The rules of politics This website is being updated  
  • About wfcw.org
  • Migration, Education and Crime
  • Migration and ESOL
  • Problem? What problem?
About wfcw.org

Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.
William Shakespeare

This small website is an attempt to get at the truth behind council’s failure to manage its finances properly and, above all, to ensure future openness and accountability.
 
Migration, Education and ESOL in a London Borough
Migration and ESOL - 22 August 2019
One of the paper's aims is to document, from 2000 to 2019, how decisions made by a small self selected, unrepresentative.
group within Waltham Forest council impacted on council performance, education and society.
During nine years working for Waltham Forest Council as a teacher, the editor of wfcw.org encountered financial and administrative incompetence, a culture of gender, ethnic and religious discrimination, and poverty wages for some qualified teaching staff.

Finally, in 2005, fraud, teachers' pension problems and financial mismanagement led to my resignation from the Community Learning and Skills Service. Numerous letters to council and meetings with members and senior officers brought either no reply or obfuscation.

In 2011 Martin Esom, the current chief executive, twice refused to answer questions about CLaSS pension mismanagement.

The editor

Note:
Some external website links may not work as expected as the pages may have been modified, moved or deleted.

Whether by accident or design, council lost many talented officers. These included Chief Executives Simon White, Jacquie Deane and Andrew Kilburn.  Also, notably, the CLaSS Head of Service Dr Green and the Head of Human Resources Phill Cox, both of whom had acknowledged the existence of a pension problem.

Council’s lack of openness and its persistent refusal to explain what happened to teachers pension payments in 2004, does no credit to Council and its officers.   Also, it does no credit to councillors representing Waltham Forest and betrays residents and those party members who helped elect them to office in their positions of trust.

Matters such as Council protectionism and the ‘cover-up and protect your back’ culture are unacceptable in democratic government.  Maladministration and fraud affects council’s present performance and the performance of future councils and our society’s future.

Through a lack of political leadership, council lost its direction, and now seems to have no long term vision for the future of our society. Councillors are still unaccountable for the actions of their officers. 

Top Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

Migration, Education and Crime in Waltham Forest


And remember, where you have a concentration of power in a few hands, all too frequently men with the mentality of gangsters get control - Lord Acton

There is no greater fallacy than the belief that aims and purposes are one thing, while methods and tactics are another - Emma Goldman Migration, Education and Crime in a London Borough
Sectarianism for the sake of a quiet life
Draft
About the author
About
Introduction
Introduction
Post war migration
Council Leadership
Education and training failure
Council leadership 2000-2019
Bias in Britain
The truth about modern racism
Ethnicity in Waltham Forest
Black youth, exclusion and gang violence
Muslims, exclusion and extremism
Counter Extremism Manager report
Ahmadi Muslims facing discrimination
Letter to Council regarding youth gangs
Kaleidoscope staff network
Migration in Waltham Forest
Migration: the Government's response

Migration:  the Council's response
Teachers Pension Fund
Trust, entitlement and teachers pensions
Teachers pension fund problems
Unanswered questions
Council's unanswered questions
Conclusion


The future of society, any society, requires education, and investment in the talents and abilities of all people making up society, not just those self-selected for their own benefit.

 

Draft – Migration, ESOL and Skills in a London Borough – Synopsis
In appreciation: Dr Frank O'Reilly

This article looks at how English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and Education were managed and the consequences for a London borough at a time of high migration from Europe and the world. 

During the late 19th and early 20th century, Waltham Forest,  a traditional white English working class London borough had a proud  industrial and manufacturing heritage and was the home of British transport.  This changed fundamentally and permanently following the collapse of local industry.  [1.0]   Britain's past colonisation ensured an abundant supply of inward migration for low paid, unskilled work. [2.1]
The Council, rating language and skills teaching as unproductive, expensive and not a priority, continued this practice by employing qualified teachers on part time contracts, to teach English and other subjects with poverty level wages and no pension.  Subsequently, councillors and senior officers received substantial increases in allowances.. [2.2]

The 13 October 1995 Times Educational Supplement editorial reported parts of Leyton and Leytonstone are 'post-industrial deserts,' adding: ' no less than 37 per cent of its children qualify for free meals, and 48 per cent of pupils do not have English as a first language.' [2.0]   In 2000, poor school results led council to get more political control over education.    The post of Chief Education Officer was deleted and the  Education Committee disbanded.  Control over education and ESOL provision was  ceded to the politically powerful and the educationally bankrupt
In 2001 the Government Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted)   claimed that Waltham Forest Education had a "culture of failure and hopelessness."  There being no effective leadership, Government called in EduAction, a private company, to manage education, language and skills training in the borough. [4.0]

In 2005, the council, valuing its diverse workforce, set up Kaleidoscope  a covert   staff association which anonymously supported a self selected group of council staff and officers identifying with LGBT and Stonewall which excluded members of the BAME and other minority communities. [8.0]  In 2018, Stonewall withdraws from Pride in London over 'lack of diversity'. The charity will instead support UK Black Pride after concerns event is not inclusive enough.[8.2]

In 2007, responding to rising Black youth violence and Muslim extremism, council published two detailed reports. Reluctant Gangsters [9]  Breaking down the walls of silence [10]  Despite having comprehensive policies of ethnic and gender equality, council took no action.  A senior councillor and cabinet member explained council's non action by saying the reports contained ‘out of date information’. In 2017, gang warfare became embedded in Waltham Forest culture’ - Police recorded an average of one gang related knife crime every day by Black youths.  By 2020, Chief constable Shaun Sawyer said, levels of child criminal exploitation were  'almost back to Victorian times.'  Continuing, as state provision for children receded in the last decade, driven in part by austerity, criminals had exploited the space between “the school gate and the front door”.[9.1]
In 2018, Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government instructed the council to tackle racial inequality, segregated communities and to support community cohesion’ and the teaching of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) [24

In 2020, the Coronavirus epidemic exacerbated the need for skilled nurses and carers in the NHS and in council's community care services.   Richard Horton the Lancet editor, responding to NHS chaos and panic' said the NHS was left unprepared for Covid-19.  Numerous warnings were issued but these were not heeded. [31]   In March 2020, UNISON said Protection equipment for care workers is essential.  These safety essentials are vital in cutting the risk of their infecting the frail people they support.  Social care staff looking after the elderly and vulnerable are ‘frightened and frustrated’ at not getting access to protective equipment. [32]  

Waltham Forest Council coordinated ESOL and work skills provision must ensure migrant workers, their families, and others, are given the necessary language and work skills training to find employment and contribute to our society.  Care homes for the elderly and vulnerable are similarly neglected.  Staff, deprived of training and Personal Protective Equipment and a virus testing facility cannot guarantee  residents safety while in council care.  [27] Understaffed Chingford care home [28]   In March 2020,  Council does not have enough protective equipment to keep those in care homes safe from the Coronavirus pandemic. [33]

Regarding Covid-19 school closures,  a correspondent comments:  ‘If nothing fills the gap left by school closures we risk having a young generation which is largely deficient in basic skills.’ European Association of Teachers report [29] From a correspondent [30

Since 2000, the many chaotic Councillor  deselections, seemingly based on ethnicity, and the many senior officer  sackings indicates a clear need for changes to the system and rules for running council and selecting local election party candidates.  In June 2009, Waltham Forest Labour party in crisis as Mayor Anna Mbachu deselected, along with Cllrs Shameem Highfield, Tarsem Bhogal, Elisabeth Davies and Milton Martin.[34] Council report, Waltham Forest Council Watch [8.1]   

However, these issues are not being treated with the required seriousness and commitment. Instead, ESOL and skills training have become dangerously politicized.

 

 

Problem?  What problem? 

Community Learning and Skills Service teachers’ pension fund, 2004 - 2012


The future of a society is intimately bound up with and to a great extent dependent upon the way the youth are prepared for the task of maintaining that society

Responding to questions about Walham Forest teachers' pension payments:
Council’s Directorate of Governance and Law
said: “there was no money involved.”
Chief Executive wrote: "...discolosure is exempt under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000."

Labours lost ...
In January 2004, while employed by CLaSS, in conversation with a colleague, I first heard that there were delays  in  transferring teachers pension payments over to the Teachers’ Pension Fund.   A few days later another colleague referred to the matter.   I started to ask questions.  So began seven years of enquiries which led nowhere.   To this day my questions have not been answered.

The very existence of a problem with the council teachers’ pension fund  was both confirmed and denied at all levels, from teachers through administration up to council.  

In January 2004, Dr Maureen Green, then Head of the CLaSS, confirmed that there was a problem transferring pension payments over to the TPF.  She added: “You need to know that WF is not the only Council in this position but that does not make it OK. I have been supporting NATFHE to try to hasten the process. I agree that it is unacceptable.”  NATFHE,  the CLaSS teachers’ union, confirmed her support.  

The existence of CLaSS teachers’ pension problem was
  • Stated by CLaSS colleagues A & B (early January 2004)
  • Confirmed by Dr Maureen Green, CLaSS Head of Service. (22 January 2004)
  • Confirmed by other CLaSS employees, (January, February 2004)
  • Confirmed  by NATFHE, CLaSS (January, February 2004)
  • Reconfirmed by colleague B, (17 February 2004)
  • Denied by colleague B, who now seemed to be under duress. (20 February 2004)
    Denial copied to Angela Diamond, then head of ESOL
  • Subsequent events redacted

    Meanwhile some retired teachers were not receiving their pensions.

Very concerned, and being a member of the Labour Party, I raised this matter for East Branch’s attention.  Throughout 2005 enquiries regarding CLaSS TPF payments met a wall of silence:

  • I asked branch to invite a delegation from NATFHE Head Office who wished to speak to branch.
    This was refused.
  • I then asked branch to invite the CLaSS Head of Service to address branch. 
    I was again refused.  
  • Cllr  Chris Robbins, then Head of Life Long Learning was guest speaker at the December 2005 meeting. A senior councillor protected him from questions about CLaSS and pensions.  Cllr Sweden, a member of East Branch, wrote that had he been branch chair at the time he would have dealt with the matter differently.
On 31 December 2005 I resigned from CLaSS
In September and October 2005 I sent several unanswered resignation letters to CLaSS
In January 2006 CLaSS administration phoned me to ask whether I was working for CLaSS
However, council kept my name on their records as ‘employed’ for some 2½ years and in 2008 offered me retirement advice, even though I had retired from teaching at another institution some 15 years earlier.


On 1 June 2006  I
wrote to Phill Cox, Head of Human Resources about CLaSS teachers’ pension problems. 
He requested a meeting with me in my home, resulting in
  • Confirmation, at a meeting with  Phill Cox and Gerry Kemble, then Head Life Long Learning.  (August 2006)
  • Reconfirmation:   16 months later (Dec 2008), Cox gave a written answer to questions raised at the August 2006 meeting, but only after chief executive Andrew Kilburn demanded a response

CLaSS court action
During 2006
Anne Perez, then CLaSS Deputy Head of Service, agreed to Council’s taking court action to recover from me an alleged overpayment - which according to their own P45 did not exist.  This smacks of malice resulting from my letter of 1 June 2006.  In 2007 a Default Judgment from Bromley County Court resulted in my name being put on the debtors list and the threat of bailiff action. Council withdrew their action only at a 'Set Aside' court hearing.   

Subsequent enquiries about TPF problems brought

  • Evasion: WF Chief Executives Jacquie Deane and Roger Taylor passed my letter to council officers who evaded or denied the problem (2007)
  • Denial by Gerry Kemble, Children and Young People Services (15 July 2009)
  • Denial by Shirley Orijh, Corporate Law Team LBWF (19 March 2009)
  • Denial by Council Leader, Cllr Chris Robbins (17 November 2009)

Responding to further inquiries about teachers pensions under the Freedom of Information Act, the Council’s Directorate of Governance and Law stated “there was no money involved”, and the Council Leader, Chris Robbins, categorically declared: “there was no failure on the part of Waltham Forest to transfer appropriate monies to the (TPF) scheme.”

Amazingly, Cllrs Bean and Barnett seemed unaware of a TPF problem (meeting 24 November 2009) 
Cllr Barnett
promised to investigate the matter with NATFHE, resulting in:

  • Evasion:  after investigating the issue, Cllr Barnet refused to reveal any findings.
    At a subsequent meeting , Cllr Michael Lewis too seemed unaware of the TPF issue
  • Denial by Duncan Pike, Asst Director of Resources (2 July 2010)

Cllr Robbins, the council leader, asked me to meet Gerry Kemble to address my concerns.  Result -

  • Evasion:  On 11 Feb 2010 at a 1½ hr meeting, Gerry Kemble stonewalled and obfuscated the issues, explaining nothing.  I asked him for a written response. 
    In spite of requests from me and Cllr Sweden, no answers were forthcoming.
    Six months later, on 17 August 2010 Kemble sent an inadequate, evasive response, this only after a solicitor’s demand.
  • Evasion:  Anne Perez, Head of CLaSS ignored letters asking for an explanation of CLaSS TPF problems. (2007) 
  • Evasion:  In March 2011 Chief Executive Martin Esom, said:
    "In terms of the financial statements of what happened to the CLaSS teachers' pensions in 2004, we have taken legal advice and the Council cannot disclose this information to you.   The statements are confidential and will contain personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998 and it would not be in accordance with the data principles under the Act to disclose this information to you. Further, this would exempt disclosure under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000."

To confirm council’s stance on CLaSS pension problems I asked Cllr Angie Bean to arrange a meeting with the Chief Executive, Martin Esom

  • Evasion:  Martin Esom, Althea Loderick,  Head of Human Resources, and three Labour Councillors refused to say what happened to CLaSS teachers pension money in 2004. (meeting 23 May 2011)

Using  a Freedom of Information request, I asked Council and CLaSS for a copy of my personal file and my original contract of employment. Result:

  • Evasion:  On 4 August 2010, I wrote to Cllr Barnet, saying I had paid for a complete copy of my personal file and expected to receive exactly that, not an expurgated version. I asked him to ensure that Anne Perez, Head of CLaSS, provide me with all the missing documents. Nothing further was heard.
  • Evasion:  In March 2011, Martin Esom, Chief Executive. said that my original contract of employment and personal file could not be located

Over these years, whether by accident or design, council lost many talented officers. These included Chief Executives Jacquie Deane and Andrew Kilburn.  Also, notably, the CLaSS Head of Service Dr Green and the Head of Human Resources Phill Cox, all of whom had acknowledged the existence of a pension problem.

Council’s lack of openness and its persistent refusal to explain what happened to teachers pension payments in 2004, does no credit to Council and its officers.   Also, it does no credit to councillors representing Waltham Forest and betrays residents and those party members who helped elect them to office in their positions of trust.

Matters such as Council protectionism and the ‘cover-up and protect your back’ culture are unacceptable in democratic government.  Maladministration and fraud affects council’s present performance and the performance of future councils and our society’s future.

Over recent years, through a lack of political leadership, council lost its direction, and now seems to have no long term vision for the future of our society. Councillors are still unaccountable for the actions of their officers. 

I resigned from the Labour Party on 25 April 2012