Waltham Forest Council says food safety standards are improving and resources are increasing

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Waltham Forest Town Hall. Waltham Forest Town Hall.

A poor food safety enforcement rating in Waltham Forest needs proper context, according to the council.

Research by consumer organisation Which? used Food Standards Agency to rank the borough 344th out of 395 local authorities in the UK for effectiveness in tackling poor hygiene in food outlets.

But the authority says it has increased resources surrounding enforcement, that inspecting high-risk establishments is a priority and that 34 per cent of businesses improved their rating in the last nine months.

“The clear message to all food businesses in Waltham Forest is that this is not a place where you can get away with poor food safety standards,” said Councillor Clyde Loakes, deputy leader and cabinet member for environment.

“It is important to put these rankings into proper context and it is noticeable that almost half, 16, of all London boroughs were ranked below Waltham Forest on that list, including the neighbouring boroughs of Haringey, Hackney, Newham and Enfield.

“While the list is not very reflective of the huge amount of effective food safety work the council carries out, it perhaps does at least hint at the enormous challenges that diverse and economically challenged authorities face.”

A council spokesman said areas like Waltham Forest have a more difficult time than other less populated areas when it comes to enforcing food safety due to the number of outlets.

Of 1,903 food establishments across the borough Which? found 92.5 per cent were rated for risk by the council while 73.9 of those rated as high- or medium- risk were found “broadly compliant” with regulations.

Cllr Loakes added that food safety standards in the borough are improving.

“Last year we carried out 880 food safety inspections and over 1,800 food safety visits, including inspecting every single higher risk business,” he said.

“Our zero tolerance approach to serious non-compliance has led to 95 improvement notices being issued, five businesses being prosecuted, 12 businesses being closed down until standards have improved, and one operator being prohibited from running a food business over the last two years.”

Comments (10)

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7:44pm Tue 21 Jan 14

Villagecranberry says...

Loakes is playing lip service again.
Another poster mentioned the shabby and dirty grime frontages to some of these premises and mentions if they cannot be bothered with the outside of some of these establishments why would they bother with the parts that are unseen. The likely victims of any consequences of poor hygiene deficit are kids and the poor. I doubt if anything positive will be done as they do not want to upset these traders. Look what happened down Wood St with the chicken shop that was illegal, caught fire and now the owner has absconded.
Loakes is playing lip service again. Another poster mentioned the shabby and dirty grime frontages to some of these premises and mentions if they cannot be bothered with the outside of some of these establishments why would they bother with the parts that are unseen. The likely victims of any consequences of poor hygiene deficit are kids and the poor. I doubt if anything positive will be done as they do not want to upset these traders. Look what happened down Wood St with the chicken shop that was illegal, caught fire and now the owner has absconded. Villagecranberry

6:46am Wed 22 Jan 14

Helen, Walthamstow says...

The eight outside pages of the most recent edition of WFN were devoted to telling us all how wonderful our council is, improving our infrastructure and services against a backdrop of a zero per cent council tax increase (on Eric Pickles' instructions incidentally, but that is not mentioned).

Reports like the one from Which? demonstrate what a farce that claim is. No wonder Loakes is so desperate to hit back, though his argument is frankly pathetic. It amounts to saying that some London boroughs ranks below ours, so that's all right. The truth is that the council which reduced our bank of environmental health inspectors over the years has failed to meet the challenge of the ballooning sector of fast food outlets.

The money - our money - that has been devoted to producing WFN and in the recent case the most blatant example I can remember of electioneering on the public purse would have been better spent on services for us.
The eight outside pages of the most recent edition of WFN were devoted to telling us all how wonderful our council is, improving our infrastructure and services against a backdrop of a zero per cent council tax increase (on Eric Pickles' instructions incidentally, but that is not mentioned). Reports like the one from Which? demonstrate what a farce that claim is. No wonder Loakes is so desperate to hit back, though his argument is frankly pathetic. It amounts to saying that some London boroughs ranks below ours, so that's all right. The truth is that the council which reduced our bank of environmental health inspectors over the years has failed to meet the challenge of the ballooning sector of fast food outlets. The money - our money - that has been devoted to producing WFN and in the recent case the most blatant example I can remember of electioneering on the public purse would have been better spent on services for us. Helen, Walthamstow

10:29am Wed 22 Jan 14

fabster says...

Well said Helen. The only thing WFNews is good for is for toilet-training puppies.
Well said Helen. The only thing WFNews is good for is for toilet-training puppies. fabster

10:35am Wed 22 Jan 14

NTiratsoo says...

Spot on, Helen.

The statements emanating from Cllr. Loakes and the council are hokum.

More than half of London boroughs were ranked better than LBWF in the table.

'iverse and economically challenged authorities' like Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester were ranked better than LBWF in the table.

Indeed 87 per cent of all local authorities were ranked better than WF in the table.

Lets face it, LBWF's performance is in anyone's terms pathetic, and no amount of pontification or spin can hide that.
Spot on, Helen. The statements emanating from Cllr. Loakes and the council are hokum. More than half of London boroughs were ranked better than LBWF in the table. '[D]iverse and economically challenged authorities' like Birmingham, Liverpool and Manchester were ranked better than LBWF in the table. Indeed 87 per cent of all local authorities were ranked better than WF in the table. Lets face it, LBWF's performance is in anyone's terms pathetic, and no amount of pontification or spin can hide that. NTiratsoo

10:40am Wed 22 Jan 14

Mr Omneo says...

I read this this morning and almost choked on my cup of tea.

As usual Cllr Loakes looks to deflect criticism of our council's short comings by pointing fingers to 'our neighbours'. Quite frankly I couldn't give a greasy chicken leg for what goes on in neighbouring boroughs, they're not who I pay my council tax to.

Of 1,903 establishments only 880 were inspected and 1,800 were visited. What constitutes a visit? Is it someone with a clipboard popping their head around the door to ask if everything is ok?

And who is wiling to wager that the 880 are also part of the 1,800 and not in addition to? Any of the hundreds of bookies gracing our streets will take your money.

I'm still incredulous that our good Cllr can boast of refusing permission for a Dominos pizza shop on the grounds of it 'likely to be a magnet for anti-social behaviour' whilst ignoring the abusive drunks, pimps and drug dealers who congregate near betting shops in places like Bakers Arms and "Walthamstow View" when the sun goes down.

"oh if we only had the power" he bleats
I read this this morning and almost choked on my cup of tea. As usual Cllr Loakes looks to deflect criticism of our council's short comings by pointing fingers to 'our neighbours'. Quite frankly I couldn't give a greasy chicken leg for what goes on in neighbouring boroughs, they're not who I pay my council tax to. Of 1,903 establishments only 880 were inspected and 1,800 were visited. What constitutes a visit? Is it someone with a clipboard popping their head around the door to ask if everything is ok? And who is wiling to wager that the 880 are also part of the 1,800 and not in addition to? Any of the hundreds of bookies gracing our streets will take your money. I'm still incredulous that our good Cllr can boast of refusing permission for a Dominos pizza shop on the grounds of it 'likely to be a magnet for anti-social behaviour' whilst ignoring the abusive drunks, pimps and drug dealers who congregate near betting shops in places like Bakers Arms and "Walthamstow View" when the sun goes down. "oh if we only had the power" he bleats Mr Omneo

11:06am Wed 22 Jan 14

TTMAN says...

But haven't you heard, they want to bring in licensing of landlords at £500 for 5 years to help combat anti social behaviour.

How will that work? Or a money making exercise giving more power to the council.

I am not a landlord.
But haven't you heard, they want to bring in licensing of landlords at £500 for 5 years to help combat anti social behaviour. How will that work? Or a money making exercise giving more power to the council. I am not a landlord. TTMAN

11:13am Wed 22 Jan 14

Villagecranberry says...

Mr Omneo wrote:
I read this this morning and almost choked on my cup of tea.

As usual Cllr Loakes looks to deflect criticism of our council's short comings by pointing fingers to 'our neighbours'. Quite frankly I couldn't give a greasy chicken leg for what goes on in neighbouring boroughs, they're not who I pay my council tax to.

Of 1,903 establishments only 880 were inspected and 1,800 were visited. What constitutes a visit? Is it someone with a clipboard popping their head around the door to ask if everything is ok?

And who is wiling to wager that the 880 are also part of the 1,800 and not in addition to? Any of the hundreds of bookies gracing our streets will take your money.

I'm still incredulous that our good Cllr can boast of refusing permission for a Dominos pizza shop on the grounds of it 'likely to be a magnet for anti-social behaviour' whilst ignoring the abusive drunks, pimps and drug dealers who congregate near betting shops in places like Bakers Arms and "Walthamstow View" when the sun goes down.

"oh if we only had the power" he bleats
There use to be a Tardis Police Box on the Island at the Bakers Arms at the main junction and it was rare not to see a policeman about the Bakers Arms as it was the main area of Leyton. The Police Accommodation block up by the bridge had over 100 coppers there. The area has gone down the pan with no police around, the undesirables as mentioned above, congregating and a no go area atmosphere at night. The low class chicken shops and take always together with the bookmakers now make it a magnate for trouble. Lip Service Loakes has done nothing to help the situation and he is often seen dining in neighbouring Redbridge where the eateries are much nicer.
[quote][p][bold]Mr Omneo[/bold] wrote: I read this this morning and almost choked on my cup of tea. As usual Cllr Loakes looks to deflect criticism of our council's short comings by pointing fingers to 'our neighbours'. Quite frankly I couldn't give a greasy chicken leg for what goes on in neighbouring boroughs, they're not who I pay my council tax to. Of 1,903 establishments only 880 were inspected and 1,800 were visited. What constitutes a visit? Is it someone with a clipboard popping their head around the door to ask if everything is ok? And who is wiling to wager that the 880 are also part of the 1,800 and not in addition to? Any of the hundreds of bookies gracing our streets will take your money. I'm still incredulous that our good Cllr can boast of refusing permission for a Dominos pizza shop on the grounds of it 'likely to be a magnet for anti-social behaviour' whilst ignoring the abusive drunks, pimps and drug dealers who congregate near betting shops in places like Bakers Arms and "Walthamstow View" when the sun goes down. "oh if we only had the power" he bleats[/p][/quote]There use to be a Tardis Police Box on the Island at the Bakers Arms at the main junction and it was rare not to see a policeman about the Bakers Arms as it was the main area of Leyton. The Police Accommodation block up by the bridge had over 100 coppers there. The area has gone down the pan with no police around, the undesirables as mentioned above, congregating and a no go area atmosphere at night. The low class chicken shops and take always together with the bookmakers now make it a magnate for trouble. Lip Service Loakes has done nothing to help the situation and he is often seen dining in neighbouring Redbridge where the eateries are much nicer. Villagecranberry

12:26pm Wed 22 Jan 14

bishbosh says...

Its all about the risk rating...what criteria is used to classify a food outlet high risk?. Risk rating was introduced as local enforcement resource was cut preventing every food premise getting an annual visit.. Council members can now spout that all high risk premises get a visit avoiding the real issue and embarrassing questions about lack of resource. As a council tax payer I want to be re assured that all food premises are safe not just the ones the council think should be.
Its all about the risk rating...what criteria is used to classify a food outlet high risk?. Risk rating was introduced as local enforcement resource was cut preventing every food premise getting an annual visit.. Council members can now spout that all high risk premises get a visit avoiding the real issue and embarrassing questions about lack of resource. As a council tax payer I want to be re assured that all food premises are safe not just the ones the council think should be. bishbosh

1:18pm Wed 22 Jan 14

mdj says...

' It amounts to saying that some London boroughs ranks below ours, so that's all right. '
Readers may still be able to find on the council website a glossy report from a few years ago, which gave some candid detail about the economic performance of this borough (pretty poor, in short), and then outlined its aims.
These consisted of trying to raise the Borough's performance towards the London average by several key indicators.
Quite apart from the poverty of the ambition - 'Aspiring Towards Mediocrity' is not a slogan to stir the blood and hang on roadsigns at the Borough's borders - it is also a logical impossibility, because we cannot raise our own performance without raising the average of the whole! By this standard, we could only get better if others get worse.

I share other readers' disappointment in the Council's newspaper: the last edition only contained five pictures of the Council Leader, when we can normally look forward to at least seven or eight. Come on, Chris Robbins, don't be shy! if you've got it, flaunt it! They don't call you the Strong Leader - (c) People's Republic of North Korea - for nothing! I'll never fill my scrapbook if this bashfulness continues.
' It amounts to saying that some London boroughs ranks below ours, so that's all right. ' Readers may still be able to find on the council website a glossy report from a few years ago, which gave some candid detail about the economic performance of this borough (pretty poor, in short), and then outlined its aims. These consisted of trying to raise the Borough's performance towards the London average by several key indicators. Quite apart from the poverty of the ambition - 'Aspiring Towards Mediocrity' is not a slogan to stir the blood and hang on roadsigns at the Borough's borders - it is also a logical impossibility, because we cannot raise our own performance without raising the average of the whole! By this standard, we could only get better if others get worse. I share other readers' disappointment in the Council's newspaper: the last edition only contained five pictures of the Council Leader, when we can normally look forward to at least seven or eight. Come on, Chris Robbins, don't be shy! if you've got it, flaunt it! They don't call you the Strong Leader - (c) People's Republic of North Korea - for nothing! I'll never fill my scrapbook if this bashfulness continues. mdj

2:32pm Fri 24 Jan 14

Love your high street says...

The Council need to educate businesses of the effect of inadequate food safety to both the business and the public. Waltham Forest do have that approach but they are very good at leaving the business to harm the public. They then fine them (the business) to raise income.
The Council need to educate businesses of the effect of inadequate food safety to both the business and the public. Waltham Forest do have that approach but they are very good at leaving the business to harm the public. They then fine them (the business) to raise income. Love your high street

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