The rules of politics This website is being updated  
  • About wfcw.org
  • Migration, Education and Crime
  • Migrant Welcome?
  • 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.

 
Migrant Welcome?

A personal perspective on the lack of value placed on migrant skill development by Waltham Forest Borough Council
a Waltham Forest teacher

Download

“In any society, ancient or modern, it is the duty of the older generation to prepare the young to take their place in the economic, intellectual and social life of the community. In modern times this duty falls largely to the State.” Education for Barbarism. [1]

About this article
This article looks at how one London council, Waltham Forest, has failed to properly value and welcome migrants from the mid-1990s to the present. It includes attention to the author’s own experience of his pension provision being grossly mismanaged and how this is indicative of wide-ranging failures of management by the local authority, including in its provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Failures by the Council are also detailed in relation to gang warfare, extremism, children’s services, and other areas, including issues related to Covid-19. It considers the consequences for a borough with a high migrant population and argues that a council using the language of "equal opportunities" and "being inclusive" must be properly transparent and accountable to migrants in its delivery of services tended for their benefit, especially during a global pandemic.

About the author
I came to England from apartheid South Africa in 1961, having spent years campaigning against a racist regime. I worked and lectured in both countries in Electronic and Radio Engineering. I settled in Waltham Forest where I was a schoolteacher and school governor. As founder and webmaster for the Association Européenne des Enseignants (European Association of Teachers) and webmaster for the European Education Magazine, Context, I also worked with the European Schoolnet and the European Commission’s ‘Web for Schools’ project, which set up web design classes for teachers across Europe (1996-1998). From 1996 to 2005, I was employed by Waltham Forest Council’s Community Learning and Skills Service (CLaSS) as an IT trainer. The students were enthusiastic, always eager to learn and improve their life chances; management, however, was appalling, the worst I have encountered during my working life in England.

About Waltham Forest
During the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the area now known as the London Borough of Waltham Forest (Leyton, Leytonstone, Walthamstow and Chingford), a traditional working-class part of London, had an industrial and manufacturing heritage and was a hub of the British transport industry. This changed fundamentally and permanently following the decline of manufacturing in the borough from the 1950s. [2] At the same time, Britain's past colonisation ensured an abundant supply of inward migration for low paid, unskilled work. Many migrants arriving from all parts of the world were employed in the National Health Service (NHS) and social care. [3]

‘Post-industrial deserts’, poor school results and child poverty
On 13 October 1995, the Times Educational Supplement editorial reported parts of Leyton and Leytonstone were 'post-industrial deserts' adding, 'no less than 37% of its children qualify for free meals, and 48% per cent of pupils do not have English as a first language.' In 2010, Navigant Consulting reported that skills levels in Waltham Forest were very low, as in most of East London and ranked 377th out of 408 local areas in Great Britain on overall skills and qualifications scores. Waltham Forest has the smallest overall production and is the least productive borough in London. In 2008, there was a sizeable number of people – 56,041 – living in lone parent households in Waltham Forest. This means a quarter of the borough’s population lived in lone parent households. [4] In 2010, Navigant Consulting also reported the borough’s population of lone parent households to be the highest in London. [5] Loughborough University researchers, Dr Juliet Stone and Professor Donald Hirsch, found that, during the 2018/19 fiscal year, 50.8% of Walthamstow children lived in poverty. [6] On 30 October 2020, the Waltham Forest Guardian reported half of Walthamstow children living in poverty.

Poor leadership and fraud
In 2000, behavioural problems and low standards of achievement in Waltham Forest schools led the Council to take more political control over education. The post of Chief Education Officer was abolished, and the Education Committee disbanded. Control over education and ESOL provision was ceded to the politicians with limited experience of delivering education. 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, the Government called in EduAction, a private company, to manage Education, ESOL, and Skills Training in the borough. [7] In March 2011, the Watford Observer reported EduAction paid the Council an undisclosed sum. The figure was withheld on the grounds of commercial confidentiality. A Town Hall investigation found that EduAction had committed fraud and deliberately misled the Council. Both parties agreed to pay their own legal costs. The agreement meant that neither EduAction nor the Council accepted liability or wrongdoing. They also agreed to “co-operate, consult and work with each other” in a defence against a claim being made by an undisclosed person. [8] 

A premonition - my introduction to Community Learning
The historical context outlined above is the backdrop to my own experience within the borough. In 1996, after retiring from teaching engineering and wanting to support local skills training, I, like many ESOL and other teachers at that time, started work for Waltham Forest Council as a part-time teacher with CLaSS, now Adult Education, on a contract with an average wage of £10/day with no offer of pension scheme membership. Shortly after beginning teaching for the local authority and wishing to show my support for Education and Training, I paid to attend a Christmas dinner arranged by the Council at a Lloyd Park venue. There were several tables in the hall, each allocated to the staff of a different department. I was shown to the CLaSS group. There was one vacant seat, all others being occupied by colleagues in animated discussion. As I sat down the lively chatter continued unabated. At a suitable juncture, when I felt able to contribute, I added to the discussion. All conversation stopped and heads turned towards me. I was asked, "Who are you?" I gave my name, my department and the name of my IT line manager, a man for whom I have the greatest respect. My colleagues all seemed to know him and agreed on his character and personality, in terms which I cannot repeat in print. With no further communication from the other teachers, I finished my celebratory dinner in silence and left the table.

Systemic problems with my employment, 1996-2005
In 1996, I proposed that web page design be included in the curriculum offer as a necessary skill leading to employment. This request was refused, and I threatened to resign. The subject was subsequently included in the curriculum on condition that I withdraw the threat of resignation. Fast forward to 2001, and for several months the Council had no record of my teaching hours and refused to pay due salary. It was only after two solicitor’s letters threatening legal action that salary was paid. In January 2004, Dr Maureen Green, then Head of CLaSS, answering my question about teacher pension payments, confirmed that there was a problem transferring teacher 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.” The existence of a teacher pension payments problem was subsequently confirmed and denied by all management levels in the Learning Service and the Council. [9]

Resignation
In 2005 I was asked to design and teach a skills training course in advanced website design, which the Council refused to fund. In September and October 2005, being unable to deliver the course, I sent several resignation letters to CLaSS management. All were ignored. In January 2006, CLaSS administration phoned me to ask whether I was still working for them. The Council kept paying my salary for three months until I notified my line manager, after which payments stopped. However, my name was kept on their records as ‘employed’ for some two-and-a-half years. In 2008, I was offered retirement advice, although I had retired from teaching at another institution some fifteen years earlier. During 2006 the Council took court action to recover an alleged overpayment - which according to their own records did not exist. A Default Judgment from Bromley County Court resulted in my name being put on the debtors’ list and the threat of bailiff action. The Council eventually withdrew their action at a 'set aside' court hearing.  

An admission
In June 2006, I wrote to the then Head of Human Resources about very poor financial management, my poverty-level wage and lack of membership of a pension scheme. He responded by asking for a meeting with me at my home. At this meeting, in August 2006, the then Head admitted a problem with teacher pensions but failed to elaborate. I asked for a written answer to what had been discussed at the meeting. Sixteen months later, in December 2008, the Head of Human Resources gave an evasive written answer to questions raised at the August 2006 meeting, in which he confirmed pension problems, but only after the then Chief Executive, Andrew Kilburn, demanded a response. Subsequently, both the Head of Human Resources and the Chief Executive left employment.

The debacle continues
In 2010, a senior Councillor wrote asking me to meet with the Head of Lifelong Learning to address my pension and wage concerns. On 11 February 2010 at ninety-minute meeting, the Head of Lifelong Learning stonewalled and obfuscated the issues, explaining nothing. I asked him for a written response. Despite requests, no answers were forthcoming. Six months later, on 17 August 2010, he sent an inadequate, evasive response, only after a solicitor’s demand. At this time, I spoke to a solicitor about my unresolved pension issue and was advised by a barrister that the legal route was difficult, if not impossible, and advised me to continue negotiations about my pension with the Council. In March 2011, a senior Council officer, answering my request, said that my original contract of employment and personal file could not be located. Also, responding to my letter concerning problems with Waltham Forest ESOL and teachers` pension payments to the TPF in CLaSS, he wrote, "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." 

Unanswered questions
In March 2011, the Chief Executive, in a letter 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." An unanswered question remains: were Adult Education staff wages partly or wholly funded from the pension payments of its senior managers? [10] Two months later, on 23 May 2011, at a meeting with two Senior Council Officers and three local Councillors which I had requested, I asked what had happened to ESOL and other teacher pension payments not paid to the Teachers’ Pension Fund in 2004. I also asked about gender abuse and ethnic discrimination in the Council's Adult Education Service between 1996 and 2005, and poverty level ESOL teachers’ wages. Also, I expressed my anger at gender-based denigration of some teaching staff. The meeting was cut short with no attempt made to answer any of my questions. Letters requesting answers to these questions were subsequently sent to the Council on 8 December 2017, 13 January 2018, 11 September 2018, 1 March 2019, and 3 February 2020. All were ignored. This is, of course, a personal tale, but my experience seems indicative of a wider failure by the local authority to properly welcome migrants to the borough, evident, not only in its paucity of ESOL provision but in other areas related to services provided for the borough’s highly migrant population.

Unproductive and expensive ESOL courses for migrants
In 1996, the voiced thinking of some influential Waltham Forest Councillors was that migrants should make repeated working visits to the UK to earn additional money. However, many workers came to settle and call Britain home.  They included skilled NHS workers and social carers at all levels. Nevertheless, the local authority deemed Britain self-sufficient in skilled workers and made a distinction between economic migrants and refugees. Economic migrants competed for employment with British workers doing the same work for less pay. Notwithstanding increasing numbers of Black, Asian, and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and migrant residents, the Council rated ESOL language and skills training as unproductive, expensive, and not a priority. Not supporting migration, the Council’s Adult Education Service reduced on-cost expenditure by employing qualified teachers on part-time contracts, with poverty level wages and no pension entitlement, to teach English, ESOL and other skills areas.

High aspirational ESOL training on the cheap
In 2016, the Council further reduced ESOL training costs to zero by making experienced ESOL teachers compulsorily redundant by the very person who had initially employed them - who by that time had been promoted to Head of Service, retiring with a full pension. The Council then employed an ESOL coordinator to teach some fifty volunteer ESOL learners to train an hundred volunteer trainers, who would then engage with one thousand adult ESOL learners. [11] In 2018, acknowledging good financial management, Waltham Forest Council rewarded councillors by approving an increase to their allowances. [12]
 
Other examples of mismanagement - Gang warfare and extremism in the borough
In 2000, while walking in the Beaumont Estate along Capworth Street to give an IT skills training course at the Leyton Cyberlink I encountered two groups of youths on opposite sides of the road hurtling rocks at each other. I waited until the hail of missiles had stopped and the protagonist groups had dispersed before proceeding to deliver the skills lesson. In 2007, the Council, having failed to deal effectively with rising youth violence and extremism, published two detailed reports: Reluctant Gangsters [13] and Breaking Down the Walls of Silence. [14]. The Council took no action. In 2015, gang warfare became embedded in Waltham Forest culture. It was reported that Police recorded an average of one gang related knife crime every day by youths. [15] Waltham Forest became known as an extremism hotspot. In 2018, the Council's Counter Extremism Manager was dismissed after a disciplinary hearing. [16] 

Children's Services and child crime
In 2011, a report carried out by Ofsted and CQC judged the overall effectiveness of looked after children’s services of Waltham Forest Borough Council to be inadequate. [17] On 7 March 2013, an Improvement Notice was issued to Waltham Forest Borough Council [18]. In 2012, Inspectors said the situation at Mission Grove Children's Centre, in Buxton Road, Walthamstow, was so confusing they had to ask the Council "to immediately clarify who is in charge”. [19] 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.”’ [20]
  
Scathing report on Council chaos
In November 2009, a scathing report criticised "damning" failures of leadership at an East London Council that had led to an era of financial chaos. [21] An Independent External Panel, led by London Development Agency chief Sir Peter Rogers, censured the Council for serious widespread financial mismanagement. The contents of the EduAction audit report were ‘strictly confidential’ and protected the anonymity of councillors, officers, and others by deleting (redacting) those parts of the report which identified individuals. Sir Peter commented, "Good organisations learn from problems and rectify them. Waltham Forest appears to do neither." [22]

Leaked secret document reveals councillors knowingly broke EU law
27 January 2010, a confidential 2006 report by council fraud investigators found council cabinet members, some of whom are still in place, were aware of a decision to extend a recycling collection agreement with company ECT contravened EU legislation. The Cabinet waived rules regarding the extension, which it is entitled to do in exceptional circumstances, but investigators found no justification for the move. The report states: “The inability to waive EU procurement rules was drawn to the attention of cabinet in the proposal… When rules are broken for no apparent reason or necessity, there is little motivation for others to abide by them… It is difficult to understand how (the council) expects to uphold the law when its own cabinet deliberately breaks it.” [23]

Government instructed the Council to tackle racial inequality
In 2018, Waltham Forest Council failed to adapt to the community’s changing needs. This influenced the Government’s Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) to set up the Waltham Forest Integrated Communities Strategy to tackle the root causes of poor integration to create a stronger, more united borough. The government instructed Waltham Forest Council to adopt new policies to tackle segregation. The Council, financially supported by Government, established a Single Point of Contact (SPoC) to coordinate ESOL training and work skills provision for migrant residents in the borough. The aim was to improve social cohesion and build a more inclusive community. [24]

Concerns during the pandemic
The above tale of mismanagement of Waltham Forest’s engagement with migrants is deeply disturbing. It is also deeply worrying at a time of a national pandemic which is adversely affecting migrants in the UK, including in the Borough. Conditions of employment. People working in Waltham Forest Council’s Care Services are among the lowest paid, doing the highest valued work in society. Many of them are from the BAME and migrant communities. It is incumbent on the Council to ensure that all those employed in the borough’s care homes are given a contract of employment, with an equable wage and membership of a pension scheme, especially in the context of the pandemic. All health and social care workers need access to suitable ESOL and language classes, and professional skills competence training to ensure the security, safety, and well-being of the vulnerable care home residents in their care. This issue is highlighted by a report of an understaffed Chingford care home where both patients and staff were put at risk. [25]

Vaccination
In December 2020, I was at the Waltham Forest Medical Centre in Forest Road waiting for my first Covid-19 vaccination. We over 80s queued, standing for half an hour with no arrangements for social distancing in a narrow, enclosed airless stairwell. When admitted to the waiting room which was small, it was stuffy with no open windows or doors, no ventilation, and with about 50 vulnerable, elderly people seated. A Medical Centre employee entered, bringing several desktop fans to circulate the stale air. I asked him to please open the two doors and windows to give access to an external balcony, and fresh air. However, he had to phone to get keys to open the external doors, allowing room ventilation. After vaccination, the "recovery room" in which we waited for fifteen minutes attended by two doctors to help with any experiencing post-vaccination symptoms had a similar problem of closed windows and a lack of ventilation. The vaccination was performed by nurses, courteously and very efficiently. I was most impressed and happy with them. This is only the beginning of the Waltham Forest vaccination process. Those concerned with its management must ensure adequate social distancing arrangements and suitable ventilation is arranged for those awaiting vaccination. 

Coronavirus tests, national and local skills training failure
In September 2020, a director of the government's test and trace programme in England issued a "heartfelt" apology for problems with the coronavirus testing system. She explained it was the laboratories, not the testing sites themselves, that were the "critical pinch-point". [26] In April 2020, FE News reported on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s education system. [27] A lack of coronavirus tests could see schools close. Darren Gelder, of Grace Academy in Solihull, said his school has already had to temporarily lose five staff members who are having to self isolate or have family members who are self-isolating. [28]

Covid-19 school closures, ESOL and migrant school children
If nothing fills the gap left by Covid-19 school closures, we risk having first or second-generation migrant children largely deficient in English language and basic skills. The Sutton Trust, in its April 2020 Research Brief, reported that in the most deprived schools 15% of teachers report that more than a third of their students would not have adequate access to an electronic device for learning from home. [29] Equality in education means getting a job due to competence, not who you know. For young people in a wider jobs market and economy, it is time to remodel our system so access to opportunity is no longer so based on connections over competence. Diversity prevents groupthink and makes for better decisions which makes for more successful organisations. [30]

Waltham Forest: the need for change
Waltham Forest is a very diverse borough. Adult Education, having no Governing Body drawn from the various parts of the community is politically driven, representing the personal interests of paid politicians and Council officials, each having their own interpretation of the Council’s equalities and other policies. [31] Since 2000, the Council’s unclear Education, Language and Skills Training strategy, with confused and contradictory politics and a lack of political direction has led to senior officer sackings, councillor deselections, many seemingly based on ethnicity. This indicates a need for changes to the system and rules for running Council and selecting local election party candidates. [32] Waltham Forest Council ought to be a flagship borough in terms of its welcome to migrants. My own experience of its catalogue of failures and democratic deficit indicate that the Council has much to do to properly value the presence, skills, and potential of its migrant residents. 



End.

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