A trawl through a myriad of Freedom of Information requests to Lambeth council on the WhatDoTheyKnow website uncovers the following request from Toni Morris:
Can you please provide me with all policy documents relating to Lambeth 500 including how participants are selected by Lambeth Housing?

Lambeth council sent back a copy of an official Lambeth leaflet which reads as follows:

Lambeth 500 Terms of Reference

1.     Introduction

The Lambeth 500 is a voluntary group comprised of tenants, leaseholders, freeholders and other customers in receipt of services from Lambeth Housing Management.  Its aims are:

·        To develop best practice, performance and continuous improvement to services provided by Lambeth Housing Management

·        To have an effective framework for engaging with residents about topics that matter to them – and doing so quickly and reliably

·        To explore and challenge issues that impact neighbourhoods across Lambeth

·        To represent the diversity of the Borough

·        To develop a pool of trained resident experts who are willing to be consulted on Lambeth Housing Management’s policies and practices.

2.     Membership

Membership to the 500 is open to anyone who would like to join.  At the point of sign up there is no obligation on part of the signee to partake in any of the initiatives exist under the 500 banner.  The level and extent of their participation is left entirely up to the member.  Should members wish to revoke their membership they are free to do so at any time.

3.     Communication

Members will only be contacted in accordance with their preferences at sign-up. That is to say, there will be no unnecessary communications had with members and communication will be prioritised around the way members wish to be contacted, as well as their stated area(s) of interest.

4.     Framework

The Lambeth 500 database will be held centrally by the Office of Neil Wightman.

The database will be used to selectively contact Lambeth 500 members within the guidelines laid out in point 3 above.  The following will be typical instances as to why we might contact people:

·        Invitations for involvement in resident panels concerning specialist areas of Housing Management, such as repairs and complaints

·        Feedback on new initiatives

·        Policy and procedure review

·        Invitations to special events

·        Service updates

The Lambeth 500 wishes to deliver across the areas outlined in point 1 above, whilst using current technology to its best effect to ensure a streamlined and efficient interface between service users and Lambeth Housing Management.  The database will allow us to use phone, text and email to establish meaningful interactions with residents about topics that interest them.

5.     Panel Members – support and conduct

·        Panel members will be provided with support for their roles through training that will be provided by Housing Management.

·        Panel members are expected to conduct themselves appropriately and maintain confidentiality around sensitive issues.

·        Members will not receive any preferential treatment from Lambeth Housing Management and are recruited to work as individuals rather than as resident representatives.

6.     Equality and Diversity

We ensure equality in accordance with all relevant legislation and our equality and diversity policy.

And nothing else.

Toni Morris responded: Dear FOI,
I’m sorry this has not answered my question, I specifically asked for all policy documents relating to the Lambeth 500 and not a leaflet that very briefly sets out what it is supposed to be.

Can you now please provide me with the information requested?

Lambeth FOI’s reply:

Dear Ms Morris

Thank you for your enquiry relating to your Freedom of Information Request.

The documents provided to you are the documents held which constitute policy documents relating to the Lambeth 500.

There are no further policy documents and so all information held in response to the information request has been provided. Kind regards.

Neil Wightman is Lambeth’s Director of Housing Management. Let’s hope someone informs him of what’s happening…….

The following comes from Public Libraries News:

‘There’s more than one way to ban a book’ –  Editorial by Ian Anstice

There’s more than one way to ban a book. Forcing people to pay for it, when they can ill afford to, is one. Not letting people know of its existence is another. Downplaying the importance of it, or saying it’s evil, a third. Getting rid of people who know about that book and will recommend it at just the right time is a fourth………

The link between closing librarians and losing librarians and Banned Books Week is rightly drawn out by a few articles in the UK – I think for the first time – in the post below. Worth a read. Like so many things which are banned.

Also, please note that it’s #FollowALibrary day this Friday. Get your social media tweets scheduled in now. Tell your friends.

And your politicians.


Devon – Ottery St Mary’s Library to move into ex-bank.
Lancashire – Confirmed 21 libraries to close on this Friday.
Wakefield – Opening hours cuts confirmed.

Further reading: The rest of this editorial can be found on – along with a list of books in ‘Banned Books week’.

Libraries raise awareness of Banned Books Week – The Bookseller September 26, 2016 by Natasha Onwuemezi:

“Islington Libraries has put together a list of notable banned books which includes Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Vintage), Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code (Corgi), Mark Haddon’s A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Vintage) and Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner (Bloomsbury).

“Others books threatened with censorship include children’s classics such as Roald Dahl’s Matilda (Puffin) and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (Scholastic), as well as J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series (Bloomsbury) and Beloved by Toni Morrison (Vintage).”

(And, believe it or not, Where’s Wally. There’s some very amusing – and worrying – reasons why some of these books hav e been banned. – Ed.)


A visit to a meeting of the Carnegie Library Association – who solve one mystery relating to Carnegie library Herne Hill which Lambeth council and Greenwich Leisure (but no-one else) want to turn into a glorified gym.

Association chairman Jeff Doorn says that following a visit to the Carnegie they found 36 memorials in the basement. So they are still there – for the moment.

And he answers one of the many questions News From Crystal Palace has put to Lambeth council and never got a reply to. Many thanks, Mr Doorn.


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