JENNY AGUTTER GIVEN FREEDOM OF THE BOROUGH OF SOUTHWARK
Jenny Agutter OBE star of Call The Midwife and The Railway Children visited the council’s offices to sign the scroll of honour for the honorary freedom of Southwark.
Jenny was granted the highest accolade the local authority can bestow by a decision of council assembly in March 2016. She was unable to attend the presentation ceremony at Southwark cathedral in May due to filming commitments abroad but was represented by her son Jonathan on the day. As well as sending her son to accept the award on her behalf she also shared this message:
“Southwark has been a big part of my life so I am deeply touched that I should be honoured in this way. “Living here I have appreciated all it has to offer. “I love the diversity, the mix of cultures. “It has an energy that is hard to find elsewhere.
“There are real communities and people willing to work and fight for them, in joining campaigns and taking part in local events I have highlighted the work of others. “I am thrilled to be given the freedom of Southwark and I accept this honour knowing I am sharing it with those whose hard work make the borough so special”.
Jenny is very proud of her Southwark connections and wanted to come and personally sign the scroll of honour as a mark of her appreciation. She was welcomed by the Mayor of Southwark Cllr Kath Whittam.
Jenny, who was nominated for the award by council leader Cllr Peter John, has appeared in film from the age of 12 and is probably best known for her role in the film The Railway Children. In 1977 she won a BAFTA award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in Equus.
She currently plays the part of Sister Julienne in the BBC TV series, Call the Midwife. Jenny was awarded an OBE for her charity work in 2012, and this includes her work as patron for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
She moved to Camberwell from Chelsea explaining that “our house there was burgled, my car was stolen and my car windows smashed on more than one occasion. Camberwell has a really positive local community.
“Our neighbours are friendly, the local shopkeepers are helpful and there are some lovely green spaces.”
In Camberwell she has been a strong voice in the local community. She was a leading campaigner to secure a future for Camberwell Baths, and more recently in her campaign for TfL to extend the Bakerloo Line to Camberwell. (Source: Southwark council press release)
HOUSING FRAUD PROBE ENDS WITH 38TH PROSECUTION – Defendants given council homes had fake documentation
One of Southwark council’s biggest fraud investigations has ended with the successful prosecution of three defendants linked to a former Southwark council homeless caseworker.
Two women and a man were all in receipt of council homes obtained using fraudulent documentation processed by the caseworker*. All three were found guilty of obtaining services by deception (Theft Act 1978) at Woolwich Crown Court.
The first woman was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment as well as being sentenced for illegally subletting a secured tenancy – a first for the council as she was sentenced under the Prevention of Social Housing Fraud Act 2013.
The new law was introduced by the government to give local authorities greater powers to tackle housing fraud.
The court heard that as part of her homeless application, the first woman had provided three false child birth certificates, false bank statements, false child benefit letter and false indefinite leave to remain vignette in her Nigerian passport.
As a result she was offered a property in Peckham which was then illegally sublet to her sister and her family. The woman was then moved to another Southwark tenancy in Camberwell. The property has since been returned to the council.
A second woman and a man were ordered to serve 15 months and two years respectively in prison for their crimes.
The second woman was offered a tenancy in Bermondsey after producing false child birth certificate, false bank statements, false Nigerian passports with indefinite leave to remain vignettes, false national insurance numbers and false utility bills, to support her homeless application. The property will now be recovered by the council.
The man was offered and accepted a tenancy in Peckham using fraudulent documentation. The property will also be recovered by the council.
Southwark’s cabinet member for finance, strategy and performance Cllr Fiona Colley said: “This operation has resulted in 38 convictions and has recovered 42 properties which can be reallocated to genuine applicants.
“Crucially, we’ve now developed a culture of accountability and greater scrutiny of council resources with improved measures for preventing and identifying fraud.”
The council say it will be looking to take action under the proceeds of crime act where possible.
(Source: Southwark council press release)
(*Please see our previous story: Council homeless caseworker gets five years jail May 17 2016)
COUNCIL HOMELESS CASEWORKER GETS FIVE YEARS JAIL………
A former Southwark council homeless caseworker has been sentenced to five years imprisonment after being found guilty of misconduct in a public office.
She had been the caseworker for 23 cases which contained fake documentation and abused her position as a council officer by processing bogus applications which she knew to be false and which should never had been granted between 2003 and 2005.