OpinioN8

Connecting Crouch End and Hornsey with news, views and information

 A view south. Is any of this MOL? Open Space? 

[click or double-click images to enlarge]

A view west. Is any of this Public land? Up for sale?

THERE’s a single-line-item buried deep in Appendix 4 for Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Here, half-way down on page 86 (N.B. numbering at the side)

General Fund Capital Programme, 2019–2024

Features an amount of £35,900,000

What's all this about?

Guv’nor?

Cabinet
Tuesday, 11th December, 2018 6.30 pm

Agenda item # 9. MEDIUM TERM FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2018/19-2022/23 (PAGES 35 - 92)

Tags: 20 acres, 6th form block, Cabinet Members, DfE, Ejiofor, Fortismere School, Governor, Tetherdown, The Art of the Deal, Trump University, More…audit trail, catchment area, conflict of interest, decision in principle, declarations, developers, documentation, education, equity, fairness, financial risk, foundation school, land sales, land tricks, map, opaque, open land, plans, playing fields, pluscachange, property deal, real estate, risk, sell-off, social housing?, transparency, wheeler dealer, who knew?

Views: 1440

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

So far I've not even had the standard 'out of office' reply, from either Fortismere or the Cabinet support. But I have just spoken to Felicity on 02084892929 who has promised to get back to me

  • Telephone The Cabinet Team on 020 8489 2929

Cllr Ejiofor appears to have learnt little-to-nothing from the HDV débâcle.

I suppose it shouldn't really surprise because, although as the new leader, he did pull the plug on the HDV (he could hardly do otherwise), there is scant evidence that he actually opposed it.

The successful Stop HDV campaign described his record on the HDV as "spotty".

In response to my email to Fortismere I received a pdf letter attached to an email. To paraphrase it said "ask Haringey". 

I have asked Fortismere to internally review their response:

Dear Marie Haines

Thank you for your response to my request, which you have treated as a Freedom of Information request.
I note that you have replied one day within the 20 school days target response time for schools.
I note also that you have not answered the question, nor have you given any reason for not so answering.
Rather you have directed me to a further public body proposing that I ask that public body for the same information.
I regard this as being very close to an  abuse of the Freedom of Information process.
The information for which I asked clearly and specifically relates to a project identified and described in some detail on your school's website.  It seems clear that you have access to the information for which I have asked.
You have directed me to the London Borough of Haringey. The web page on your school's website sets out a joint project between your school and the London Borough of Haringey. I can see no good reason why you should redirect me in this way when you have the required information.
Yours is a Foundation School, which I understand to have considerable autonomy from the Local Authority. I see no reason why, given this autonomy, you should attempt to redirect me to any other authority.
Since this is a property development project, and foundation school property vests in the school rather than in the Local Authority, I believe you have it entirely in your power to answer my question.
Please respond to this formal request for an internal review of your response setting out why I should not take my concerns to the information commissioner.
Many Thanks
Adrian Essex

Adrian, agree and believe that the response you had, like my own response, was not in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act (2000). The school may have been unwise in placing over-much confidence in Cllr. Ejiofor, whose (bizarre) personally-promoted project this appears to be.

Adrian, I would like to believe that the dismissal of your entirely reasonable and legitimate Freedom of Information request is a genuine mistake. And that Fortismere Foundation School will now have a change of heart.
It appears to me that not only is the school required to reply according to the law, but that its refusal ignores the fact that it is funded by public money and that the scheme of development involves £35.9m of public funds. Tens of thousands having already been spent.

There is also a further reason which I hope will be considered most carefully by the school's Governing Body and the School Joint Head Teachers and Senior Management Team. I'm hoping  the school would agree with my view that Fortismere Foundation School's responsibility includes the civic education of its students. Also that this should include setting sound examples by acting responsibly, and complying with and showing respect for the the law, and for the rights of other Haringey citizens.

Many of Fortismere Foundation School's students are themselves young citizens of Haringey. I wonder whether the Governing Body and Senior Management Team have considered what sort of example they are setting to those young people? Does the school teach subjects which involve Government, Democracy and Ethics? And if so do they think it's unnecessary to practice what they teach? Do they consider that their behavior sets young people a sound model to be followed?

What lessons should their students draw from replies sent to Adrian Essex and Clive Carter? That the school is above the law? And that whatever theories may be taught in classrooms, or whatever syllabus its teachers deliver, and whatever the correct answers may be to exam questions, the school's own practice can ignore all of it.

Alan you make interesting points about the appearance to others, of the school's conduct thus far.

I've been to Fortismere once, invited on a panel with Catherine West MP and the Evening Standard's political reporter, Lobby Correspondent Kate Proctor, to discuss politics and the media.

If I remember rightly, we were introduced by a teacher of philosophy, or political philosophy (that I have myself studied and recommend). The three of us fielded questions from a lively, engaged, probing, intelligent group of students.

This thread has been viewed more than one thousand times and the questions to which answers are sought may filter back to students and their parents.

How to respond to FoI requests on this £35.9m question is likely to be a matter of some debate amongst the school's governors.

In my opinion, the school will be wise to be as candid as possible and as soon as possible.

I imagine many people know the saying: "Don't do as I do; do as I tell you". But where does it come from?
Wikipedia, has a page: "Do as I say and not as I do". It cites John Selden (1584-1654) and his book "Table Talk". "https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/do_as_I_say_and_not_as_I_do

Ignorant and curious, I read a little about Mr Selden and a few pages of his book.
(https://archive.org/stream/tabletalkofjohns00seldiala/tabletalkofjo...)

Selden has a few things to say about schoolmasters and the need to teach according to the ages of children. Though the examples he begins with are a preacher and a doctor.
Here's the paragraph quoted:
"Preachers say, do as I say, not as I do. But if a
Physician had the same Disease upon him that I have,
and he should bid me do one thing, and he do quite
another, could I believe him ?"

I very much hope that present and past Fortismere students do find out about these responses to Freedom of Information requests and ask the school's Governing Body and senior staff their justification for bidding a student do one thing and they do quite another.

According to Fortismere Foundation School and to Joe Ejiofor - the latter previously wearing his co-opted school Governor and Deputy Leader 'hats' - the proposed £35.9m property development scheme is aimed mainly at building a new Sixth Form Centre. Now wearing his Leader 'hat', Cllr Joe Ejiofor  seeks to sell the scheme as a way to build a handful of council houses at nil cost.

I don't blame the Governors of Fortismere from being impressed by someone offering to gamble £35.9m apparently without any risk to their school.

But it's appalling that other people have to waste time and effort preventing Ejiofor - who appears to me a vain ignorant and incompetent political buffoon - risking vast sums of public money.  Or actually having anything whatever to do with public money.

Ah, good, they did not mean to be obstructive.

Dear Mr Essex

We are writing to confirm receipt of your email dated 5 February 2019 sent to Ms Haines.  We aim to comply with your FOI request but we need to make sure that any information we release is ours to share.  We have approached Haringey for clarification on this but it is our intention to release the information to you shortly.  Please be assured that we did not mean to be obstructive or to  withhold information from you, we simply wanted to be sure that we were able to release information that originated from another body.  We will be in touch again shortly.

 

Our Chair of Governors, Mark Chapman, is happy to discuss this with you if you would like to get in touch. 

Regards

Zoe Judge and Jo Davey

Co-headteachers

Yes absolutely. It is reassuring to see that the school "did not mean to be obstructive".

Bearing in mind Dr. Stanton's comments about how the school authorities appear in the eyes of their students, I am sure that they will now provide full disclosure in order to be seen as open, candid and transparent. And as a responsible institution, in the light of the fact that £36 million pounds of public money could be involved.

Apparently some of today's youth use something called social media and may be able to rapidly exchange information, but it's all beyond me …

The school also publishes the minutes of the governing body, once they have been signed off at the following meeting. The body which meets 3 times a year. The most recent minutes displayed are for 12 March 2018, and there should have been a meeting on 18 June, with minutes also on the website. It would be interesting to know what was said about the £36m Magic Money Tree Site Improvement Project at that meeting, also if JE resigned as a governor then, and whether he gave a reason.

MOST will know of the double sackings from the Haringey Council Cabinet that were executed on New Years Eve by the current council leader Joseph Ejiofor.

In their subsequent statements, each of the two Cabinet members sacked – Ahmet and Brabazon cite or mention Ejiofor's Fortismere School scheme in the context of what lay behind their sacking.

This huge, secret capital project—like other grandiose Haringey schemes before it—has in my view, disaster written all over it. Big bang projects that bled money needed elsewhere and cost our Borough dear. Haringey hasn't yet learnt that they're not good at this land-and-property dealing stuff and might better avoid it. Whether or not the project goes ahead, large amounts of public are likely to be spent. It looks like a personal pet project, played with public money. The likely hallmarks are:

► Risks: unknown

► Scrutiny and oversight: nonexistent

► Secrecy: at this stage, more than the HDV

Concern amongst Councillors and Officers

► Money: £35,900,000 of public money involved

► Social housing? intimated but could be deceptive

► Profits? hopes to make a turn on a property deal*

► Public policy development: outside the public gaze

► Wheeling and dealing in private, behind closed doors

► Attention: this will gradually assume more attention as information emerges

Cllr Ejifor's promotion of his Big F scheme may yet mark the beginning of the end of his struggling leadership, in a broadly similar way that the trajectory of the previous leader's #HDV could be seen near the beginning of 2017 (half-way, here).

*the "consideration" for the 2006 Haringey lease of Alexandra Palace, included a modest "premium" (thought to be £1.5m) plus a never-disclosed profit-sharing deal. Had it gone ahead, the profit-sharing would have vied with the HDV for most fanciful flight of fancy. The profit-sharing deal was made with a former slum-landlord, with whom the Labour Council was happy, even desperate, to do business. That Lease was executed in 2006 or 2007 by the current Cabinet Member for Strategic Regeneration, Cllr. Charles Adje.

 

Fortismere colleges are called Rhodes Ephesus , Colosseum , Alexandria , Petra and Olympia. Places renowned now mainly for their ruins

RSS

© 2019   Created by Adrian Essex.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service