Disciplinary action against officers under way after damning independent report

AN independent review has provided a damning insight into the council’s handling of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money over several years.

The mismanagement of council contracts and projects has worsened since the scandal over Waltham Forest Council’s use of regeneration funds came to light, a report has concluded.

The first independent investigation into the council’s response to revelations about how it mis-handled cash and projects for deprived areas found rules to prevent fraud continued to be broken long after pledges were made to deal with the problem.

The report is scathing in its criticism of a pervading culture within the authority, characterised by disregard for proper procedure and a “disturbing” unwillingness among managers to accept responsibility for failings.

Disciplinary action is now under way against an unspecified number of un-named officials.

The review, carried out by public sector stalwarts and led by London Development Agency chief Sir Peter Rogers, was made public yesterday (Wednesday).

It found the eagerness to instigate change since 2001 and please Government assessors led to proper processes being sacrificed in order to get things done.

And investigations by the human resources department into alleged wrongdoing were found to be so inept, staff were not punished for breaking the rules.

One example of the chaos which engulfed the authority centred on a contract with an un-named regeneration company worth £30,000.

A senior council employee was asked to produce a brief for the work although bosses knew he was soon going to work for a company which was a actually going to bid for the contract.

After completing the brief, he sent it to his new company and left the council.

He then submitted an application on behalf of his new employers, based on the inside information he had ascertained while working for the local authority.

The company in question, which did not offer the lowest bid, was later offered the contract without proper evaluation.

The authority is also criticised for a lack of transparency, with informal briefings replacing proper reports to cabinet, leading to issues remaining unresolved for years.

The review was ordered by chief executive Andrew Kilburn after previous action plans were not implemented.

He said that despite the failings, there has been a huge improvement in services delivered direct to the public.

But he made a clear commitment to put things right and change the culture within the council.

He said: “If people can’t accept facing up to mistakes then I am not sure I want them working in this organisation. I will deal with it. If people have a difficulty with that, they should consider what they are doing in the public sector.

“There were people who did things wrong, but I can’t re-write history. Disciplinary action has been taken and some people will leave the organisation, but I am not going to name those involved.

"When I joined the Council in October 2009 I became immediately concerned that we did not have the whole picture. With the full support of the cabinet, I commissioned an independent panel of experts to investigate the issues and make recommendations for improvement.

“This is a very hard hitting report. Our residents deserve better than the systemic failures which the panel has uncovered. I will be asking cabinet to accept the panel’s recommendations in full - we need to start the process of restoring our residents’ confidence in their council’s ability to procure and manage contracts.”

Leader of the council Cllr Chris Robbins said: "When I became Leader of the council in May, I promised local people that I would work hard to improve local services.

In the last five years Waltham Forest Council has improved greatly and this has been recognised by the independent panel report.

Nevertheless, the council has been aware that contract management needed to be more effective, which is why we commissioned this external and independent review.

"The report has indeed highlighted some significant failures in contract management over a number of years.

As leader of the council I will ensure that the recommendations of the review are acted on quickly and decisively.

Working with my cabinet colleagues I will make additional recommendations that are designed to add to those of the independent review.

"I want to apologise to the residents of Waltham Forest for the failure of the council in these areas. While we have made big improvements in recent years, we are not complacent.

"We are committed to work to ensure continued improvement both the management and service delivery in Waltham Forest."

Councillor John Macklin, Deputy Leader of the Council said: "This report shows that there are clearly some areas of the council which are still not fit for purpose and this is not acceptable.

"Our absolute priority is to put these matters right whilst still delivering the continued improvement in services and value for money that our residents deserve."

Chingford MP Iain Duncan Smith said: “I congratulate Andrew Kilburn for opening up the council. What we have seen here is an indictment of what has been happening for a number of years.”

Comments (41)

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5:22pm Wed 25 Nov 09

wfmywordmybond says...

Well done Nick Tiratsoo
Well done Nick Tiratsoo wfmywordmybond
  • Score: 0

5:27pm Wed 25 Nov 09

mdj says...

'Disciplinary action has been taken and some people will leave the organisation, but I am not going to name those involved.'

Why not? Are prosecutions pending? Can Cllr Robbins tell us what he was doing while all this was going on, and why Cllr Loakes said years ago that defective procedures had been fixed when they clearly hadn't ? What is going on right now that our Councillors haven't a clue about?
If it hadn't been for the tireless probing of one local resident, all this would have been swept under the carpet.
'Disciplinary action has been taken and some people will leave the organisation, but I am not going to name those involved.' Why not? Are prosecutions pending? Can Cllr Robbins tell us what he was doing while all this was going on, and why Cllr Loakes said years ago that defective procedures had been fixed when they clearly hadn't ? What is going on right now that our Councillors haven't a clue about? If it hadn't been for the tireless probing of one local resident, all this would have been swept under the carpet. mdj
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Wed 25 Nov 09

Walthamster says...

So why is Cllr Robbins saying "In the last five years Waltham Forest Council has improved greatly"?

The council's improved rating in government box-ticking exercises is one of the factors that this report BLAMES for much of the problem.

It says "the eagerness to ... please Government assessors led to proper processes being sacrificed in order to get things done".

The report makes it very clear that the mismanagement has continued, and actually got worse after the council was warned about it.

It was campaigners like Nick Tiratsoo (not councillors or council officers) who first revealed the 'disappearance' of public funds and have been pushing for answers. Congratulations, Nick.

This report is only part of the answer, but it's a start.
So why is Cllr Robbins saying "In the last five years Waltham Forest Council has improved greatly"? The council's improved rating in government box-ticking exercises is one of the factors that this report BLAMES for much of the problem. It says "the eagerness to ... please Government assessors led to proper processes being sacrificed in order to get things done". The report makes it very clear that the mismanagement has continued, and actually got worse after the council was warned about it. It was campaigners like Nick Tiratsoo (not councillors or council officers) who first revealed the 'disappearance' of public funds and have been pushing for answers. Congratulations, Nick. This report is only part of the answer, but it's a start. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

5:56pm Wed 25 Nov 09

Techno2 says...

Fine words from Andrew Kilburn, but are they sincere and are his employees hearing them?

He says that “If people can’t accept facing up to mistakes then I am not sure I want them working in this organisation. I will deal with it. If people have a difficulty with that, they should consider what they are doing in the public sector.

“There were people who did things wrong, but I can’t re-write history..."

Maybe he can't change the past, but his cohorts of spin-doctors can ignore it and try to airbrush it out of existence.

People looking on the home page of the council's website this evening would have no idea that this report has been published. They would be completely ignorant of the parlous state of affairs in our local authority or the extensive work being undertaken to rectify the situation.

Instead, the council's vast department of spin doctors think it more important to use the space to tell the public about other things, things like there being 1000 days to go until the paralympics. Interesting, for sure, but hardly more important news than this.

When Mr Kilburn has the report published prominently on the front page we and his fellow council employees will know he means business.

Fine words from Andrew Kilburn, but are they sincere and are his employees hearing them? He says that “If people can’t accept facing up to mistakes then I am not sure I want them working in this organisation. I will deal with it. If people have a difficulty with that, they should consider what they are doing in the public sector. “There were people who did things wrong, but I can’t re-write history..." Maybe he can't change the past, but his cohorts of spin-doctors can ignore it and try to airbrush it out of existence. People looking on the home page of the council's website this evening would have no idea that this report has been published. They would be completely ignorant of the parlous state of affairs in our local authority or the extensive work being undertaken to rectify the situation. Instead, the council's vast department of spin doctors think it more important to use the space to tell the public about other things, things like there being 1000 days to go until the paralympics. Interesting, for sure, but hardly more important news than this. When Mr Kilburn has the report published prominently on the front page we and his fellow council employees will know he means business. Techno2
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Wed 25 Nov 09

Dave Hall says...

"....One example of the chaos which engulfed the authority centred on a contract with an un-named regeneration company worth £30,000...."
This does not sound like chaos, but deliberate well-organised self-serving behaviour. Is this not actually illegal?
How come councillors do not seem to have been aware of this scandalous culture that pervaded the Town Hall?
Within moments of reading this report on the local Guardian website I received an email from the Senior Community Safety Officer at LBWF entitled "What crime should we be tackling in Waltham Forest?"
Well, a first response seems obvious. Nice sense of humour and/or timing there at Community Safety. Yes, please make our Community Safe. And let's have names named, and the guilty punished.
Remind me - who was in charge of the council when all this was going on?
"....One example of the chaos which engulfed the authority centred on a contract with an un-named regeneration company worth £30,000...." This does not sound like chaos, but deliberate well-organised self-serving behaviour. Is this not actually illegal? How come councillors do not seem to have been aware of this scandalous culture that pervaded the Town Hall? Within moments of reading this report on the local Guardian website I received an email from the Senior Community Safety Officer at LBWF entitled "What crime should we be tackling in Waltham Forest?" Well, a first response seems obvious. Nice sense of humour and/or timing there at Community Safety. Yes, please make our Community Safe. And let's have names named, and the guilty punished. Remind me - who was in charge of the council when all this was going on? Dave Hall
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Wed 25 Nov 09

jrp says...

Anyone have a link to this report?
Anyone have a link to this report? jrp
  • Score: 0

7:07pm Wed 25 Nov 09

Dave Hall says...

jrp - I certainly can't find it on the council's website.
The home page has a headline "£1.5bn still up for grabs", so maybe the report hasn't got there yet...
jrp - I certainly can't find it on the council's website. The home page has a headline "£1.5bn still up for grabs", so maybe the report hasn't got there yet... Dave Hall
  • Score: 0

10:14pm Wed 25 Nov 09

NT says...

http://www1.walthamf
orest.gov.uk/moderng
ov/ieListDocuments.a
sp?CId=287&MId=2215&
Ver=4
http://www1.walthamf orest.gov.uk/moderng ov/ieListDocuments.a sp?CId=287&MId=2215& Ver=4 NT
  • Score: 0

10:32pm Wed 25 Nov 09

Touchwood says...

Why such a surprise at this report? The LBWF has been mismanaged (an understatement if ever there was) for decades but the voters still elect these clowns so they can't really complain!!
Why such a surprise at this report? The LBWF has been mismanaged (an understatement if ever there was) for decades but the voters still elect these clowns so they can't really complain!! Touchwood
  • Score: 0

10:39pm Wed 25 Nov 09

NT says...

Sammonds p.6:

"There are disturbing signs from my investigation that senior managers were protected from exposure to disciplinary action..."

By definition, there is no-one more senior in an organisation than senior managers.

So who was doing the 'protecting'?
Sammonds p.6: "There are disturbing signs from my investigation that senior managers were protected from exposure to disciplinary action..." By definition, there is no-one more senior in an organisation than senior managers. So who was doing the 'protecting'? NT
  • Score: 0

2:34am Thu 26 Nov 09

Cllr Matt Davis says...

NT wrote:
Sammonds p.6:

"There are disturbing signs from my investigation that senior managers were protected from exposure to disciplinary action..."

By definition, there is no-one more senior in an organisation than senior managers.

So who was doing the 'protecting'?
That Nick is the key question that, sadly but perhaps unsurprisingly, remains completely unanswered by the Panel's report. It is disappointing that supposedly no blame can be attached to any politician in all of this.

However you are to be congratulated on the service that you have rendered to the community by raising this all in the first place and persisting with it in the face of considerable efforts to stone wall you.
[quote][p][bold]NT[/bold] wrote: Sammonds p.6: "There are disturbing signs from my investigation that senior managers were protected from exposure to disciplinary action..." By definition, there is no-one more senior in an organisation than senior managers. So who was doing the 'protecting'?[/p][/quote]That Nick is the key question that, sadly but perhaps unsurprisingly, remains completely unanswered by the Panel's report. It is disappointing that supposedly no blame can be attached to any politician in all of this. However you are to be congratulated on the service that you have rendered to the community by raising this all in the first place and persisting with it in the face of considerable efforts to stone wall you. Cllr Matt Davis
  • Score: 0

9:06am Thu 26 Nov 09

NT says...

The panel believed that its remit precluded comment on elected representatives (though it certainly heard plenty of evidence about their antics).

However, I think there are some significant clues as to its conclusions about councillors’ behaviour.

There are only a very few concrete examples cited in the report, and it is interesting to speculate why they, as opposed to the myriad of other possibilities, were included.

It is rumoured that the Corporate Audit and Fraud Team report into Company X names a councillor, perhaps another reason why it is being withheld. It is a matter of public record that Company X also did a lot of work re-fashioning the LSP, chaired by Councillor Y.

The EduAction affair occurred on Councillor Z’s' watch, and though he has been publicly challenged to declare what he knew about it and when, he has so far declined to comment.

And then there is the Ann Malloy report.

I brought this to the attention of the panel, and I know that it intended to track her down and talk to her.

Her report's conclusions are scathing - indeed unusually so. But I was nevertheless at first surprised to see them featured so heavily by the panel. Again, why focus here as opposed to elsewhere?

What can be said is that Malloy investigated right at the beginning of the NRF process in 2005; her findings went straight to the chief executive (a friend, I was told) and her deputy; and they were later featured on the front page of the Waltham Forest Guardian of 17 February 2005, as well as many Guardian billboards outside shops across the borough.

Is it credible that Councillor’s Y and Z, and their Cabinet colleagues, did not know about the Malloy report? I don’t think so.

So then the question becomes: if they did know, why was it that three more years elapsed before they took any kind of effective corrective action? And this question is thrown into even shaper relief by the fact that, of course, many millions of pounds more were wasted as a consequence of the inaction.

I think it is now high time that some senior Councillors explained themselves, because - panel report or no panel report – these kind of issues are not going to go away, and if they are no fully answered, the Council will continue to suffer reputational damage, and in a wider environment which is about to become decidely less friendly.
The panel believed that its remit precluded comment on elected representatives (though it certainly heard plenty of evidence about their antics). However, I think there are some significant clues as to its conclusions about councillors’ behaviour. There are only a very few concrete examples cited in the report, and it is interesting to speculate why they, as opposed to the myriad of other possibilities, were included. It is rumoured that the Corporate Audit and Fraud Team report into Company X names a councillor, perhaps another reason why it is being withheld. It is a matter of public record that Company X also did a lot of work re-fashioning the LSP, chaired by Councillor Y. The EduAction affair occurred on Councillor Z’s' watch, and though he has been publicly challenged to declare what he knew about it and when, he has so far declined to comment. And then there is the Ann Malloy report. I brought this to the attention of the panel, and I know that it intended to track her down and talk to her. Her report's conclusions are scathing - indeed unusually so. But I was nevertheless at first surprised to see them featured so heavily by the panel. Again, why focus here as opposed to elsewhere? What can be said is that Malloy investigated right at the beginning of the NRF process in 2005; her findings went straight to the chief executive (a friend, I was told) and her deputy; and they were later featured on the front page of the Waltham Forest Guardian of 17 February 2005, as well as many Guardian billboards outside shops across the borough. Is it credible that Councillor’s Y and Z, and their Cabinet colleagues, did not know about the Malloy report? I don’t think so. So then the question becomes: if they did know, why was it that three more years elapsed before they took any kind of effective corrective action? And this question is thrown into even shaper relief by the fact that, of course, many millions of pounds more were wasted as a consequence of the inaction. I think it is now high time that some senior Councillors explained themselves, because - panel report or no panel report – these kind of issues are not going to go away, and if they are no fully answered, the Council will continue to suffer reputational damage, and in a wider environment which is about to become decidely less friendly. NT
  • Score: 0

9:49am Thu 26 Nov 09

Janet1 says...

It's good that we finally have a chief executive prepared to investigate the scandals revealed by Nick Tiratsoo.

But this raises many questions.

Why did a serious of previous investigations fail to come up with any useful conclusions?

Why are the perpetrators not being named?

Why are so few of the details being revealed? These aren't cases of honest mistakes being made but a culture of wrong-doing.

Are any criminal charges being brought? If not, why not?

None of this would have been uncovered without years of painstaking, unpaid work by Nick Tiratsoo, who is just a member of the public. (Thank you, Nick.) He has been publicising the facts he's uncovered for several years now, with the help of the local Guardian. So why are the highly-paid councillors who are supposed to oversee these areas not being held to account?
It's good that we finally have a chief executive prepared to investigate the scandals revealed by Nick Tiratsoo. But this raises many questions. Why did a serious of previous investigations fail to come up with any useful conclusions? Why are the perpetrators not being named? Why are so few of the details being revealed? These aren't cases of honest mistakes being made but a culture of wrong-doing. Are any criminal charges being brought? If not, why not? None of this would have been uncovered without years of painstaking, unpaid work by Nick Tiratsoo, who is just a member of the public. (Thank you, Nick.) He has been publicising the facts he's uncovered for several years now, with the help of the local Guardian. So why are the highly-paid councillors who are supposed to oversee these areas not being held to account? Janet1
  • Score: 0

10:11am Thu 26 Nov 09

Techno2 says...

Techno2 wrote:
Fine words from Andrew Kilburn, but are they sincere and are his employees hearing them? He says that “If people can’t accept facing up to mistakes then I am not sure I want them working in this organisation. I will deal with it. If people have a difficulty with that, they should consider what they are doing in the public sector. “There were people who did things wrong, but I can’t re-write history..." Maybe he can't change the past, but his cohorts of spin-doctors can ignore it and try to airbrush it out of existence. People looking on the home page of the council's website this evening would have no idea that this report has been published. They would be completely ignorant of the parlous state of affairs in our local authority or the extensive work being undertaken to rectify the situation. Instead, the council's vast department of spin doctors think it more important to use the space to tell the public about other things, things like there being 1000 days to go until the paralympics. Interesting, for sure, but hardly more important news than this. When Mr Kilburn has the report published prominently on the front page we and his fellow council employees will know he means business.
I am pleased to see they have now put it up on the home page.

They do use an interesting euphemism though to spin this:

They call it the report of the Independent Panel "into the authority’s failure to deliver government funded projects."

If only that was the only issue.

[quote][p][bold]Techno2[/bold] wrote: Fine words from Andrew Kilburn, but are they sincere and are his employees hearing them? He says that “If people can’t accept facing up to mistakes then I am not sure I want them working in this organisation. I will deal with it. If people have a difficulty with that, they should consider what they are doing in the public sector. “There were people who did things wrong, but I can’t re-write history..." Maybe he can't change the past, but his cohorts of spin-doctors can ignore it and try to airbrush it out of existence. People looking on the home page of the council's website this evening would have no idea that this report has been published. They would be completely ignorant of the parlous state of affairs in our local authority or the extensive work being undertaken to rectify the situation. Instead, the council's vast department of spin doctors think it more important to use the space to tell the public about other things, things like there being 1000 days to go until the paralympics. Interesting, for sure, but hardly more important news than this. When Mr Kilburn has the report published prominently on the front page we and his fellow council employees will know he means business. [/p][/quote]I am pleased to see they have now put it up on the home page. They do use an interesting euphemism though to spin this: They call it the report of the Independent Panel "into the authority’s failure to deliver government funded projects." If only that was the only issue. Techno2
  • Score: 0

10:33am Thu 26 Nov 09

hologram says...

I can't see this, has it been quckly removed?
I can't see this, has it been quckly removed? hologram
  • Score: 0

11:00am Thu 26 Nov 09

Techno2 says...

hologram wrote:
I can't see this, has it been quckly removed?
http://www.walthamfo
rest.gov.uk/

Its on the first page with a link
[quote][p][bold]hologram[/bold] wrote: I can't see this, has it been quckly removed?[/p][/quote]http://www.walthamfo rest.gov.uk/ Its on the first page with a link Techno2
  • Score: 0

11:11am Thu 26 Nov 09

hologram says...

Thanks Techno2, I had 'My Place' up and thus couldn't see the header. I see a few paragraphs of the report have been deleted but what is there is a shocking indictment - whether anyone will be indicted is another matter, of course!
Thanks Techno2, I had 'My Place' up and thus couldn't see the header. I see a few paragraphs of the report have been deleted but what is there is a shocking indictment - whether anyone will be indicted is another matter, of course! hologram
  • Score: 0

12:57pm Thu 26 Nov 09

jrp says...

If we wave this report about hard enough, do you think they will see us in Northampton?
If we wave this report about hard enough, do you think they will see us in Northampton? jrp
  • Score: 0

1:05pm Thu 26 Nov 09

Techno2 says...

Good idea. Mr Loakes should be telling us all publically what he really knows about where our money has gone. The people in Northampton should be aware of this stain on his record

:)
Good idea. Mr Loakes should be telling us all publically what he really knows about where our money has gone. The people in Northampton should be aware of this stain on his record :) Techno2
  • Score: 0

1:12pm Thu 26 Nov 09

Besska says...

jrp wrote:
If we wave this report about hard enough, do you think they will see us in Northampton?
Rather than wave, why not pick up the dog and bone and tell the local paper up there? I bet they'd be VERY interested. I believe it's the Northampton Chronicle and Echo...
:-)
The whole thing is a disgrace - hats off to Nick T for uncovering it in the first place. Those who broke the rules should be named and shamed, particularly given that they're accountable to the public. The whole thing has a whiff of whitewash about it...
[quote][p][bold]jrp[/bold] wrote: If we wave this report about hard enough, do you think they will see us in Northampton?[/p][/quote]Rather than wave, why not pick up the dog and bone and tell the local paper up there? I bet they'd be VERY interested. I believe it's the Northampton Chronicle and Echo... :-) The whole thing is a disgrace - hats off to Nick T for uncovering it in the first place. Those who broke the rules should be named and shamed, particularly given that they're accountable to the public. The whole thing has a whiff of whitewash about it... Besska
  • Score: 0

2:35pm Thu 26 Nov 09

hologram says...

Surely we have an extradition treaty with Northampton?
Surely we have an extradition treaty with Northampton? hologram
  • Score: 0

3:11pm Thu 26 Nov 09

Panoptes says...

This report is published conveniently close enough to the festive holiday season to be quietly shelved for the duration, after which we will go into election mode. I fear it may be yet another report left to gather dust.
This report is published conveniently close enough to the festive holiday season to be quietly shelved for the duration, after which we will go into election mode. I fear it may be yet another report left to gather dust. Panoptes
  • Score: 0

4:12pm Thu 26 Nov 09

Redfox says...

I doubt the last post comments will be true.
This mud will, quite rightly, stick to the majority of the council cabinet who deliberate in secret. That includes Robbins and the other Labour cronies for a start. But for the Lib Dems, could they not have prevented all of this by siding with the Tories a long while back and voted against the Labour lot?
What would be interesting to learn is how deep this cancer spread throughout the council-just how many basic staff knew and kept silent?
A plague on all their houses for saying nothing.
I doubt the last post comments will be true. This mud will, quite rightly, stick to the majority of the council cabinet who deliberate in secret. That includes Robbins and the other Labour cronies for a start. But for the Lib Dems, could they not have prevented all of this by siding with the Tories a long while back and voted against the Labour lot? What would be interesting to learn is how deep this cancer spread throughout the council-just how many basic staff knew and kept silent? A plague on all their houses for saying nothing. Redfox
  • Score: 0

5:29pm Thu 26 Nov 09

chris duran says...

The panel believed that the behaviour of councillors was precluded from their investigations.

Furthermore; senior officers appear to have been protected, but no names can be named.

Is it just me is is this completely different from the full, frank enquiry we were promised.

Even if we only consider the cost of all the investigations into this fiasco, it has cost us local tax payers dearly.

Yet the people who should be brought to account continue to be protected.

To be fair, I wonder how many other boroughs have got away with wasting their tax payers money, but the people don't know it because they don't have N.T, or anyone like him.

I don't suppose the people who are paid to scrutinize Council spending find it a particularly helpful career move to expose their masters in other boroughs, any more than they did in Waltham Forest.
The panel believed that the behaviour of councillors was precluded from their investigations. Furthermore; senior officers appear to have been protected, but no names can be named. Is it just me is is this completely different from the full, frank enquiry we were promised. Even if we only consider the cost of all the investigations into this fiasco, it has cost us local tax payers dearly. Yet the people who should be brought to account continue to be protected. To be fair, I wonder how many other boroughs have got away with wasting their tax payers money, but the people don't know it because they don't have N.T, or anyone like him. I don't suppose the people who are paid to scrutinize Council spending find it a particularly helpful career move to expose their masters in other boroughs, any more than they did in Waltham Forest. chris duran
  • Score: 0

5:47pm Thu 26 Nov 09

Panoptes says...

So, Redfox, who does that leave us to vote for? Perhaps a mass boycott of the local elections in May is the only credible response open to us.
So, Redfox, who does that leave us to vote for? Perhaps a mass boycott of the local elections in May is the only credible response open to us. Panoptes
  • Score: 0

10:47pm Thu 26 Nov 09

30michael says...

Well not surprised one bit. My own experience with the Council, we supplied and maintain their Phones communications for several years along if not more. Out of the blue they decided to opt for BT to maintain their Phone equipment and drop Our Companies contract. Fine you may say but at what a price! BT has removed all the Phone Communication equipment on all their sites we maintained and bought new equipment costing well over several hundreds of thousands of pound. All they had to do if they didn't want our company maintaining their existing equipment was to have BT maintain want they already had at the time, which would have cost very little difference in contracts. Its very easy too just buys what you like when the money isn't yours to start with. By the way the phone equipment they did got rid off was state of the art and was up to date and could have been easily maintains by BT or any other major telecom provider.
So please stop talking rot, they still do not care about wasting money, Its what they do best!
Well not surprised one bit. My own experience with the Council, we supplied and maintain their Phones communications for several years along if not more. Out of the blue they decided to opt for BT to maintain their Phone equipment and drop Our Companies contract. Fine you may say but at what a price! BT has removed all the Phone Communication equipment on all their sites we maintained and bought new equipment costing well over several hundreds of thousands of pound. All they had to do if they didn't want our company maintaining their existing equipment was to have BT maintain want they already had at the time, which would have cost very little difference in contracts. Its very easy too just buys what you like when the money isn't yours to start with. By the way the phone equipment they did got rid off was state of the art and was up to date and could have been easily maintains by BT or any other major telecom provider. So please stop talking rot, they still do not care about wasting money, Its what they do best! 30michael
  • Score: 0

11:31pm Thu 26 Nov 09

mdj says...

'...a contract with an un-named regeneration company worth £30,000..'

It's only a guess, but if you Google Renaisi, a regeneration consultancy, you'll find that they've been very generous employers of former officers of LBWF.
Also, if you can wade through the suffocating new-lab jargon and work out exactly what they do for their money, you'll be doing better than me.
'...a contract with an un-named regeneration company worth £30,000..' It's only a guess, but if you Google Renaisi, a regeneration consultancy, you'll find that they've been very generous employers of former officers of LBWF. Also, if you can wade through the suffocating new-lab jargon and work out exactly what they do for their money, you'll be doing better than me. mdj
  • Score: 0

8:37am Fri 27 Nov 09

NT says...

Yes, I agree, all this "company x" stuff is a bit idiotic, which is why I took the mickey in an earlier post.

It is already in the public domain that the Council corporate audit and fraud team has investigated some LBWF contracts with Renaisi; and that this report has not been made public because of "ongoing disciplinary action".

No doubt entirely unconnected, it is also a fact that Renaisi was employed by the Council amongst other things to refashion the Local Strategic Partnership, chair (and at that time the only elected representative who was involved) Councillor Clyde Loakes.


Yes, I agree, all this "company x" stuff is a bit idiotic, which is why I took the mickey in an earlier post. It is already in the public domain that the Council corporate audit and fraud team has investigated some LBWF contracts with Renaisi; and that this report has not been made public because of "ongoing disciplinary action". No doubt entirely unconnected, it is also a fact that Renaisi was employed by the Council amongst other things to refashion the Local Strategic Partnership, chair (and at that time the only elected representative who was involved) Councillor Clyde Loakes. NT
  • Score: 0

10:28am Fri 27 Nov 09

marsh warbler says...

Item 12.3 of the report summary includes the following sentence: "It will be damaging to the Council, its reputation and its residents if this is seen as merely restating the former interim CEO’s improvement plan, as that has already fallen into disrepute." I take it the former interim CEO referred to is Mr Roger Taylor. Would this be the same Roger Taylor who now heads up the 5 Host Boroughs Unit for the Olympics by any chance? No cause for concern there then!
Item 12.3 of the report summary includes the following sentence: "It will be damaging to the Council, its reputation and its residents if this is seen as merely restating the former interim CEO’s improvement plan, as that has already fallen into disrepute." I take it the former interim CEO referred to is Mr Roger Taylor. Would this be the same Roger Taylor who now heads up the 5 Host Boroughs Unit for the Olympics by any chance? No cause for concern there then! marsh warbler
  • Score: 0

10:34am Fri 27 Nov 09

Techno2 says...

NT wrote:
Yes, I agree, all this "company x" stuff is a bit idiotic, which is why I took the mickey in an earlier post. It is already in the public domain that the Council corporate audit and fraud team has investigated some LBWF contracts with Renaisi; and that this report has not been made public because of "ongoing disciplinary action". No doubt entirely unconnected, it is also a fact that Renaisi was employed by the Council amongst other things to refashion the Local Strategic Partnership, chair (and at that time the only elected representative who was involved) Councillor Clyde Loakes.
How interesting that anyone would have got up to this malarky (if that is what it is) right under the very nose of then Borough Police Commander Benbow who himself was a member of the strategic partnership. No conflict of interest there, I am sure. Of course, we are told he has now moved on to work for a local authority not far away, but it would be interesting to know what, if anything, he saw or knew was going on. Didn't he even pick up a whiff of anything when he was out on the town in his tuxedo with prominent local councillors collecting his award from for being a 'Beacon'?
[quote][p][bold]NT[/bold] wrote: Yes, I agree, all this "company x" stuff is a bit idiotic, which is why I took the mickey in an earlier post. It is already in the public domain that the Council corporate audit and fraud team has investigated some LBWF contracts with Renaisi; and that this report has not been made public because of "ongoing disciplinary action". No doubt entirely unconnected, it is also a fact that Renaisi was employed by the Council amongst other things to refashion the Local Strategic Partnership, chair (and at that time the only elected representative who was involved) Councillor Clyde Loakes. [/p][/quote]How interesting that anyone would have got up to this malarky (if that is what it is) right under the very nose of then Borough Police Commander Benbow who himself was a member of the strategic partnership. No conflict of interest there, I am sure. Of course, we are told he has now moved on to work for a local authority not far away, but it would be interesting to know what, if anything, he saw or knew was going on. Didn't he even pick up a whiff of anything when he was out on the town in his tuxedo with prominent local councillors collecting his award from for being a 'Beacon'? Techno2
  • Score: 0

10:52am Fri 27 Nov 09

marsh warbler says...

'Ello, 'ello, 'ello, what's goin' on 'ere then?!
'Ello, 'ello, 'ello, what's goin' on 'ere then?! marsh warbler
  • Score: 0

11:28am Fri 27 Nov 09

lindasfriend says...

Is it onlyofficers who have been investigated? What about the councillors? I'd love an investigator to come and speak to me - I could tell them a thing or two!
Is it onlyofficers who have been investigated? What about the councillors? I'd love an investigator to come and speak to me - I could tell them a thing or two! lindasfriend
  • Score: 0

2:43pm Fri 27 Nov 09

NT says...

Ah, yes, Roger Taylor.

I believe that he is one of the great leader/thinkers who has inspired what is now known in local government circles and beyond as 'the Loakes-Taylor effect', which is expressed in the following formulae:

Then

Councillor Loakes to the Cabinet, 22 July 2008:

‘He stated that the Council would implement an action plan to address sloppy practices that had occurred in both the application of the Council’s procurement policies and the management of contracts. Under the proposed action plan the Council’s Executive Directors would be personally responsible for the effectiveness of procurement within their areas and the failure of those within their service, and that there would be compulsory training for all officers dealing with procurement and management of contracts'.


Now

Technical Appendices, Appendices to the Reports of Sarah Wood, Report 1, Appendix 1, Investigation report: procurement, 4/09/09, p.9:

‘From the overall results found when checking the 57 contracts obtained during the sampling exercise, it was apparent that there was a fall in percentage of contracts tendered correctly in line with the Council’s CPRs from 24.4% to 18.8 %’.
Ah, yes, Roger Taylor. I believe that he is one of the great leader/thinkers who has inspired what is now known in local government circles and beyond as 'the Loakes-Taylor effect', which is expressed in the following formulae: Then Councillor Loakes to the Cabinet, 22 July 2008: ‘He stated that the Council would implement an action plan to address sloppy practices that had occurred in both the application of the Council’s procurement policies and the management of contracts. Under the proposed action plan the Council’s Executive Directors would be personally responsible for the effectiveness of procurement within their areas and the failure of those within their service, and that there would be compulsory training for all officers dealing with procurement and management of contracts'. Now Technical Appendices, Appendices to the Reports of Sarah Wood, Report 1, Appendix 1, Investigation report: procurement, 4/09/09, p.9: ‘From the overall results found when checking the 57 contracts obtained during the sampling exercise, it was apparent that there was a fall in percentage of contracts tendered correctly in line with the Council’s CPRs from 24.4% to 18.8 %’. NT
  • Score: 0

4:05pm Fri 27 Nov 09

chris duran says...

To sum up.

Millions of pounds of our money has been "lost" by the Council.

Hundreds of thousands more has been spent by said Council investigating this fiasco.

Yet we still don't really know where most of the money went and have no chance of getting any of it back.

Dispite what we were led to believe, the role of Councillors was excluded from this latest enquiry, senior officers have been protected.

Meanwhile, processes to protect our money have got worse rather than better, despite repeated assurances that things had been sorted out, and depite the excuse that the only reason for this fiasco was that the Council had such an almighty mess to sort out when the great white Rhino took charge.

Still, we are assured that some officers will be disciplined by the same people who have been protecting the senior officers. Others may even have to leave the Council, but many have allready done so, with good references to get other highly paid jobs.

It seems to me that the Council has consistently tried to evade any accountability, or failing that to postpone the rockoning for as possible, and to pass the buck as far down the command chain as they possibly can.

The one person who emerges from all this with any credit is N.T, who is the only one who wasn't being paid for his efforts. If the Council had been serious about sorting this out they would have got him to do the investigation.
To sum up. Millions of pounds of our money has been "lost" by the Council. Hundreds of thousands more has been spent by said Council investigating this fiasco. Yet we still don't really know where most of the money went and have no chance of getting any of it back. Dispite what we were led to believe, the role of Councillors was excluded from this latest enquiry, senior officers have been protected. Meanwhile, processes to protect our money have got worse rather than better, despite repeated assurances that things had been sorted out, and depite the excuse that the only reason for this fiasco was that the Council had such an almighty mess to sort out when the great white Rhino took charge. Still, we are assured that some officers will be disciplined by the same people who have been protecting the senior officers. Others may even have to leave the Council, but many have allready done so, with good references to get other highly paid jobs. It seems to me that the Council has consistently tried to evade any accountability, or failing that to postpone the rockoning for as possible, and to pass the buck as far down the command chain as they possibly can. The one person who emerges from all this with any credit is N.T, who is the only one who wasn't being paid for his efforts. If the Council had been serious about sorting this out they would have got him to do the investigation. chris duran
  • Score: 0

1:42pm Sat 28 Nov 09

Janet1 says...

I hope this doesn't inspire a mass boycott of the next election, Panoptes. That would ensure re-election of the people who have caused this trouble, because they and their cronies will certainly vote.

No, let's hope some good independents come forward. There would be huge support for any candidates who are seen as honest and competent.

Meanwhile, what is the next step? Are we going to see any action as a result of this report?
I hope this doesn't inspire a mass boycott of the next election, Panoptes. That would ensure re-election of the people who have caused this trouble, because they and their cronies will certainly vote. No, let's hope some good independents come forward. There would be huge support for any candidates who are seen as honest and competent. Meanwhile, what is the next step? Are we going to see any action as a result of this report? Janet1
  • Score: 0

2:51pm Sun 29 Nov 09

backwoods says...

Regrettably, Janet1, Panoptes is probably right in thinking that the issue will be kicked into the long grass. As to who this leaves us to vote for, I've heard a lot of talk about independents standing at the next election but the chances are that this will merely throw up (I use the term advisedly) a bunch of single-issue obsessives and those with borderline personality disorders. In fact, business as usual, one might say!
Regrettably, Janet1, Panoptes is probably right in thinking that the issue will be kicked into the long grass. As to who this leaves us to vote for, I've heard a lot of talk about independents standing at the next election but the chances are that this will merely throw up (I use the term advisedly) a bunch of single-issue obsessives and those with borderline personality disorders. In fact, business as usual, one might say! backwoods
  • Score: 0

9:11pm Mon 30 Nov 09

mdj says...

Backwoods,
It all depends on how any independents are selected: in Havering, where Independents form the official opposition, hustings are held in each ward to select a candidate from that neighbourhood. The elected cllrs meet to discuss common strategies, but have no whip, which keeps their definition as independents truthful .This would minimise the risk of cranks &c, that you rightly fear.
Backwoods, It all depends on how any independents are selected: in Havering, where Independents form the official opposition, hustings are held in each ward to select a candidate from that neighbourhood. The elected cllrs meet to discuss common strategies, but have no whip, which keeps their definition as independents truthful .This would minimise the risk of cranks &c, that you rightly fear. mdj
  • Score: 0

12:53pm Tue 1 Dec 09

Techno2 says...

mdj wrote:
Backwoods, It all depends on how any independents are selected: in Havering, where Independents form the official opposition, hustings are held in each ward to select a candidate from that neighbourhood. The elected cllrs meet to discuss common strategies, but have no whip, which keeps their definition as independents truthful .This would minimise the risk of cranks &c, that you rightly fear.
Talking of cranks, has anyone seen Ms Creasy recently? I am hoping she will be making a statement on this topic, seeing as she was a councillor during this period and may be able to give an insight into the goings on at the council and of her Labour colleagues, but for some reason, she has dropped out of sight since organising the political Bring and Buy Sale for Miliband last week
[quote][p][bold]mdj[/bold] wrote: Backwoods, It all depends on how any independents are selected: in Havering, where Independents form the official opposition, hustings are held in each ward to select a candidate from that neighbourhood. The elected cllrs meet to discuss common strategies, but have no whip, which keeps their definition as independents truthful .This would minimise the risk of cranks &c, that you rightly fear. [/p][/quote]Talking of cranks, has anyone seen Ms Creasy recently? I am hoping she will be making a statement on this topic, seeing as she was a councillor during this period and may be able to give an insight into the goings on at the council and of her Labour colleagues, but for some reason, she has dropped out of sight since organising the political Bring and Buy Sale for Miliband last week Techno2
  • Score: 0

6:26pm Tue 1 Dec 09

NT says...

Indeed, it would be interesting to know Ms. Creasy's views.
I got interested in this whole subject when I was elected chair of Cann Hall Neighbourhood Forum in 2003, and quickly discovered that our annual budget (£200,000) did not seem to be either going where we wanted it to go, or even achieving what it ought.
In the course of the next few years, I inevitably heard about other Forums, and in particular about apparently exotic goings on in Lea Bridge.
I do remember compiling an analysis in about 2006 which, Forum by Forum, attempted to link expenditure and known outputs, and discovering that the most opaque wards in this respect were Cathall and Lea Bridge. Now I wonder what those two wards had in common?
I'll have to look it out - the analysis, I mean.
Indeed, it would be interesting to know Ms. Creasy's views. I got interested in this whole subject when I was elected chair of Cann Hall Neighbourhood Forum in 2003, and quickly discovered that our annual budget (£200,000) did not seem to be either going where we wanted it to go, or even achieving what it ought. In the course of the next few years, I inevitably heard about other Forums, and in particular about apparently exotic goings on in Lea Bridge. I do remember compiling an analysis in about 2006 which, Forum by Forum, attempted to link expenditure and known outputs, and discovering that the most opaque wards in this respect were Cathall and Lea Bridge. Now I wonder what those two wards had in common? I'll have to look it out - the analysis, I mean. NT
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Tue 1 Dec 09

Mr Bernard says...

I hope the good people of Waltham Forest remember this come election time. Cllr Robbins mentioned:

"While we have made big improvements in recent years, we are not complacent".

Cllr Robbins...clearly you have become complacent as I, as a resident of Waltham Forest, have failed to see any 'regeneration' in the Borough (in less that means small flats...sorry...apar
tments popping up everywhere) which is what a large sum of that money was supposed to be used for... at least I can now see why Waltham Forest is always firmly placed on deprivation lists, when those in charge of the big bucks somehow manage to MISMANAGE the finances.
I hope the good people of Waltham Forest remember this come election time. Cllr Robbins mentioned: "While we have made big improvements in recent years, we are not complacent". Cllr Robbins...clearly you have become complacent as I, as a resident of Waltham Forest, have failed to see any 'regeneration' in the Borough (in less that means small flats...sorry...apar tments popping up everywhere) which is what a large sum of that money was supposed to be used for... at least I can now see why Waltham Forest is always firmly placed on deprivation lists, when those in charge of the big bucks somehow manage to MISMANAGE the finances. Mr Bernard
  • Score: 0

7:03pm Tue 1 Dec 09

Walthamster says...

N.T., you should be carrying out the official investigation and getting paid for it!

Oh wait a minute, no, you'd uncover lots of nasty facts and tell people who took the money. Can't have that.
N.T., you should be carrying out the official investigation and getting paid for it! Oh wait a minute, no, you'd uncover lots of nasty facts and tell people who took the money. Can't have that. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

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