A reminder to borough residents that from Thursday September 25th auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) have been finalising their report for the Department for Culture and Local Government (DCLG) regarding Tower Hamlets Council.
On 4 April 2014 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, appointed PwC to look into allegations of governance failure, poor financial management and fraud at Tower Hamlets, stating at the time that “localism requires local transparency, scrutiny and accountability.”
Originally scheduled to report in June the investigation has been hampered due to a seeming reluctance by the Council to fully co-operate with the DCLG team including the withholding of key documents.
Mayor Lutfur Rahman and his exclusively male Tower Hamlets First administration have also made a legal attempt to stop the audit by seeking a judicial review. They failed.
What price to restore the reputation of Tower Hamlets?
The bill for the audit will run into millions of pounds and will ultimately be paid by Tower Hamlets residents. However some would argue that if this is the price of rescuing our proud borough from its current predicament then it is a price worth paying.
Whatever the outcome of the PwC audit there are a variety of ways that the DCLG can respond.
- Do nothing at all – in which case no Conservative politician will ever get a vote in Tower Hamlets. Ever. And what little faith residents have in Government in any form will be destroyed.
- DCLG takes direct control of Tower Hamlets Council – in which case street parties in some parts of the borough.
- Something in between the two options.
If the DCLG should take control of the Council and install a Chief Executive to run the borough properly there may be some problems that cannot be sorted because they are so entrenched.
There have been suggestions that the London Borough of Tower Hamlets could be dissolved and control of the East End passed to other boroughs. A draconian solution but it does have some merit.