LAMBETHWATCH: FROM NOT ANSWERING THE QUESTION – TO CHANGING THE ORIGINAL ANSWER

Prior to May’s council elections Lambeth Cllr Bernard Gentry (Con) complained that a written question he asked at full council hadn’t been answered.

Lambeth now appear to have a new plan: changing the original answer.

Last month, along with various national media, News From Crystal Palace ran stories on the Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry who had seen a rough sleeper’s sleeping bag being removed by a Lambeth council workman.

Lambeth council’s first response on Twitter on November 1st to Michelle Dewberry from an unnamed source within the council reads as follows:

New conversation Lambeth Council‏Verified account @lambeth_council Nov 1 Replying to @MichelleDewbs

(1/3) Hi Michelle, we appreciate your concern for the person who was sleeping here. This man has been sleeping at this location every night for several weeks. As with all people who sleep rough in our parks, we engage with them continually,

Replying to @lambeth_council @MichelleDewbs

(2/3) but he has turned down all of our offers of assistance, such as hostel accommodation. We’ve said to him several times that if he continues to leave his things there we’d remove them.

Lambeth Council‏Verified account @lambeth_council Nov 1

Replying to @lambeth_council @MichelleDewbs

(3/3) That was carried out today. Our outreach team have been informed of his situation and will continue to try and support him.

The following day all this had changed:

Lambeth Council‏Verified account @lambeth_council

Nov 2 Replying to @MichelleDewbs @jon_bartley @cllrpeck

Thanks for your concern about this. @Cllrpeck has asked officers to investigate this. We can assure you that the person is staying at one of our hostels and has been supported by our rough sleeping team. We understand that only items he no longer wanted were discarded

And there’s this from our friends at Brixton Buzz news website in a story headlined ‘Lambeth council abandons Labour party election pledge of voluntary top rate Council Tax’ (Report by Jason Cobb November 6, 2018) on the end of which you will find the following:

6th November update:

After we published our original piece it seems that Lambeth council has had an urgent rethink.

We have now heard from the council:

“I have been advised that the original response, which stated “’By its nature any voluntary contribution is difficult to predict and would not be helpful during financial modelling and planning’, was submitted in error.

Officers have now issued the following correction:

Officers have completed an initial assessment and will undertake detailed financial modelling to ascertain how much extra income could be generated as well as options for administering the collection arrangements.”

Further reading: OPPOSITION COUNCILLORS CALL FOR ACTION OVER SLEEPING BAG SCANDAL AS ‘APPRENTICE’ STAR SAYS : “WE NEED A COMPASSIONATE APPROACH NOT A TICK-BOX ONE” November 5th 2018

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