WALTHAM FOREST: Council fiasco plan set to be agreed (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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WALTHAM FOREST: Council fiasco plan set to be agreed
A PLAN to prevent a repeat of the long-term mismanagement of millions of pounds by Waltham Forest Council is set to be agreed by ruling councillors.
The comprehensive reform of internal procedures was ordered in the wake of the publication of a damning independent report, which found the authority had been left on a knife-edge by a systemic failure to manage its finances.
Cabinet members will on Tuesday discuss the plan, which aims to eradicate a pervading disregard for anti-fraud procedures regarding council contracts and an unwillingness to accept responsibility for failings.
The plan includes a review of human resources procedures to deliver a "new culture" based on collective responsibility.
The roles of leading councillors and senior officers will be "restated" in terms of standards, expectations and responsibilities.
Procurement and commissioning training will also be reviewed.
The plan includes measures to increase transparency and public participation in council activities, including improved cabinet reports and greater scrutiny of cabinet decisions.
Cabinet members are expected to formally turn down a request from Conservative group leader Matt Davis to produce a report into EduAction, the company which used to manage schools in the borough, with a view to a possible criminal prosecution.
The company was paid £250,000 to help vulnerable children, but doubts emerged over whether at-risk children received any support.
The Crown Prosecution Services decided not to launch criminal proceedings against the company following a police investigation last year.
But the council's director of finance is currently seeking recover the cash through the civil courts.
Critics of the independent report have said it failed to explain why the fiasco happened and hold those responsible to account.
Disciplinary proceedings against a number of council officers are ongoing.
Ruling Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have apologised for the failings.
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