LW has obtained a copy of a Tower Hamlets Council Children’s Services document which states that another review of the Council’s troubled Youth Service is being undertaken.
Some months ago LW was informed that the Council was secretly planning to wind down council-run Youth Services and hand them over to social housing provider Poplar HARCA by April 2020 and that only the Youth Service hubs at Haileybury and Limehouse would be retained.
Both Tower Hamlets Council or Poplar HARCA have neither confirmed or denied this. Poplar HARCA currently provides youth services in Poplar and Bow.
It was only in February 2018 that Youth Services was relaunched by Mayor Biggs after a review and reorganisation during 2016 – 2017 following numerous allegations of corruption and financial wrongdoing within Youth Services during the administration of ex-Mayor Lutfur Rahman.
There have never been any prosecutions of Youth Service personnel.
The document, circulated by Volunteer Centre Tower Hamlets relating to a forthcoming SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) inspection states that:
“The Youth Service is currently undertaking a review of it’s delivery. It is working with young people and key stakeholders, including in the CVS (Community & Voluntary Sector) to ensure that the review has comprehensive input that will shape future service delivery.”
Head of Youth Service Sandjea Green and Divisional Director, Youth & Commissioning Ronke Martins-Taylor are listed as contacts for the review.
More Youth Service allegations
Numerous allegations of more recent corruption and wrongdoing during the administrations of both Mayors Biggs and Rahman, many relating to Youth Services, have recently been made by ex-council investigator Mark Edmunds during his claim for unfair dismissal by Tower Hamlets Council.
In response to our questions a Tower Hamlets council spokesperson said:
“The Youth Service was most recently reviewed in 2016/17. As part of the service’s commitment to ensuring that it responds to the needs of young people, it undertakes regular consultation with key stakeholders including young people, parents with young children, or older children who have Special Educational Needs and Disabilities [SEND].
As part of our commissioned youth activity arrangements the youth service works in partnership with a number of voluntary sector organisations, including Poplar HARCA, to deliver the services that young people in the borough want and need. It is the service’s intention to continue with this partnership approach to deliver commissioned activity.”
Babu Bhattacherjee, Director, Communities and Neighbourhoods, Poplar HARCA said “As a partnership, the [Poplar HARCA Spotlight] organisations continue to talk with the Council and young people all the time to ensure they get the services they want and need.”
No confirmations or denials there. Which is not much use to anyone, is it?
What is Poplar HARCA Spotlight?
Poplar HARCA Spotlight services provides youth club facilities that are currently delivered at six locations:
- Lansbury Spotlight, Langdon Park, 30 Hay Currie Street, E14 6GN
- Poplar Spotlight, The Workhouse, Poplar High Street, E14 0AF
- Bow East Spotlight, East Side, 6 Parnell Road, Bow, E3 2RB
- Mile End Spotlight, St Paul’s Way Community Centre, 83 St Paul’s Way, E3 4AJ
- Bromley North Spotlight, Ian Mikardo, 60 William Guy Gardens, Talwin Street, E3 3LF
- Bromley South Spotlight, Linc Centre, 70 Fern Street, E3 3PR