The NHS in South West London, including Croydon, has announced the appointment of Dr Gloria Rowland as Chief Nurse.
Previously Director of Midwifery at Barts Health NHS Trust, the country’s largest maternity service, Dr Rowland has been recognised by for her “outstanding practice in the leadership and drive shown” to improve midwifery services in a report from the Care Quality Commission.
First trained as a registered nurse and midwife in Nigeria, Dr Rowland relocated to Britain to continue her nursing career, where she has gained further qualifications in BSc Midwifery, MSc Community Public Health Specialist Practitioner and doctorate in Clinical Practice. Continue reading →
Martin Kemp, the former star of Spandau Ballet and EastEnders, will be back on our television screens this Sunday, fronting an appeal for a south London-based children’s charity.
Martin Kemp recording the short film for The Children’s Trust, which airs on Sunday
The Children’s Trust, based in Tadworth and with charity shops in Cheam, Purley, Epsom and Redhill, is the country’s leading charity for children with brain injury, delivering rehabilitation, education and community services.
Kemp who has personal experience of brain injury, following an operation to remove a brain tumour in 1997. Today, he said: “I hope lots of people tune into the appeal to see why The Children’s Trust need your help. It’s a subject close to my heart and I hope the money raised continues to help more children and families across the UK access the vital support they so desperately need.” Continue reading →
Council staff have been ordered not to read or talk to Inside Croydon. Town Hall reporter KEN LEE on how the council’s £192,000 per year CEO has quickly adopted the bunker mentality of her discredited predecessor
Katherine Kerswell: seeking to blame others for her own error of judgement
Katherine Kerswell has been working at Croydon Council for barely two months, but judging by reports from staff members who attended her latest “open” briefing meeting last week, she has already adopted the bunker mentality of her immediate predecessor Jo “Negreedy” Negrini and the discredited council leader Tony Newman.
“The constant denials that there was anything wrong, the bogus claims of success and awards for things like Brick by Brick… oh yeah, and trying to blame Inside Croydon just because you report what is going on. That’s what Negrini and Newman used to do. Now Kerswell’s started to do it.”
Council staff based in Fisher’s Folly had their questions ignored last week
Frontline council staff, having already this year been put through one “reorganisation” – meaning more than 400 job cuts – now believe that there are more jobs to be axed.
Seeking reassurance, these are just some of the questions which staff submitted for the “open” briefing session with Katherine Kerswell, the interim CEO, and Hamida Ali, the leader of the council, last Thursday. Continue reading →
Staff at Mayday have now separated out all their covid-19 work from other medical work
Nov 18 UPDATE: The figures provided by the NHS to the council scrutiny committee were WRONG, and a vast overstatement of the number of covid cases in Croydon, as pointed out by so many of our loyal readers in the comments below. Please see our new report by clicking here
There have been more than 100,000 positive cases of coronavirus recorded in Croydon since March.
That’s according to the chief executive of the local NHS trust, in a presentation and report given to a council scrutiny meeting last week.
Four Croydon primary schools have started their own food banks to help support their communities during the second covid-19 lockdown.
Four Croydon primary schools have started a weekly foodbank service
South Norwood Primary, Woodcote Primary, Broadmead and The Crescent, all Pioneer Academy schools, took the initiative in the knowledge that during the first lockdown period earlier this year, when schools were closed to the majority of children, other schools in the group across Bexley, Bromley, Croydon and in Kent supported their families by supplying more than 3,000 food parcels.
“It is imperative that we are doing everything we can at this unprecedented and anxious time, to support our families in every way we can,” said Lee Mason-Ellis, the CEO of the Pioneer Academy trust. Continue reading →
To mark the start of Anti-Bullying Week, charity volunteer counsellor RACHEL McCOURTY explains how the NSPCC’s Childline can help
Every year thousands of children contact Childline about their experiences of cyberbullying and tell us it can feel impossible to escape.
Lockdown has exacerbated these feelings for many young people and from April to October, our trained counsellors held more than a thousand counselling sessions with young people about online bullying. Continue reading →
MARVELS OF THE MINSTER: Coronavirus is not the first pandemic that priests have had to cope with while ministering to the congregation at Croydon’s Parish Church, which has a history going back a thousand years.
By DAVID MORGAN
Croydon Minster has had to deal with plague and pestilence before
The year is 1348. King Edward III is 21 years into his long reign as monarch.
Gonville Hall, the forerunner of Gonville and Caius College Cambridge, is founded in this year.
Two Parliaments are called. The first one took place in the January and February, the second in April. That second one was the last Parliament to sit until February 1351.
A year that began normally was completely changed by a pandemic. Sound familiar? Continue reading →
England’s rugby players paid tribute at Twickenham yesterday to Matt Ratana, the rugby-playing police sergeant who was shot dead while on duty Croydon in September.
How Twickenham stadium and England rugby paid tribute yesterday
The emotive gesture came the day after the police announced that they had arrested a man on suspicion of the murder, which took place at the Windmill Road police custody station.
Sgt Ratana, 54, was shot in the chest as the handcuffed suspect was being taken into custody in the early hours of September 25.
The arrest of Louis De Zoysa has occurred now because the suspect’s condition has “stabilised”, the police said. De Zoysa suffered a gunshot wound and life-changing injuries during the incident. Continue reading →
‘Our members did not cause this mess… our members did not approach the council’s finances with “corporate blindness”.’ Unions are gearing up for a battle to protect frontline jobs, WALTER CRONXITE reports
Winter of discontent: Unions are beginning to question the council management
Katherine Kerswell, Croydon’s interim CEO, has been put on notice by the largest union at the council that they will not accept their members being blamed for the disastrous mismanagement of the local authority by incompetent executive directors and its discredited political leadership.
‘Croydon has not so much overspent as bet on losers,’ according to The Times today. KEN LEE reports on how, belatedly, the collapse of our council has finally become national news
The Thunderer has spoken.
The parlous state of Croydon’s bankrupt council has been the subject of commentary on the leader page of The Times today, an area usually reserved for important matters of state, at home and abroad.
It is fair to say that the Murdoch-owned paper is not impressed.
The only wonder is that it has taken them the best part of four years, and the council’s Section 114 notice on Wednesday, for them and the rest of national press finally to catch up with what The Times headline calls a “Rotten Borough” (in fairness to Lord Gnome, his magnificent organ Private Eye has been covering the Croydon crisis from the very start, in their excellent, ahem… Rotten Boroughs column). Continue reading →
CROYDON COMMENTARY: Residents, such as New Addington’s SCOTT AINSWORTH-PAYNE (pictured right), have been shocked at some of the revelations coming out of the council over the last couple of weeks
I am flabbergasted by the state of things.
Croydon contains some of the most deprived areas in London which rely heavily on services the council provides.
It is deeply concerning and personally I feel betrayed by those who we elected to steer the council in the right direction.
I voted for Labour at the local elections as I wanted to support a party that’s main goals are to support the vulnerable, bring about social justice and to fund our much-needed essential services. But the opposite has happened and already I am seeing council services, vital services, cut back to balance the books. Continue reading →
The council’s frontline workers must not be made scapegoats for the errors of highly paid executive directors and the council’s leadership, trades union Unite has warned.
Unite says it will not accept a reduction in their staff’s employment terms
Unite represents staff in parks, social services and CCTV.
The union also has hundreds more members operating for Croydon’s sub-contractors including waste services, leisure, education and housing, who are all potentially affected by the council’s financial crisis following this week’s issuing of the Section 114 notice, effectively admitting the borough has run out of money.
“Any attempt to reduce workers’ terms and conditions and or cut hours will be fully resisted by Unite,” Clare Keogh, the union’s regional officer, said. Continue reading →
Croydon’s Council Tax-payers can expect even less service for their money
CROYDON IN CRISIS: The problem facing Croydon Council as it seeks to balance its books is that, after a decade of Tory austerity, there’s precious little left to cut. STEVEN DOWNES reports
The frustration with the slow pace of progress over the council efforts to reduce the authority’s spending was clear in the memo from chief executive Katherine Kerswell to staff on Wednesday and the report from Lisa Taylor, the chief finance officer, that accompanied her Section 114 notice which declared the council bankrupt.
“Too many of us are still operating like business as usual and are not facing up to our new reality that we are actually in a financial crisis,” Kerswell said.
“I am still not seeing an organisation that is taking the necessary radical decisions to stop all but essential expenditure,” Taylor wrote.
“We have not been able to identify enough savings proposals for this year and next that will help us balance the budget,” Kerswell told staff.
CROYDON IN CRISIS: Council finance director says that the loss-making house-builder’s failure to pay dividends was a primary cause of her issuing the Section 114 notice. By STEVEN DOWNES
Brick by Brick proved good at producing child-like scribbled drawings, but much less-good at making payments
More than half of the council’s forecast £66million overspend in this financial year, which prompted the issuing of the Section 114 notice yesterday, is because of Brick by Brick’s failure to make interest and revenue payments.
That’s according to Lisa Taylor, the council’s chief finance officer, in her report to councillors.
According to the figures provided by Taylor in her report, Croydon’s projected overspend has spiralled by around £20million in just a couple of months.
But Taylor’s report said that it was the “greater risk than previously anticipated” around Brick by Brick, “being able to make interest and dividend payments due to the council this year and for previous years” that was one of the main causes of her to resort to the S114.
According to Taylor, the council’s loss-making house-building company was due to contribute £36million to the council’s coffers this year. Continue reading →
‘It’s time to clean things up. It’s time for the truth to be told,’ according to one Labour councillor. WALTER CRONXITE, our political editor, on the growing calls for the council’s discredited former leaders to stand down immediately
Hard hats: Tony Newman, right, and his former deputy, Alison Butler. Some Labour members are calling for their expulsion
Tony Newman, until last month the leader of crisis-hit Croydon Council, Alison Butler, his former deputy, her husband Paul Scott and Simon Hall, the one-time cabinet member for finance, should all resign as councillors and be expelled from the Labour Party.
That’s the view not just of the Town Hall’s opposition Tories after the council was yesterday forced to admit it was broke and issued a Section 114 notice. It is the opinion of a growing number of local Labour Party members, including some who worked as councillors under Newman’s “Gang of Four”. Continue reading →
CROYDON IN CRISIS: The honeymoon period for interim chief exec Katherine Kerswell appears to be over after a memo, sent just as the Section 114 notice was issued yesterday, has prompted new anger among the already demoralised staff. KEN LEE reports
An exodus of disillusioned front-line staff from Fisher’s Folly could worsen the problems faced by the council
Because it is not just the hundreds of staff being made redundant from the council who are leaving. There’s an on-going exodus of senior and well-regarded front-line employees, as they seek to quit Fisher’s Folly and resume their careers at better-run authorities. Continue reading →
CROYDON IN CRISIS: Chief finance officer Lisa Taylor sent out her report on the Section 114 notice at just after 3pm today, as her new boss, Katherine Kerswell, the interim council CEO, sent this email to all council staff
Katherine Kerswell: council staff have continued to seek growth and increased spending
As you know, our council is in a very difficult financial situation and at present is forecasting a significant overspend of many millions by the end of this financial year.
As one of the solutions to our financial difficulties; we have been in talks with government about them helping us to balance our budget through something called a Capitalisation Direction – a loan. To date, these have been supportive and positive. We are currently working with colleagues in their Rapid Review team who are meeting council staff and reviewing us. They will report back to [Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government] on our finances and other aspects of how we are facing up to our problems as part of their decision process on whether we get the loan agreed. Continue reading →
CROYDON IN CRISIS: After three weeks in the job, Hamida Ali admits that it was the Labour administration’s own errors, and not extra spending on coronavirus, that has led to the issue of the Section 114 notice.
By KEN LEE, Town Hall reporter
Hamida Ali: ‘the council has made mistakes’
Hamida Ali, the leader of Croydon Council for less than one month, today admitted that the Town Hall’s financial problems were long-term and deep-seated, and she refused to use the millions of pounds of extra spending during the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse for the administration’s failures.
“We need to be honest about the fact that, for a number of reasons, the council is on track to spend more than we have,” Ali said in a statement issued this evening, shortly after the council’s chief finance officer, Lisa Taylor, had issued a Section 114 notice – the formal admission that the council is broke.
According to the council today, the latest estimate of the council’s overspend this financial year is £66million.
Ali said, “The covid-19 crisis and a decade of austerity have had a major impact on our finances, but it’s clear the council has also made mistakes, and I am committed to fixing that. Continue reading →
EXCLUSIVE: ‘Devastating blow’ for the borough as it has issued a Section 114 notice, making it the first local authority in London for two decades to admit it has gone bust. By STEVEN DOWNES
Croydon is the first council in London to go bust in 20 years
Croydon Council’s finance director, Lisa Taylor, today succumbed to mounting pressure to issue a Section 114 notice, an admission by the local authority that it has gone bust.
The move will see day-to-day control of the council handed over to government-appointed commissioners. Croydon will become only the second council in England in 20 years to issue a S114 notice, and the first in London since Hackney in 2000. Continue reading →
Under the Local Government Finance Act 1988, Section 114 (3) dictates that: “The chief finance officer of a relevant authority shall make a report under this section if it appears to him that the expenditure of the authority incurred (including expenditure it proposes to incur) in a financial year is likely to exceed the resources (including sums borrowed) available to it to meet that expenditure.”
This means that is the chief finance officer, or CFO, sometimes also called the Section 151 officer, who in Croydon is Lisa Taylor, has the role under law of being the most senior financial advisor to the wider council’s leadership on its financial plans. Uniquely across the public sector, the CFO has the power and legal responsibility to suspend a council’s spending for a period of time if they judge the council does not have a balanced budget or the imminent prospect of one. Continue reading →
A typical scene on Oval Road, where bin bags are hung from Victorian railings, often for days on end
Demoralised residents in Addiscombe have appealed to the council to sort out the mess that they have created on Oval Road, where rubbish bags are left festering for days, even weeks on end, often with their contents spewing out across the street.
Oval Road residents were written to by the council and told to expect collections of their general waste and recycling every week – double the frequency of service provided to most Croydon residents. But the reality is that the residents are now getting a far worse service than the rest of the borough. Continue reading →
News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London.
Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email email@example.com