Waltham Forest News must become quarterly

Council leader Chris Robbins has been told to ensure Waltham Forest News is only published on a quarterly basis

Council leader Chris Robbins has been told to ensure Waltham Forest News is only published on a quarterly basis

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

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.

Comments (14)

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5:10pm Tue 8 Apr 14

fabster says...

Well done Brandon Lewis and Janice Shillum Bhend. Yet again, after the soup kitchen victory, it comes down to residents who care enough and are angry enough to compel this council to behave in accordance with the rule of law.
Well done Brandon Lewis and Janice Shillum Bhend. Yet again, after the soup kitchen victory, it comes down to residents who care enough and are angry enough to compel this council to behave in accordance with the rule of law. fabster
  • Score: 24

6:07pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

What a shame, nicely lined my cat litter tray.
What a shame, nicely lined my cat litter tray. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 22

6:12pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Howard Wolowitz says...

So the red red robbin won't come bobbing through my door for 3 months, that's a relief then.
So the red red robbin won't come bobbing through my door for 3 months, that's a relief then. Howard Wolowitz
  • Score: 14

6:58pm Tue 8 Apr 14

sahw says...

Mr Duncan-Smith should perhaps review his comment to ".... a FORMER Labour councillor is currently in jail..."

And he ignores the fact that WFN has not commented on a Tory Councillor currently charged with firearms offences.
Mr Duncan-Smith should perhaps review his comment to ".... a FORMER Labour councillor is currently in jail..." And he ignores the fact that WFN has not commented on a Tory Councillor currently charged with firearms offences. sahw
  • Score: 0

7:01pm Tue 8 Apr 14

sahw says...

Sorry, that should of course be Mr Duncan-Jones.

Easy mistake to make given the neighbouring Tory MP.....
Sorry, that should of course be Mr Duncan-Jones. Easy mistake to make given the neighbouring Tory MP..... sahw
  • Score: -3

7:18pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Dave mp says...

hooray.
hooray. Dave mp
  • Score: 10

8:15pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

sahw wrote:
Sorry, that should of course be Mr Duncan-Jones.

Easy mistake to make given the neighbouring Tory MP.....
No, easy to make if you jump to conclusions.
[quote][p][bold]sahw[/bold] wrote: Sorry, that should of course be Mr Duncan-Jones. Easy mistake to make given the neighbouring Tory MP.....[/p][/quote]No, easy to make if you jump to conclusions. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -10

8:16pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

Howard Wolowitz wrote:
So the red red robbin won't come bobbing through my door for 3 months, that's a relief then.
No, easy to make if you jump to conclusions.
[quote][p][bold]Howard Wolowitz[/bold] wrote: So the red red robbin won't come bobbing through my door for 3 months, that's a relief then.[/p][/quote]No, easy to make if you jump to conclusions. Villagecranberry
  • Score: -8

8:18pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

Howard Wolowitz wrote:
So the red red robbin won't come bobbing through my door for 3 months, that's a relief then.
Robbins and Co. Just do not get it, do they?

They would never have produced that if it came out of their wages, would they?.

I just received this small Yellow Pages left on the doorstep. Went straight into the recycle bin.
[quote][p][bold]Howard Wolowitz[/bold] wrote: So the red red robbin won't come bobbing through my door for 3 months, that's a relief then.[/p][/quote]Robbins and Co. Just do not get it, do they? They would never have produced that if it came out of their wages, would they?. I just received this small Yellow Pages left on the doorstep. Went straight into the recycle bin. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 7

9:32pm Tue 8 Apr 14

Ferdy54 says...

Oh, is that still going? I havent seen it for months anyway.
Oh, is that still going? I havent seen it for months anyway. Ferdy54
  • Score: 4

10:30pm Tue 8 Apr 14

fabster says...

sahw wrote:
Mr Duncan-Smith should perhaps review his comment to ".... a FORMER Labour councillor is currently in jail..."

And he ignores the fact that WFN has not commented on a Tory Councillor currently charged with firearms offences.
Come off it Walker Shah, you know as well as I do that Cllr Geoff Hammond was serving as a Councillor at the time when he was committing fraud, was found out & was investigated. That he resigned when the case looked like it was going to be passed on to the CPS for prosecution does not make him a FORMER Councillor. He was a serving Labour Councillor 'at the time'. MDJ's point stands. None of it was reported in the local council paper.

To that end, after Cllr Hammond's resignation, there should have been a by-election. But of course, this Local Authority does not see the need to follow something as pesky as Central Government imposed rules.
[quote][p][bold]sahw[/bold] wrote: Mr Duncan-Smith should perhaps review his comment to ".... a FORMER Labour councillor is currently in jail..." And he ignores the fact that WFN has not commented on a Tory Councillor currently charged with firearms offences.[/p][/quote]Come off it Walker Shah, you know as well as I do that Cllr Geoff Hammond was serving as a Councillor at the time when he was committing fraud, was found out & was investigated. That he resigned when the case looked like it was going to be passed on to the CPS for prosecution does not make him a FORMER Councillor. He was a serving Labour Councillor 'at the time'. MDJ's point stands. None of it was reported in the local council paper. To that end, after Cllr Hammond's resignation, there should have been a by-election. But of course, this Local Authority does not see the need to follow something as pesky as Central Government imposed rules. fabster
  • Score: 15

11:58pm Tue 8 Apr 14

mdj says...

Thank you, fabster, for making a point and saving me the trouble.
Mr Hammond was very much a Labour Councillor while he was doing his thieving. He had been an approved candidate in previous elections also.

It has to be asked; what are the selection criteria that enable the public at large to tell the difference between an upstanding socialist tribune of the people and a sneak who steals from a charity?

On fabster's other point, the reason there was no by-election was that Mr Hammond spun out his resignation - no doubt with party approval - until there was less than six months to the next election, which means that no by-election need be held.

Another thing that WF News will not tell you is that the Council Leader was rebuked by his party at national level for his bullying conduct towards junior members locally. It must have been severe for people to slog through the various levels of complaint and appeal to make the charge stick
Thank you, fabster, for making a point and saving me the trouble. Mr Hammond was very much a Labour Councillor while he was doing his thieving. He had been an approved candidate in previous elections also. It has to be asked; what are the selection criteria that enable the public at large to tell the difference between an upstanding socialist tribune of the people and a sneak who steals from a charity? On fabster's other point, the reason there was no by-election was that Mr Hammond spun out his resignation - no doubt with party approval - until there was less than six months to the next election, which means that no by-election need be held. Another thing that WF News will not tell you is that the Council Leader was rebuked by his party at national level for his bullying conduct towards junior members locally. It must have been severe for people to slog through the various levels of complaint and appeal to make the charge stick mdj
  • Score: 10

10:46am Wed 9 Apr 14

chingford lad says...

Oh, was one supposed to read what I understand was a Labour party propaganda rag? I just cut them into small squares and hung them in the downstairs loo.
Oh, was one supposed to read what I understand was a Labour party propaganda rag? I just cut them into small squares and hung them in the downstairs loo. chingford lad
  • Score: 3

11:23am Wed 9 Apr 14

faro0485 says...

I wonder if either of these two would are joining UKIP, as have I.
I wonder if either of these two would are joining UKIP, as have I. faro0485
  • Score: -2

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