present performance and the performance of future councils and our society’s future.

Over recent years, through a lack of political leadership, council lost 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. 



I resigned from the Labour Party on 25 April 2012

 

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

9:36pm Thu 17 Feb 11
Comment
NT
says...
17 February 2011
Dear Mr. Esom,
The NRF/BNI programme and fraud
At the most recent Audit and Governance Committee meeting, no less than the LBWF Head of Audit, Fraud and Risk advised unambiguously that the NRF/BNI programme in the borough had been marked by fraud ('it was recognised that fraud and waste of monies had occurred in this case, which was clearly unacceptable').
As you will know, over the past few years, senior officers and councillors have commented a number of times in public on the shortcomings of the NRF/BNI programme, and have admitted to mismanagement and misuse of resources. However, they have also always insisted that no evidence of fraud has been uncovered.
Thus, the Head of Audit, Fraud and Risk's forthright assessment is a wholly novel and striking departure.
Please will you forward me details of exactly when LBWF became aware of the fraud in the NRF/BNI programme, how this new awareness arose, and what action (if any) you have taken to prosecute miscreants and/or recover assets?
Yours faithfully,
Nick Tiratsoo
WALTHAM FOREST: Former CEO's firm paid £1m
1st December 2010
Roger Taylor (right) with former council leader Clyde Loakes Roger Taylor (right) with former council leader Clyde Loakes

THE former chief executive of Waltham Forest Council was headhunted by a firm owned by a company he was the director of, it has emerged. Roger Taylor remained an employee of Pinnacle Public Services Group throughout his time at the council,between February 2007 and September 2008. Pinnacle owned consultancy firm Rockpools, which was employed by the council in 2006 to find candidates for senior town hall jobs. However, Freedom of Information Act requests have revealed that the contract was neither signed nor dated and contained little detail on costs.

Four appointments were made as a result of this process, which cost the taxpayer £82,168.

One of those was Roger Taylor, who went on to command a salary of up to £1,275 a day until he left the authority in September 2008.

Between 2006 and 2009, Rockpools signed further contracts with the council and was paid £1,036,038, including £882,492 for temporary staff.

Formally declaring his employment status, Mr Taylor said: “All fees paid by Waltham Forest, on receipt of invoices from Rockpools Ltd, will accrue to Pinnacle PSG, and do not constitute any direct payment to myself.”

Under Mr Taylor’s leadership the council improved its Audit Commission rating, despite presiding over an era which saw rules to prevent contract fraud regularly ignored by officers and poor monitoring of spending

The other three senior appointments made by Rockpools as a result of the 2006 contract were assistant director of development Shifa Mustafa, head of 2012 Symon Sentain and head of spatial planning Gordon Glenday. All three remain with the authority.

Roger Taylor is believed to currently be employed as the head of the ‘Five Borough Unit’, which works to secure local benefits for the five Olympic boroughs.

All five authorities contribute to its running costs, with Waltham Forest paying £180,000 a year until 2013 out of its Olympic budget.

Responding to questions on the 2006 contract with Rockpools, current chief executive Martin Esom said: “In my view, with my knowledge of the executive search market, the... costs were competitive. “The work involved is specialist and skilled in ensuring that high quality applicants apply for these posts and then subject to effective selection processes. “I... have no doubt about the quality of those appointments... Rockpools were also appointed following a tendering process and, as with all services, the council tenders these services to ensure that we obtain value for money for taxpayers."

Comments (18)
2:18pm Wed 1 Dec 10
Chinwagger says...
This merits further investigation surely?

2:21pm Wed 1 Dec 10
md-j says...
It's a cosy world in the stratosphere of local authority management, while frontline staff get the push:
there's another consultancy called SOLACE, which is frequently called in to advise on the correct level of pay for Chief Exceutives. SOLACE stands for Society of Local Authority Chief Executives! They get paid as a group to set their own pay scales, and indeed to set the bungs they get when they're paid to go away. This may indeed have been the case with our recent Chief Exec, Mr Kilburn.
This is of course not remotely corrupt behaviour: but who sets the rules that give them the keys to their own sweetshop? Why, the Chief Executives, of course!
It'll soon be time to start knocking together a few tumbrils: we appear to have acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness a new ruling class as predatory and self-serving as any that has gone before.

3:24pm Wed 1 Dec 10
Sam Hain says...
Charles Edward Trevelyan must be spinning in his grave!

3:29pm Wed 1 Dec 10
Chinwagger says...
Sam Hain wrote:
Charles Edward Trevelyan must be spinning in his grave!

And Fred Wigg and John Walsh
Turbo driven

3:31pm Wed 1 Dec 10
NT says...
So £20,542 per appointment - roughly the average UK income of the time - is "value for money". This alone

surely shows how distanced from normal life senior local government officers have become.
And the comment that Rockpools "were ..appointed following a tendering process" is an interesting one. Let us

hope for the local authority's sake, let alone some of those who have pontificated on this subject, that the

tendering process was competitive, and the original documentation can be produced to demonstrate it.

3:40pm Wed 1 Dec 10
Walthamster says...
Under Mr Taylor’s leadership "the council improved its Audit Commission rating, despite presiding over an era

which saw rules to prevent contract fraud regularly ignored by officers and poor monitoring of spending."
In other words, the Audit Commission rating did not reflect the mismanagement that was actually happening.

Why not?
Sounds as if it was just a box-ticking exercise, easily manipulated by a skilled operator. Skilled in setting things

up to meet paper requirements rather than genuine needs.
Clyde Loakes is shown in the photo with Mr Taylor, and Cllr Loakes was desperate to improve his image (and

chance of becoming an MP) by improving the borough's Audit Commission rating.
So was Mr Taylor chosen for these box-ticking skills, useless to the people of Waltham Forest but very valuable

to the council?

7:35pm Wed 1 Dec 10
EducateCommunities says...
Double standards Cllr Clyde Loakes, Cabinet Member for Environment and ex Council Leader, just deflects

questions about mis-management of funds on his watch and now uses passed favors to keep himself over paid

for doing very little apart from self promotion. Typical WF politics and insider dealing maybe he should consider a

move to FIFA with the rest of the key cabinet players. After they have milked the 2012 Olympics.

7:49pm Wed 1 Dec 10
md-j says...
PS:
'Responding to questions on the 2006 contract with Rockpools, current chief executive Martin Esom said: “In my

view, with my knowledge of the executive search market, the... costs were competitive'
We have yet to learn whether another real genuine alternative appplicant was considered for Mr Esom's post

7:53pm Wed 1 Dec 10
steve berwick says...
These people are nothing but scum sucking parasites. They view the puplic sector as something to be looted for

their own personall gain. The rest of us, the poor bastards who pay our council tax and get crap services, are

just mugs who are there to provide the honey pot for these filth to dip into. I live in hope that one day something

horrible will happen to them.

10:19pm Wed 1 Dec 10
Sam Hain says...
In light of this it would be interesting to know who handled the recruitment for the the post Mr Taylor now

occupies as head of the 5 (Olympic) Host Borough Unit.

10:38pm Wed 1 Dec 10
BarryTLemur says...
And the winner of the 2010 Rotten Borough Of The Year is . . . .

12:12am Thu 2 Dec 10
Techno2 says...
Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry into

the corrupt practices in this borough?

12:44am Thu 2 Dec 10
Chinwagger says...
Techno2 wrote:
Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry

into the corrupt practices in this borough?
They do not have the bottle!

4:45am Thu 2 Dec 10
Phoney Investigations says...
Although this is obviously completely above board the public will press to be reassured by a full inquiry by Chief

Inspector Knacker and his boys! Maybe when he's resting his troops from the multiple shootings and stabbings in

the area that they have to deal with, a bit of light duty will come in handy!

 

Techno2 wrote:
Is it not time that one of the three Members of Parliament for this borough insisted on a full judicial inquiry

into the corrupt practices in this borough?
They do not have the bottle!

4:45am Thu 2 Dec 10
Phoney Investigations says...
Although this is obviously completely above board the public will press to be reassured by a full inquiry by Chief

Inspector Knacker and his boys! Maybe when he's resting his troops from the multiple shootings and stabbings in

the area that they have to deal with, a bit of light duty will come in handy!

2:36pm Thu 2 Dec 10
md-j says...
'In light of this it would be interesting to know who handled the recruitment for the the post Mr Taylor now

occupies as head of the 5 (Olympic) Host Borough Unit'
Why not stick in a FOI request, Sam?: it costs nothing

3:20pm Thu 2 Dec 10
Chinwagger says...
Whoever investigates must leave no stones unturned please.

4:39pm Fri 3 Dec 10
Sam Hain says...
I prefer the old showbiz version, Chinwagger - leave no turn unstoned!

2:15am Mon 6 Dec 10
Ridley says...
Corruption.

Clyde Loakes's Lucrative Committee Portfolio
by technomist @ 2012-12-17 – 23:10:36
A report by the Camden New Journal, which they call a 'special investigation' has trawled a few of the known sources of income of Councillor Clyde Loakes - and come up with an estimated income as a professional attender of local authority and assorted committee meetings - amounting, the paper reckons, to some £60,000 of the public's money. (I make it £57,850 using their more detailed figures, below)
From the taxpayers in Waltham Forest he milks some £31,000 in allowances as a councillor and 'cabinet' member, and enhances this by sitting on and chairing a number of committees which his councillorship has enabled him to lever himself onto. Thus he rakes in £6000 a year for two days' work a month with the London Waste and Recycling Board, £5,250 a year as a board member of 'London Councils', a body set up by 33 councils to 'promote their work', (as if it actually needed promotion), and another £15,600 a year as the vice-chairman of the Local Government Association’s Environment and Housing Board. They also say he is something called a 'regional peer', which is a job title which has no known existence in the British constitution and for which candidates at the local job centre need not aspire.
The Camden New Journal has not asked itself what other expenses, perks, etc. Mr Loakes might be enjoying as a result of all this committeemanship. On the members' register of interests at Waltham Forest Council, Mr Loakes declared on 28th September 2012 that he is also available for hire as a "Self-employed Local Government Consultant." Who hires him, what for, and for how much, is not known.
On 21/06/2012 he accepted a ticket to the Municipal Journal Awards. These were offered by JB Riney and Co. of 455 Wick Lane, London E3 2TB; He recieved 'meals and drinks' to the value of £165.

.