About this blog

Ramblings, thoughts, facts and opinions about political things - starting point council tenant participation with my land-lord Camden council and council tenant reps plus other housing issues, and whatever.


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Voter Registration Fraud Risks

I'd forgotten about this one. The scope for voter registration fraud is immense i think. Its from April 2015.


http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/16/do-i-need-my-national-insurance-number-to-register-to-vote


It is not essential to provide your national insurance (NI) number when registering to vote.

If you don’t know your NI number – which can usually be found on payslips or official letters about benefits, tax or pensions – you can just say soby giving a simple explanation.

It is then up to your local council to verify your identity.

Although online registration closes for the majority of voters on 7 June, local electoral registration offices have longer to verify your identity.

Whatever you do make sure you register to vote. You can think about who to vote for later.

“Under the new online registration system it’s just one of the ways you can have your identity verified,” says Oliver Sidorczuk, director of Bite the Ballot. “If you fill in the application, without your national insurance number, it’s your local council’s duty to verify you.”

According to the Cabinet Office, electoral registration officials will then contact you if they are unable to verify the application using other local data sources.



Such sources include cross-referencing your information with data from the Department for Work and Pensions and the Student Loans Company.

If they cannot verify you, the local electoral registration office will contact you to request further identification. (my emphasis)

This will likely be a photograph of your passport, or driving licence.

Most progressive councils should, and I would suggest must, allow you to email in smartphone photos of your passport and driving licence,” (my emphasis) says Sidorczuk.

 Less than 25% of the population know their NI number, estimates Ben Page, head of polling organisation Ipsos Mori. If you are one of them, all you have to do when filling in the online form is explain why don’t know it. You can simply write: “I don’t know where it is.”


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what to say?

Bite The Ballot HERE

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Bribery at the Town Hall

http://www.camdennewjournal.com/bribe-camden-council#.V2L80Z3321M.twitter

'Bribe' allegation at Town Hall has been substantiated, say council investigators

Published: 16 June, 2016
By RICHARD OSLEY


CAMDEN Council says a “bribery” allegation relating to the work of one of its own members of staff has been “substantiated”.

The case was revealed after a colleague reportedly blew the whistle at the Town Hall.

Information on an internal investigation was sent to councillors this week, although the full details of the case are understood to have been reserved for a small number of people at the council.

A report on fraud-busting is now due to be discussed at the Town Hall this evening (Thursday) by members of Camden’s cross-party Audit Committee. It reveals that there had been an allegation that an “employee is being bribed, ie that he has been ordering and receiving goods from a contractor in exchange for favourable treatment”.

The file goes on to simply state: “Allegation substantiated.” It says that the human resources department is “currently conducting disciplinary action”. It is understood police will not be involved. The allegation relates to a breach of staff rules rather than criminal behaviour.

Camden’s communications department said last night (Wednesday) that it could not comment on specific details of the case.

It is the most striking in a list of reports which came through to a confidential whistle­blowing hotline set up for staff to privately report suspicious behaviour. Several of the allegations received through this method have not been substantiated, including a claim that a member of staff was involved in funding terrorism and that another was illegally sub-letting their own council home.

Allegations still under investigation include reports of cash theft from a library, however.

Internal fraud-busters are also reporting to the committee that over the past year Camden has found substance in 18 allegations against its staff for “fraud or malpractice”.

The outcomes of the cases included 12 dismissals, two resignations and a written warning. The numbers of staff involved are, however, a tiny minority of the council workforce as a whole.

Meanwhile, Camden is set to take further action against staff found to be misusing a loan system supposed to be in place to help them buy travel season tickets. The money cannot be used for other purposes and the council said that “it is anticipated that disciplinary action will be taken against employees who failed to comply with the scheme”.

A council spokesman said: “We conduct a series of internal audits each year to ensure our staff comply with our policies and procedures.”
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Bribery Act 2010 HERE 

Update 19 June 2016
The council report about the above and other such things is  an officer report to the Audit and Corporate Governance committee HERE agenda item 13 - Annual Counter Fraud Report 2015 -2016 HERE

Friday, 10 June 2016

London Council Overcharged Tenants for Water

The below excerpts only came to light recently via the localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk  website HERE of a ruling in March 2016.


Council to refund tenants £28.6m after High Court water overcharging ruling 
 Thursday, 09 June 2016 07:00


The London Borough of Southwark has decided to repay 48,000 current and former tenants £28.6m following a High Court ruling earlier this year that it had overcharged for water and sewerage for 12 years.

In March this year Mr Justice Newey ruled that:
1. Unless and until a 2013 Deed (stating that the council was not a water reseller under the relevant regulations) took effect, the relationship between Thames Water and Southwark was not one of principal and agent but involved Southwark buying water and sewerage services from Thames Water and re-selling them to its tenants;
2. As a result, the Water Resale Order 2006 applied and served to limit what tenants could be charged; and
3. The amounts that Southwark charged the claimant, Kim Jones, (and other tenants with unmetered water supplies) exceeded the "maximum charge" allowed under the 2006 Order.

                                                                  ......................

 “However, there are approximately 330,000 other tenants in the Thames Water region entitled to claim refunds. Any tenant in the Thames Water region who is liable to pay a water charge to a local authority landlord or to a housing association landlord is likely to be able to make a claim. Tenants in this positon should seek legal advice as soon as possible.”









 

Friday, 3 June 2016

Kentish Town Neighbourhood Plan Referendum 9 June 2016

There's a vote on 9 June 2016 for eligible residents of Kentish Town to vote (or not) yes or no to the Kentish Town Forum (designated group) HERE putting forward a Plan for the ward/neighbourhood.

I wish them good luck as they have put in a lot of effort into getting things set up etc.

I do intend to vote as its not for a candidate but an issue (can't bring myself to vote for candidates anymore) but i've not made my mind up whether to vote yes or no.

I must admit I am wary of all these platforms for people to get involved in running things, I guess due too my experience of council tenant participation with the landlord and how some groups behave and dominant things and all the shenanigans that surround it.

Personally speaking I am for less people (but the right people) being involved in running things and if I am accused of being  anti-democratic by some than so be it, its my view and different views are allowed even in the 'communist republic' of Camden where capitalism thrives but say something controversial and its like its the end of the world - for some.

There are good and bad on all sides, but please no more of the 'bad' ones.

I will decide on the day.

Update 10 June 2016
Apparently most residents who voted said yes to the Plan.

Yes 1717 = 90.9 %
No 158 = 8.3%

Turnout -  13.75%.

I voted yes - thought I'd give it a go to see how the KT Forum and the Plan works in practice (not that I thought anything rested on my vote, but I figured it would be passed)
 
 


Housing Repairs Fraud Probe

 Wonder whats happened with the below reported case? Back in June 2015 the local rag reported that: A FRAUD probe is under way in the Tow...