Lambeth the Un- Cooperative Council

Has Lambeth Council messed up your life too?

Will the 2 Charmain Lodges Please stand up

Since getting two different eviction dates, Charmain Lodge has now received notification of two different appointments at Olive Morris House (but why does she even have to go there at all, seeing as she’s repeatedly given Lambeth stacks of requested paperwork?). Actually, I say Olive Morris House, but that’s just an assumption… neither text actually says where Charmain is supposed to go to!

The thing about the two appointments though is – one is MID-MORNING (very civilised), whilst the other is at MID-NIGHT (very spooky, though technically, I suppose it’s at 23.55, not midnight, because they want her there 5 minutes early).

Oh dear, there seems to be something even odder than usual going on in LaLa Lambeth’s Housing department. There’s a definite sense of symmetry to their actions, but what they’re doing is simply surreal.

Will Charmain eventually end up with two homes? Will Lambeth ever get to grips with anything?

Watch out for the next nail-biting episode of :  



Lambeth’s persecution of Housing Co-op residents exposed

Lambeth’s gutter tactics, with regard to the eviction and forced rehousing of the borough’s Housing Co-ops, is finally laid bare.

In the email below, Councillor O’Malley says she: “heard a statement from a senior housing officer that ‘Housing’ continues to pursue a policy for ‘short-life’ residents that is focused on making life difficult for them so that they ‘go away'”.

So, is that official council policy then?

All we need now is someone in the planning department to confirm that there’s a ‘policy’ to ignore listed building status and allow developers free rein to gut the houses of their/our history…

Helen O’Malley has been the single Labour councillor to openly support the Co-ops, trying to, variously, have the recall halted and trying to make sure residents are treated fairly.  For her troubles (?) she has been deselected by the Labour’s campaign Forum group (I think that’s what it’s called) under less-than-salubrious circumstances.

The behaviour shown by the campaign Forum group to Helen O’Malley, is so similar to the treatment shown to Co-op residents by Lambeth’s Labour administration, that it suggests that Labour may have an inherent antipathy towards Co-ops.

An email, sent from Councillor O’Malley to Sue Foster:

Subject: RE: Charmain Lodge “short-life” tenant due to be evicted

Dear Sue
Dear Pete
Re. Clapham Town Resident Charmaine Lodge
Both Cllr Robbins and myself recently heard a statement from a senior housing officer that ‘Housing’ continues to pursue a policy for ‘short-life’ residents that is focused on making life difficult for them so that they ‘go away’. As ward councillor, I have asked repeatedly that Lambeth begin to treat its residents with fairness, compassion and professionalism.
The case of Charmaine Lodge is the next example where Lambeth do not work with these residents with care and justice. The ‘Councillor call for Action’ asked that this savage policy be reversed.
I must ask that Charmaine Lodge’s situation is properly evaluated and that Lambeth, her landlords, resolve this situation with detailed and accurate action. It is beyond any acceptable practise that even the eviction date is questionable.
Please will you take action to ensure the wellbeing of this resident.
Cllr Helen O’Malley
Clapham Town Ward

Seriously ill? Who do you call, a doctor or Lambeth council’s Medical Review Team?

There’s a Freedom of Information request slowly being dealt with by Lambeth council’s obfuscation team…

The request was simple enough –

‘Please list the people who make up the Housing Medical Review Team.
Please provide full details of their medical qualifications.’

The reply was:

“Please find the information you requested below.

We have qualified medical officers who make decisions on and review medical cases. Medical officers are required to hold a Dip COT/ Degree in OT or Degree/Dip Nursing/ Health Care or Health Visitor as a minimum qualification

 Disclosure of the names of medical officers is withheld relying on the following:

Section 40(2) Personal Data

Section 40 Personal Data of the FOIA sets out an exemption from the right to know if the information requested is personal information protected by the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).  The personal data about third parties are exempt under section 40(2), by virtue of the condition in subsection 40(3)(b) being satisfied, as disclosure to a member of the public otherwise than under the FOIA would breach the first, second and possibly the fourth data protection principles.  

 Personal data is defined in Section 1(1) of the DPA as:

o “personal data” means data which relates to a living individual who can be identified from those data; or
o from those data and other information which is in the possession of,
or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller.

 The Council has concluded that, in this instance, the information requested contains third party personal data.  Under Section 40(2) of the FOI Act, personal data is exempt from release if disclosure would breach one of the data protection principles.  We consider the principle being most relevant in this instance as being the first. This exemption is absolute and is not subject to the public interest test.

 In reaching this conclusion what we have borne in mind is that disclosure of information under the Freedom of Information Act in effect entails disclosure not only to the person requesting the information but also to the public at large.  Disclosure of these names could cause unwarranted harm and distress to any individuals identified.”

Oh dear, this raises some questions…

1. Are medical team members, who may have a degree in Occupational Therapy, or a diploma in Nursing/ Health Care/ Health Visitor really qualified to overide the opinions of Consultants and GPs, even though these council employees are obviously less qualified? Indeed, is a Health Care worker, or a Health Visitor, or even a Nurse really the best person to assess anybody with complicated, often ‘invisible’, medical needs?

2. Why are we, the general public, not allowed to know the names of the people the council employ? When is Information not free? Simple, whenever someone would prefer it not to be.

3. “Disclosure of these names could cause unwarranted harm and distress to any individuals identified.” Pardon? The actions of Lambeth’s Medical Review Team often seem to cause unwarranted harm or distress to residents of Lambeth, that’s why we’d like to know who is responsible!

In my own case, Lambeth’s Medical Review Team person completely dismissed a couple of things I’d told her about my medical condition, things well documented by both my GP and at least one hospital Consultant. But, as far as she was concerned, she didn’t believe what I’d said, therefore what I’d said simply didn’t exist. The medical record that Lambeth council has compiled on me, is a version concocted in the mind of a, presumably, inadequately-qualified Medical Review Team member (inadequate in terms of my situation, anyway). The problem is that Lambeth council base the way they treat me on this warped version they have. It’s definitely ridiculous, but it should be criminal too.

Of course, all this segues neatly into the recent case of the Westminster council tenant who suffered from Vertigo, but the council’s medical team decided it wasn’t of any relevance when the council tried to give the family a 16th floor flat. When the family turned it down as unsuitable, the council decided they were being unreasonable… fortunately a Judge thought otherwise.  The end result being that a council who ignores the medical opinion of somebody qualified, had better make sure they have their own expert witness to back up their position.

As the article says at the end:

“The Court of Appeal considered that the council was wrong in dismissing the evidence without opposing medical evidence.

This case raises the question as to the extent to which local authority review officers will need to obtain medical evidence to counter medical opinion provided to them. The safest position is to obtain it. There is otherwise no means of refuting an expert’s opinion.”

A further request for information has just gone in:

“… request an internal review of Lambeth Borough Council’s handling of my FOI request ‘Medical Qualifications’.

I believe further information can be furnished without compromising the privacy of individuals:

1. Please detail the number of people in the council’s medical review team.

2. Please name the members of the medical review team.

3. Please detail the individual qualifications that team members possess, without specifically relating this information to individuals.”

Are Lambeth council properties left empty on purpose?

A Freedom of Information request was put in to LBL, asking whether the cannabis farm at the 250 Barcombe Avenue property (described here) had been reported to the police.  It seems the answer is NO…

When 250 Barcombe was visited, the council officer remarked about the property having been used to grow cannabis. The people viewing the place presumed that this had automatically been reported to the police. The situation at 250 Barcombe wasn’t specifically reported to the council officer, because he obviously knew all about it already.

Apart from the illegality of the dope growing enterprise, there was considerable damage done to the property in order to provide the right growing conditions – holes in the floor in one room, wooden windows rotting (possibly from the damp atmosphere) and large holes through walls for ventilation ducting. The council are obviously having to pay for this damage being repaired. If the activity and the accompanying damage were reported to the police, maybe some kind of insurance kicks in, to cover some of the repair bills?

It was reported (to the officer) that the flat next door was possibly being used for the same purpose – all the windows were obscured and the tv seemed to be on a constant loud volume, day and night. Did he do anything about that?

Thinking about the situation, it’s blindingly obvious that anybody in Lambeth council, who has access to keys, keybox codes and properties, could use empty flats and houses however they wanted, because Lambeth’s control and oversight of their housing stock seems to be almost non-existent.

I’m not saying that’s what happened at 250 Barcombe, but I bet it’s happening somewhere in the borough. Maybe this explains all those Lambeth properties that stay empty for years, while, at the same time, Lambeth are evicting Co-ops and saying they desperately need the money… so why aren’t they doing something with the perennially empty properties?

Anyhow, below is the answer received about 250 Barcombe Ave.

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request reference 174262

You asked:

1. Has Lambeth council reported the criminal activity recently identified
at an empty council property, 250 Barcombe Avenue, to the Metropolitan

2. What is the council’s policy on reporting criminal activity in a
council property, once this activity has been reported to a council

LBL’s answer:

I have referred your query to our South area Tenancy Enforcement team, who
have advised as follows:

1.    The Tenancy Enforcement Team has not been made aware of any criminal
activity at this address.

2.    Once criminal activity in a property has been reported to a council
officer, that council officer should take steps to report it to the police
or at least ensure that steps are taken to report it to the police as soon
as possible.



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