WALTHAM FOREST: Council fraud claim "a mistake"

First published in Waltham Forest East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Web Editor

MINUTES of a meeting which state for the first time that fraud had taken place in the handling of money intended for poor areas were recorded in error, the council has claimed.

A record of a Audit and Governance Committee meeting stated Town Hall chief auditor Ray Gard said there had been “fraud and waste of monies” with regard to the Better Neighbourhood Initiative.

The council said the reference “appears to be an unfortunate error in the minute-taking” and was not said at the time.

Despite the word “fraud” being found in the notebook used by the committee clerk, the Guardian understands councillors who attended the meeting confirmed the term was not used.

Previous enquiries into the mismanagement of millions of pounds had concluded that although rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored, there was no evidence that the law had been broken.

The meeting considered a report which found that there was a danger that the scandal could be repeated as insufficient action had been taken.

A council spokesman said: “The Director of Governance & Law has looked into the matter personally and discussed it with the senior officer in question.

“While the Head of Audit, Fraud and Risk stated that there were clear examples of poor practise and mismanagement, he did not say that there had been evidence of fraud. Any such reference appears to be an unfortunate error in the minute-taking."

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Comments (13)

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1:37pm Mon 21 Feb 11

Walthamster says...

So the admission of fraud by Waltham Forest council was "an unfortunate error in the minute-taking".

Of course! Couldn't possibly be true!
So the admission of fraud by Waltham Forest council was "an unfortunate error in the minute-taking". Of course! Couldn't possibly be true! Walthamster
  • Score: 0

1:57pm Mon 21 Feb 11

Sam Hain says...

A bit like a councillor's overdue cheque for a fine mysteriously turning up in borough safe I suppose! Honestly, what do they take us for?
A bit like a councillor's overdue cheque for a fine mysteriously turning up in borough safe I suppose! Honestly, what do they take us for? Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

2:03pm Mon 21 Feb 11

Sam Hain says...

"A council spokesman said: “The Director of Governance & Law has looked into the matter personally and discussed it with the senior officer in question." I'd love to have been a fly on the wall during that encounter!
"A council spokesman said: “The Director of Governance & Law has looked into the matter personally and discussed it with the senior officer in question." I'd love to have been a fly on the wall during that encounter! Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

3:01pm Mon 21 Feb 11

mdj says...

'although rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored, there was no evidence that the law had been broken...'
It being another mystery why rules to prevent fraud have less legal status than a parking ticket.
Still no explanation from Cllrs Loakes and Pye as to what happened to the £15 million unaccounted for under their supervision.

'“The Director of Governance & Law has looked into the matter personally and discussed it with the senior officer in question...'
We can be absolutely sure that no minutes whatever were taken at that meeting!
'although rules to prevent fraud were regularly ignored, there was no evidence that the law had been broken...' It being another mystery why rules to prevent fraud have less legal status than a parking ticket. Still no explanation from Cllrs Loakes and Pye as to what happened to the £15 million unaccounted for under their supervision. '“The Director of Governance & Law has looked into the matter personally and discussed it with the senior officer in question...' We can be absolutely sure that no minutes whatever were taken at that meeting! mdj
  • Score: 0

5:03pm Mon 21 Feb 11

Morris Hickey says...

Oh, sure - and we all know the tune the band played. What a load of old horlicks!
Oh, sure - and we all know the tune the band played. What a load of old horlicks! Morris Hickey
  • Score: 0

5:46pm Mon 21 Feb 11

EducateCommunities says...

Another fiasco by the Cabinet how many Skeletons In The Closet I Wonder.

This sounds like another cover -up but not really convincing enough to believe.

The mistake is that they have no real excuse to how this money vanished.

They now have another shot at wasting more millions with operation Ceasefire or losing some if they make another mistake.

If this was a member of the public who made a mistake they would be dragged before the courts to explain, but white collar crime is apparently ok if it was a mistake.
Another fiasco by the Cabinet how many Skeletons In The Closet I Wonder. This sounds like another cover -up but not really convincing enough to believe. The mistake is that they have no real excuse to how this money vanished. They now have another shot at wasting more millions with operation Ceasefire or losing some if they make another mistake. If this was a member of the public who made a mistake they would be dragged before the courts to explain, but white collar crime is apparently ok if it was a mistake. EducateCommunities
  • Score: 0

7:24pm Mon 21 Feb 11

walthamforesttruthwillout says...

The trouble here is that senior bods within the Council, and I include Councillors, seem to be intent on misdirection by blaming the minute taker. Before minutes are published they must have the approval of the chair of the committee.
Therefore, by definition the minutes were accurate and the Head of Audit admitted fraud had been committed in the administration of BNI.
http://wp.me/p10VLA-
eD
The trouble here is that senior bods within the Council, and I include Councillors, seem to be intent on misdirection by blaming the minute taker. Before minutes are published they must have the approval of the chair of the committee. Therefore, by definition the minutes were accurate and the Head of Audit admitted fraud had been committed in the administration of BNI. http://wp.me/p10VLA- eD walthamforesttruthwillout
  • Score: 0

9:28pm Mon 21 Feb 11

Walthamster says...

walthamforesttruthwi
llout
wrote:
The trouble here is that senior bods within the Council, and I include Councillors, seem to be intent on misdirection by blaming the minute taker. Before minutes are published they must have the approval of the chair of the committee.
Therefore, by definition the minutes were accurate and the Head of Audit admitted fraud had been committed in the administration of BNI.
http://wp.me/p10VLA-

eD
Thanks for posting this, walth.

So what the councillors are saying cannot be true. Or else they're admitting that whoever is meant to check the minutes didn't bother to do it -- although they're well paid for the few tasks expected of them.

How do they get out of that one? Please ask them, Guardian, because the way they get out of most things is by just ignoring them.
[quote][p][bold]walthamforesttruthwi llout[/bold] wrote: The trouble here is that senior bods within the Council, and I include Councillors, seem to be intent on misdirection by blaming the minute taker. Before minutes are published they must have the approval of the chair of the committee. Therefore, by definition the minutes were accurate and the Head of Audit admitted fraud had been committed in the administration of BNI. http://wp.me/p10VLA- eD[/p][/quote]Thanks for posting this, walth. So what the councillors are saying cannot be true. Or else they're admitting that whoever is meant to check the minutes didn't bother to do it -- although they're well paid for the few tasks expected of them. How do they get out of that one? Please ask them, Guardian, because the way they get out of most things is by just ignoring them. Walthamster
  • Score: 0

11:56pm Mon 21 Feb 11

Sam Hain says...

“fraud and waste of monies” Ah, I see what happened here. When talking about the damaging pyschological impact of this scandal Mr Gard actually said "Freud is a waste of money". A simple mistake anyone could make.
“fraud and waste of monies” Ah, I see what happened here. When talking about the damaging pyschological impact of this scandal Mr Gard actually said "Freud is a waste of money". A simple mistake anyone could make. Sam Hain
  • Score: 0

12:03am Tue 22 Feb 11

Walthamster says...

Sam Hain wrote:
“fraud and waste of monies” Ah, I see what happened here. When talking about the damaging pyschological impact of this scandal Mr Gard actually said "Freud is a waste of money". A simple mistake anyone could make.
I knew there'd be some perfectly good explanation!
[quote][p][bold]Sam Hain[/bold] wrote: “fraud and waste of monies” Ah, I see what happened here. When talking about the damaging pyschological impact of this scandal Mr Gard actually said "Freud is a waste of money". A simple mistake anyone could make.[/p][/quote]I knew there'd be some perfectly good explanation! Walthamster
  • Score: 0

12:22pm Tue 22 Feb 11

Techno2 says...

There is reason to think some of the councillors are not honest and are willing to cover up for people who may be either dishonest or incompetant (See: Independent Panel Report). There is also reason to think some of the council officers may be dishonest. We might like to think some other councillors are not dishonest, but they now tell us, officially, they are incompetent. Who to believe?
There is reason to think some of the councillors are not honest and are willing to cover up for people who may be either dishonest or incompetant (See: Independent Panel Report). There is also reason to think some of the council officers may be dishonest. We might like to think some other councillors are not dishonest, but they now tell us, officially, they are incompetent. Who to believe? Techno2
  • Score: 0

12:48pm Tue 22 Feb 11

Public-interest says...

Blame the organisations for failure not the minute taker. Why can’t Waltham Forest take responsibility for their continued incompetence? The poor ole minute taker wrote down what he heard, that’s what minute takers do....unless he was listening to the “hog wash” and wrote down what he thought the context of the debate amounted to.... Either way blaming the minute taker is a clear Abuse of Power. It’s bad enough that Waltham Forest continue to contrive poor excuses for their failures its the fact that they expect the public to believe them adds insult to injury...
Sorry Waltham Forest i’m not buying it!!!.....The mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceedingly small....
Blame the organisations for failure not the minute taker. Why can’t Waltham Forest take responsibility for their continued incompetence? The poor ole minute taker wrote down what he heard, that’s what minute takers do....unless he was listening to the “hog wash” and wrote down what he thought the context of the debate amounted to.... Either way blaming the minute taker is a clear Abuse of Power. It’s bad enough that Waltham Forest continue to contrive poor excuses for their failures its the fact that they expect the public to believe them adds insult to injury... Sorry Waltham Forest i’m not buying it!!!.....The mills of the gods grind slowly but they grind exceedingly small.... Public-interest
  • Score: 0

11:52pm Thu 24 Feb 11

UCKGrAcult says...

This an absolute outrage. The police should investigate.
This an absolute outrage. The police should investigate. UCKGrAcult
  • Score: 0

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