AFTER BANNING THE BBC, LAMBETH COUNCIL…THANK THEM (but without actually naming the Beeb!!!)
After banning a BBC TV camera crew from filming at Cressingham Gardens estate in Tulse Hill, Lambeth have now thanked them (but not actually by name).
Last month a BBC TV London news item revealed how loads of council documents had been left in an unsecured storeroom on another council estate where anyone could get at them.
In a statement on Love Lambeth on 29 July, 2017 Lambeth said they were “very grateful to those who brought to our attention the unsecured storeroom in a block of one of the borough’s housing estates.
“The store room concerned was immediately re-secured, and the documents it contained removed.
“They are now held at a secure council office, and are being thoroughly and urgently reviewed to determine their contents. In order to give full assurance to residents we are currently exploring independent oversight of the review process.
“From an initial assessment no identifiable personal data relating to any Lambeth looked after children and/or children in foster care has been found amongst the documents.
“One of the documents appears to be an area child protection committee procedure manual.
“This would not contain sensitive material but we will need to go through all the materials stored to understand what was stored in the facility.”
In an updated statement on 2nd August Lambeth said a review of documents had been completed following their removal from unsecured storage.
The review found that the documents relate to housing matters, and pre-date 2004.
The review, which was conducted with support from an independent observer, concluded there were no files or documents containing identifiable personal data relating to any Lambeth looked after children and/or children in foster care, say Lambeth.
Further there were no files relating to Lambeth’s children’s homes prior to their closure in the 1980s and 1990s.
“Now the review is complete we will write to the Information Commissioner’s Office with details of the review and subsequent findings, including the steps we took to address the issue and the further activity the council will undertake.
“That activity will include a review of the council’s corporate information governance and a document storage audit of the borough’s council estates.” (Source: Lambeth council’s Love Lambeth website)
If Greenwich Leisure got the contract to put a gym in the basement at the Carnegie library because they are Lambeth’s agreed leisure provider, how did Picturehouse Cinemas get the contract for West Norwood library……?
GREENWICH LEISURE BOSS ASKS CAMPAIGNERS WHERE THE MONEY’S COMING FROM!!!
The boss of Greenwich Leisure – which is opening a gym in the basement of the Carnegie library, Herne Hill – has asked campaigners opposing the move how THEY would finance a re-opened Carnegie library.
This is DESPITE Greenwich Leisure not having to pay a penny towards the running of the building when they move in!.
Greenwich Leisure’s managing director Mark Sesnan, responding to a letter from Defend the Ten which is campaigning to save Lambeth borough’s ten lending libraries – two of which are currently closed – says:
“GLL has only ever been involved in this project to enable a library service to be delivered.
“As you are no doubt aware, wherever we operate libraries they are known for being reinvigorated, vibrant and well used with longer opening hours and engaging activities.
“In order that I can understand your position and thus respond constructively, can you please let me know what your plan is to reopen the library should GLL withdraw as you would wish us to. In particular, how will your plan be financed?”
He was responding to a letter from Defend the Ten asking GLL to withdraw their plans for a gym in the basement of the Carnegie library, Herne Hill.
The letter said: “GLL has never published a business plan, research on potential demand or any financial rationale – despite repeated requests.
“GLL are implicated in the council’s arrogant refusal to listen, its inaccurate and misleading publicity and its constant breaking of promises to consult or involve local people.
“You yourself have compounded this with your high-handed treatment of the many people who have contacted you direct. “They received only evasions – or, often, no reply at all.
“The “gyms-in-libraries” idea has been widely ridiculed in the local and national press, while the community’s opposition has received extensive positive cover in the press, radio and TV. “This will continue and increase.”
Replying to Mr Sesnan’s letter, Defend the Ten say: “There seems to be some confusion. “Lambeth have always insisted in public that all the borough’s library services will continue to be provided in-house.
“When the then cabinet member responsible for libraries was questioned about this at the council’s overview and scrutiny committee she was adamant that the service would not be contracted out.
“On the audio recording of that meeting she repeatedly asserts that this is a matter of ‘Labour Values.’ “The official minutes do not include this phrase but inform us that ‘The decision was taken to keep the library service in-house as opposed to privatisation, in order to have direct accountability to residents.’
“Have there been conversations between your people and Lambeth’s about GLL possibly taking over the provision of library services in the borough?”
NOTE: Lambeth council closed the library on March 31st last year and proceeded with plans to put a gym in the library despite massive local opposition.
One set of plans actually showed that the library would only occupy about a quarter of the main ground floor of the building. – Ed.
BUT MEANWHILE IN BROMLEY…..
The future of the council’s library service has been secured following the decision to award a contract to operate the service to……..Greenwich Leisure.
The decision to award a 10 year contract will generate savings for the council, protecting the library service, with the savings also helping to protect other frontline services, including to the most vulnerable, says a Bromley council press release.
The decision to award the contract to Greenwich Leisure follows a market testing exercise, with the specifications meaning that the successful provider would need to operate the existing library service, with the same number of libraries and existing staff, the press release adds.
The council remains in full control of this much valued service and whilst other boroughs have closed libraries, we have invested multi-millions to deliver new libraries.
“Whilst other boroughs have reduced staff, we have found a way to maintain existing staff levels and the service they provide” said Cllr Peter Morgan, Bromley’s executive member for renewal and recreation.
“I would like to pay tribute to our staff for their professionalism, their continued diligence throughout this period and their continued willingness to serve the residents of this borough and the many others that use our libraries”
Chris Symons, director of development at GLL said: “As a charitable social enterprise, our ethos has always been to enhance services, make a genuine contribution to the local communities in which we operate and offer solid career pathways for those who work for us.”
We intend to share our industry expertise, garnered from running libraries across England and to encourage many more local residents to use and enjoy Bromley’s libraries.”
The press release adds: “Greenwich Leisure Ltd, which is a charitable social enterprise, already manages a number of library services elsewhere and will be able to generate savings to the council by utilising their economies of scale as well as their charitable status meaning that the cost base is reduced.”
The decision, which is subject to the council’s ‘call in’ procedures could see the contractual agreement with Greenwich Leisure commencing in November 2017. (Source: Bromley council press release. To read the full press release please Google bromley.gov press releases – Ed.))
AND FINALLY: HOW TO GET THINGS DONE IN LAMBETH?
The following appeared on a Norwood Action Group email:
Seen on West Norwood Local Facebook: “I called Lambeth (took me three attempts and 45 minutes of my life) to arrange a bulky waste collection for which you pay £21 for the privilege.
“I did as I was told and put it outside my house on the right day at the right time. “It’s still there and should have been collected on Friday. “I’m now considering using the Lambeth fly tipping form to report some dumped rubbish to see if I can get it collected that way!”
24 hours later: “Update to all! So this all resulted in some pretty swift responses from Lambeth council, Veolia and local councillors! “Said items have now been collected and I’m a happy bunny! “Power to the people! and er, Facebook.”