The Workers Budget Sunak Will Not Deliver

‘One year on from the first national lockdown, there is still so much more to be done to protect jobs and livelihoods, and people’s safety at work.

But we’ve seen the breakthroughs that can happen when everyday people and trade unions pressure the government to step up.

It’s how we won sick pay from the first day of absence. The reason we secured a furlough scheme that saved 9 million jobs and a jobs scheme for young workers hardest hit by the pandemic.’ 

The TUC’s Megahone project  says ‘Let’s come together again to demand a Workers’ Budget, to provide: 

  • A pay rise for all our key workers. 
  • Safe workplaces and sick pay for all. 
  • Decent jobs for everyone.
  • Fair funding for our NHS and public services.’
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Croydon Extra 20 February


BAME Faith Leaders Support The Jab

Extra COVID Support Grants For Business

Financial Crisis

Two Council Directors Have Resigned

Executive Director of Health, Wellbeing and Adults Guy Van Dichele and Finance Director Lisa Taylor have resigned after they were suspended earlier this month.  Disciplinary procedures have started against others. (The Municipal Journal & Local Government Chronicle, 19 February)

Brick by Brick

Hamida Ali explains in her weekly Your Croydon posting:

‘We have agreed a series of actions, the first being to make sure that sites currently underway are completed by this autumn, so Brick By Brick pays money owed to the council and more local people on our housing waiting list get a much-needed home.

Later this year, we will decide on what happens to the longer-term sites the future of Brick By Brick itself, with a final decision on whether to sell the company being made by May 2021.

There is a wide range of sites that will now not be developed by Brick By Brick, and the council will decide what to do with each site based on the best option for local taxpayers. You can find out more here.

We also agreed last night that several disused, council-owned sites are set to be sold at the best possible price to boost the council’s finances, after approving an interim asset disposal strategy.

This strategy gives the council a clearer process around deciding how to get best value for Croydon taxpayers on selling surplus sites in the right way and at the right time.

The council has earmarked 15 sites for potential sale, including The Croydon Park Hotel, which could bring in much-needed income and reduce expensive running costs. Find out more here.’

Asset Sale Strategy & Budget Proposals – Council Explanations

What Are The Implications Of The Government

Ban On The Use Of Unregulated Homes For Under-16s?

I have emailed Cabinet member Alisa Flemming as follows:

Today The Guardian reports on the ban on the use of unregulated accommodation for under-16s coming into effect in September and concerns about older teenagers not being so protected. While an important measure it adds to the complexity of problems you and your colleagues have to deal with to resolve the financial crisis and transform  children’s services, which I hope that the |Improvement & Appraisal Panel will take into account.

While I am sure that various detailed documents to Cabinet have provided detail about this kind of provision in the past, it would be useful if the following information was made public to explain how the Council tends to implement the ban.

(1)    How many children under 16 are placed by Croydon in unregulated  accommodation (a) in the Borough, (b) in other London Boroughs: and (c) out of London?

(2)    What support is being given to the owners of these unregulated homes to meet regulatory standards?

(3)    What types of expenditure will they have to invest in order to satisfy regulatory standards?

(4)    If the unregulated homes close where can the children be re-housed?

(5)    Will new regulated houses have to be created?

(6)    Are there existing regulated house providers who can be supported to purchase and improve the unregulated homes?

(7)  Is an action plan being drafted?

(8)    How many additional staff will the Council need to employ to implement an action plan?

(8)    Does the need for urgent action by the Council mean that the options for the use of Croydon Park Hotel should be re-assessed to provide temporary or longer term housing for under 16s? (Stuart King has informed that my suggestions for the Hotel will be examined in the next stage of assessing the way forward.)

(9) Could some of the first tier assets being considered for sale be adaptable to create housing capable of meeting regulatory standards?

(10)Is the long term issue of housing for under 16 year olds and older teenagers one that needs to be addressed in the drafting of the new Housing Strategy?’

Other News

Update On Greystar’s Empty Towers

Young Cellists And Violinists Wanted For Quartet

Does The Fragmented Nature of Croydon’s

Social Media & Websites Limit Information

Sharing And Debate?

Amended in light of information received from Council Deputy Leader Stuart King.

One of the reasons I do these Croydon postings is to provide readers with a partial one-stop shop to the news and issues that range across news media and local organisations websites and Facebooks. The number grows month by month, so it becomes very difficult for individuals to keep in touch with everything that is going on. The reach can be limited.

Deputy Leader Stuart King tells me that about 90,000 people are registered to receive the weekly Your Croydon Council news email. While this is a very higher figure, there are tens of thousands of households who do not. The case for keeping the print edition going still stands.

Collecting Views Together

It is important to collect views together that more voices are heard and their concerns and ideas can be considered.

One Facebook does bring together a number of postings from other Facebooks.

Beautiful Croydon

A relatively new site is that of Lucinda Offer South Croydon resident, Friend of Park Hill and photographer. Lucinda’s hobby is photography and is self taught.

Schools And Physical Exercise

CllrJamie Audsley listened into #BBCR4 #AusterityAudit report featuring #Croydon

‘Worth a listen! Lack of funds to recruit teachers & enable students to access sport key problems. Solutions? Let’s hope Keir grips it today on the national level. Locally? It’s time for us to create #TeachCroydon offer & demand those private schools @WhitgiftSchool1@TrinityCroydonsupport #sportforall. Reactions? Ideas? Shout back’

Some people have mainly discussing the help that the Whitgift Foundation should give.

Differences Of Opinion

We have to recognise that there are always going to be differences of opinion. Croydon’s environmentalist and Climate Change campaigners will be shocked by the denials on the Croydon Constitutionalists website.

This group claims to be a non partisan events & campaigning group promoting a Classically Liberal set of ideas & encouraging others to campaign and promote freedom,

London Region NPC Backs Deputy

Mayor For Older People

Last year as part of its work on the housing needs of older people requested the Croydon Unite Retired Members branch requested the London Mayor  to appoint a Deputy for Old People. He did not. The request was shared with the National Pensioners’ Convention which the branch is a member of. In its London Mayoral Manifesto NPC London Region supports the suggestion. Its manifesto also proposes:

  • Safety: Adequate manning for policing and Fire Station services, safe travel and road crossing.
  • Transport: Sufficient bus routes, accessible buses and underground/ main line stations, assisted transport, including ‘dial a ride’
  • Housing: Reverse the decline in truly affordable council, housing association and sheltered housing. All homes to have suitable adaptions, be warm, fully accessible for independent healthy living.
  • Age Friendly London: Cultural Venues, accessible libraries, day centres, green spaces, places to sit, public toilets, and clean air.
  • Community and communications/Equal life chances for all-(age, gender, ethnicity and disability equality): No discrimination against those without IT expertise or accesses to broadband, inclusive publicity options for telephone access and paper bills without financial penalty.
  • Living Costs in London to be affordable for public sector workers. Young people and all the workers we rely on need to be able to rent/live in London.
  • Whilst the Mayor is not responsible for the provision of NHS services, we expect him/her to oppose any further changes which would reduce or dismantle Health Services in London.

The London Region Committee is asking all GLA candidates to endorse these proposals or should they disagree, to explain their reasons. Barry Todman the London Region Secretary is a Croydon resident.

Croydon Based Historians Historycal Roots Website Praised

The Historycal Roots website of Croydon based historians David Gleave  has been praised by Audrey Dewjee Yorkshire based historian and networker of Black Britain. Audrey,who is a reader of the history postings on this blog site writes:

‘Historycal Roots is an impressivewebsite because, unlike many other Black History websites, it primarily features new research and information. 

New research in British Black and Asian History is vital.  A great deal more needs to be discovered before we can be even reasonably sure that we know what life was like for people of colour in the past.  Shamefully little has been done by academic historians since the brief upsurge in interest of the 1970s and 80s, and the work of independent and local historians is often not nationally well known.  Websites like Historycal Roots fulfil a vital function in providing a platform for dissemination of such new work.

It is not the easiest of websites to browse around in order to access the many interesting articles posted on it in the past.  There is a search button if you have a specific person/event to look for and a list of the most recent “Earlier Posts” down the side.  Otherwise the best way of accessing earlier articles is to click on “News” on the navigation bar and scroll right down to the bottom of the page where you will find links 1 – 13, which allow you to go back through all the previous entries.

A “subscribe” option was added to the site a couple of days ago (which is why there is currently only a small number of subscribers).  If you leave your email address you will be notified when a new article is added to the site.

The most recent article is a fascinating and detailed account of the Black Soldiers in the 43rd Foot, 1796-1826 by military historian John Ellis.

David is a member of the informal local authors group which I co-ordinate.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How To Make Sense Of Croydon Cabinet Meeting 18 February

How to make sense of the Croydon Cabinet meeting held on Thursday 18 February is difficult. This is not helped by the instability of the webcast which often freezes and has to be re-loaded so everything cannot be listened to.

Reticence To Propose And Vote on Amendments

The members appear reticent to propose and vote on amendments to the papers. While they raise some concerns and ask questions, it remains to be seen how these will  be minuted by Democratic Services, for which we will have to wait sometime.

Ignoring Views Submitted

The members do not appear to refer to views submitted to them from the members of the public like my papers on the interim asset disposal strategy, the equalities strategy and education standards. I do not expect them to say who they received them from. I think it is not too much to ask, as they claim to be open, transparent and want to improve engagement and listening, that they acknowledge the receipt of views and state that they will be replied to. More people may think it worthwhile supplying alternative ideas and information to what the officers put in reports if this were to happen.

At least Deputy Leader Stuart King has let me know that my suggestions on Croydon Park Hotel will be considered- see below. Alisa Flemming responded to my email to Labour Councillors relevant to the education paper – see below.

Having raised concerns to Scrutiny about the lack of publication of the lists of Brick by Brick sites, its Vice-Chair Leila Ben-Hassel copied me an email to the relevant officer containing her partial listing- see below.

What Did We Learn From Cabinet’s Discussion?

Independent & Assurance Panel. With the Government appointed IAP now in existence the Council’s plan for its own Improvement Board has been put on hold and the membership of the proposed Community Board will be considered at the March Cabinet.

Views were expressed that

  • there needs to ways found to engage groups beyond ‘the usual suspects’.
  • papers need to be written in a simpler form for lay people to be able to understand and help them take part
  • as the IAP is to meet in private how can it be subject to openness and transparency?

The Equalities Strategy is to be central to everything the Council does.

Middle managers need to be trained and supported to implement the Equalities Strategy and develop their staff teams to be successful.

Key equalities issues for the future relate to BAMR residents, COVID, child poverty, educational attainment.

The failure to support Cllr Andy Stranack with his needs does not bode well for residents with support needs.

Housing Strategy and Rents. Drafting the up-date Housing Strategy has been held up due to COVID.

No rent arrears are anticipated as the increase in rents is within the cap set by the Government before benefit help is reduced.

Brick by Brick. The proposed extra £10m loan to BxB will be like a bank overdraft to enable it to have the cash flow to give contractors and suppliers the reassurance they will be paid.

The Directors of BxB will be asked to amend the website to only list the 29 sites that it is hoped it will complete by October.

Residents living near other BxB sites can be assured that they will not be developed by BxB.

The final list of BxB sites is still being compiled and will be made public.

No commitment has been given that residents will be consulted on what will happen with the sites withdrawn from BxB.

Education. The lack of equipment and data to pupils for on-line learning needs to be tackled. The Director of Education will supply confidentially a list of needs.

Because schools funding comes from Government it is not affected by the financial crisis.

Scrutiny Recommendations. These were all agreed.

Croydon Park Hotel

Stuart King’s email sent to me just before the start of the Cabinet meeting states:

‘Thanks for your email and the suggestions regarding options for the future of CPH.

The recommendation that I will be moving at tonight’s cabinet meeting is to appoint real estate advisors to initially prepare a marketing strategy, that if approved will then authorise the advisor to manage the sales process at Best Consideration. Given the timescale set out in the cabinet paper and other commitments, I do not believe there is time for me personally to directly pursue the suggestions proposed, but I have passed them to the officer team and suggested they share them with the  advisors once appointed.’

Brick by Brick

Leila Ben-Hassel’s email (17 February) states:  as follows:

‘During our briefings on BxB, you advised that the list you were working with may not be accurate and that you hoped to provide a more up to date list for Cabinet. Having reviewed the papers published for cabinet, I have identified sites that may be omitted for good reason or just because they fell through the cracks. There may be others like those mentioned to you by Robert Ward but I haven’t been sighted on the ones he referred to you so my list below may not be exhaustive either.’

Alisa Flemming On Josiah Elleston-Burrell’s

Experience with OFQUAL’s Algorithm

Josiah Elleston-Burrell is a first year student at UCL, having won his place after a last minute intervention because he had been downgraded by the controversial education exam algorithm applied by OQUAL. His experience is highlighted nationally in The Guardian Long Read (Thursday 18 February). He was successful because of the networking efforts of his mother Rhianne.

I emailed the Labour Councillors as it raised issues relevant to the Education Standards report at Cabinet on Thursday night. Cabinet member Alisa Flemming responsible for children’s services inc. education replied to me and her colleagues as follows:

‘Thank you for sharing the article, whilst I welcome any questions you may wish to put forward tonight, please note that I am unable to comment on particular cases. 

As a way of reassurance, please note that I was one of the first individuals to make representations around this case, as well as representatives from the education department around this national issue.

We are happy for the successful outcome.’ 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Croydon Update 19 February

To Saturday 20 February. Random Acts of Kindness Week

Sunday 21 February. Closing date for registering for:

Monday 22 February.6.45-8.30pm. Croydon Communities Consortium Zoom On Census 2021 and other matters

Wednesday 24 February. 2pm. Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Zoom talk by Chris Harman fully illustrated with sound and video clips for Sanderstead Local History

The meeting room opens at 1.45pm for a prompt 2pm start.  The Zoom link is:

Meeting ID:    825 4452 4076

Password:      371953

Wednesday 24 February. 6pm. General Purposes & Audit Committee On-Line

Presentation on Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children

Thursday 25 February. 6pm. Planning Committee On-line

20-24 Mayday Road (pre-application); 2 – 4 Addington Road; The Sandrock, 152 Upper Shirley Road;  14 Oakwood Avenue; 930 Purley Way, Purley.

On-Line Play and Exercise

Exercise Class for Muslim Women:

Financial Crisis News

Labour suspends Tony Newman and Simon Hall

This means they will to be able to take part in Labour Group meetings, and will be independent Councillors for the time being.

Croydon Not Alone In Financial Crisis

Thornton Heath Chronicle Needs Financial Support

Thornton Heath Chronicle has been receiving record numbers of page views on its social media sites. The Editor states:

‘If every one of those tens of thousands of people had donated just £1 towards supporting The Chronicle we would have the funds to continue for five years.

Sadly, we have had no support for our survival campaign from readers since the last publication. 

The numbers of people reading The Chronicle news feeds demonstrates the desire for local news and this edition, one of our best, covers so many important and powerful issues. 

The Chronicle has always been funded on a shoestring. 

Support from Community ward budgets, which have now been axed by the council and funding from Thornton Heath Community Action Team People’s Heath Trust bid, have paid for the printing and design costs in the past. 

With barely any advertising and revenue coming in we need your support more than ever.’

To donate to The Chronicle survival campaign: 


As of 15 February there were 103 COVID patients at Croydon University Hospital, with 15 being treated in intensive care.

Geographic Analysis of COVID 11 February.

Analysis shows that Norbury East had the highest incidence of COVID cases followed by Addiscombe West and New Addington North. The other high incidence areas in declining order are: Shirley East, Broad Green & Waddon Marsh, Park Hill and Lloyd Park, Selhurst South & West Croydon, Central Croydon, South Norwood Park, Norbury West, Thornton Heath North West, Purley North, Croydon Minster & Waddon North, New Addington Central, Coulsdon and West Thornton North.

Volunteer Activity

A group of adults in full time care in Epsom and Banstead cook meals for the Croydon homeless

A Take One Leave One rail in Croydon is open every Saturday from 11am to 3pm in Croydon High Street.

Croydon Based Nurse Dies of COVID

Croydon Teachers Can Drive Through Low Traffic Areas

Ed Sheeran Buys Bus As  Ecclesbourne Primary School Music Classroom

Developers’ News

Main contractor Sir Robert McAlpine for the £350m Morello II twin tower residential development next to East Croydon station has signed up specialist groundworks and concrete contractor Mitchellson to deliver foundations and concrete frame

Work To Start On 68 storeys  228 Metres One Landsdowne Tower

The Croydon Haters

A swastika has been daubed on a building in Selsdon Wood.

Cultural News

Singing for Creativity & Wellbeing

UK Ambassador for Singing Hospitals  

Book Launch

Serena Alam of Cronx Publishing has drawn attention to this new book launched on Thursday.

Campaigning For The Elderly

National Pensioners Convention And BBC Licence Fee

Connections For All On Air

To download the slide go to

Ageism, Human Rights & Hate Crime in the UK

Age UK Calls For Re-start Of Essential Visits To Care Homes by 1 March

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why Black people should take the Covid-19 vaccine

Croydon’s anti-racist campaigner
Marc Wadsworth gets the jab

Grassroots Left Press Release

It’s been much-reported African Caribbean and Asian people have been hardest hit by Covid-19. But, despite understandable reservations based on historical cases of medical racism, campaign group Grassroots Black Left (GBL) believes this is the reason why they should get vaccinated. GBL reached agreement after it held a heart-searching Zoom debate among doctors and lay people, who were supporters and opponents of vaccination.

Although there has been justified mistrust over the government’s pronouncements throughout the pandemic, GBL accepts there is a worldwide consensus from public health bodies that vaccination plays an essential part in substantially reducing the number of people put in hospital and deaths from Covid-19 infection.

Dr Mursheda Chowdhury, convenor of GBL’s Health Workers Group, said: “Given that in the UK, people of African, Caribbean and Asian origin have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, they need access to all available measures that protect their health, including the vaccine, to fight this terrible virus.”

Sceptics: In the GBL Zoom meeting (see the attachment) Dr Bob Gill, who is a working GP, NHS campaigner, and producer of the acclaimed documentary film The Great NHS Heist, led an impassioned discussion about the Covid-19 vaccine with members of GBL’s Health Workers Group, of which he is a member. The group was initially sceptical – reflecting the “hesitancy” in Black communities. But Dr Gill swayed GBL to come to an overwhelming decision in favour of vaccination by, for instance, telling the group exactly who some of the most vocal “anti-vaxxers” were. He said “completely bogus health information” was coming from “the right-wing in the States, who are quite happy for Black people and poor people to die off”. GBL agrees with experts like him that the risks of Covid-19 infection, without the protection offered by the vaccine, far outweigh any risks posed by the vaccine itself for most adults, even though at present, because of the newness of the vaccines available, it is not yet determined for how long this immunity will last.

We accept that this will be ascertained over the next few months but believe delaying vaccination, while waiting for this data to emerge, would cost many more lives. We recommend that people with serious health conditions take advice from their GP should they have any concerns.

Pamphlets (

Dr Chowdhury said: “We have produced two pamphlets: Black People Racism and the Covid-19 Pandemic and Supporting Black Workers in Health and Social Care: A Blueprint for Action which go into more detail about the inequalities that have led to the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on marginalised communities.”

Medical racism: GBL fully acknowledges the mistrust that people from African Caribbean and Asian communities feel towards “Big Pharma”, which has a track record of not abiding by the ethical principles in research on human subjects as outlined in the Declaration of Helsinki, particularly in well-documented cases in the Global South involving Black people who have been experimented on.

Dr Chowdhury said: “The legacy of historical medical racism as well as the everyday lived experience of people experiencing racism within healthcare compound our sense of fear and mistrust. However, this vaccine is being rolled out universally in the UK and not selectively to people from so-called ‘minority communities’ and millions of people have been vaccinated in the UK and worldwide.”

GBL says, alongside vaccination, the government must ensure other Covid-safety measures, particularly in workplaces are implemented, and vaccination must not be used as a tool by employers to exploit workers.

Informed consent: The ethical principle of informed consent must be adhered to so that vaccination is voluntary and consent is based on an individual’s ability to weigh up the risks and benefits. But GBL recognises the science is complex and hence it has been easy to mislead lay people about exactly how vaccines work.

GBL recommends this video   by Dr Winston Morgan, reader in toxicology and clinical biochemistry at the University of East London, where he explains the science and discusses the pros and cons of the vaccine, so that people can feel more informed. He debunks some common misconceptions.

Young people: Even though young, healthy people are less likely to suffer severe disease, their ability to pass on the infection to the more vulnerable is why a significant proportion of the population must be vaccinated for any vaccination programme to succeed. It is normal and expected that some people will experience pain at the injection site and flu-like symptoms in the immediate aftermath of receiving the vaccine. But at most, this will only last a few days.

Migrants: GBL joins other organisations, campaigning for refugee and migrant rights, in calling for access to vaccines for all people regardless of immigration status and place of residence, including the homeless. We have produced a position statement on Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seeker (attached). GBL deplores vaccine nationalism and the race by so-called first-world countries to secure vaccine supplies at the expense of poorer countries. As this is a global pandemic, international cooperation is essential in controlling its spread. Universal access to healthcare, including the Covid-19 vaccine, is a basic human right and essential for any serious public health strategy that truly aims to reduce the adverse consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Contact: Dr Mursheda Chowdhury, GBL Health Workers Group convenor

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Croydon’s Libraries Consultation Webinars from 20 February

Please print off and display the flier below in one of your front windows and ask local shops to display it especially those with notice boards,and email it to your Croydon friends and to Croydon organisations you are members of.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Will Croydon’s New Equalities Strategy Continue Past Tokenism

The new Equalities Strategy being approved bythe Cabinet on 18 February sets out 4 clear outcomes, each with a set of 3 objectives that inform the actions that will be delivered over the course of the next four years. These outcomes and related objectives are as follows.

Outcome 1: The Council addresses social inequities as a community leader and an employer


1. The Council’s workforce reflects our diverse communities at all levels

2. The Council acts as a role model and champions a fair society

3. We ensure equality training is central to the way work, is regularly undertaken, and is reviewed to meet changing needs

Outcome 2: We work with our residents to better understand our communities


1. Continue to increase our network across seldom heard groups

2. Information about the council’s work towards tackling inequality is easy to access and understand

3. Data about local communities is more effectively collected, analysed and used to inform decisions and improve services.

Outcome 3: Use partnerships to improve access and meet individual needs as they arise


1. Enable better education outcomes by offering support to groups who need it most

2. Support the creation of jobs that enhance quality of life

3. Services are proactive in targeting groups that have accessibility issues as a result of disability, age, mental health, language, digital and/or physical barriers

Outcome 4: People in Croydon are supported to be in good health


1. Work with partners to tackle social isolation and bring people together

2. With our partners use our knowledge of specific health challenges to support improvements

3. We work with our partners to open the door to health services, and support them to make sure residents know where and how to access services


The Council has had plenty of proposed outcomes and objectives in the past across a wide range of policy areas, which it has not achieved because it has believed its own ‘Ambitious’ rhetoric, held flawed so called consultations and adopted tokenistic strategies, while pursuing economic, housing, planning and regeneration policies which have undermined their achievement, and aggravated inequalities and tensions across the Borough.

It is all very well setting out objectives that it is hoped will deliver the outcomes, but there is no sense of understanding what the priority ones should be.

Timewise Accreditation

Para 4.6.1 about the Council being Timewise accredited driving transformational change through flexible working practices seems to be in contradiction to the findings of the financial crisis reviews and the staff consultation, and the need for a major transformational change in the way the Council works.

Equalities Board

In Para. 4.7.1 it is proposed to ‘establish a board to coordinate the equality arrangements for embedding equality and managing the implementation of the strategy.’ No indication is given as to its membership. It will need to have members representing the Council trade unions, and people who are not Council staff or Councillors in order to ensure constructive critical analyse based on experience in other sectors.

The Financial Context

Para 5.1 states: ‘Given the Council’s current financial context, and the challenges that the national and local economy is facing, it is more important than ever to ensure we are delivering improved outcomes for those facing inequity and disadvantage and, that we do so in the most efficient way possible; pooling resources and expertise with partners where we can, for wider impact.’

This at least recognises that there will be severe challenges, but it raises serious questions about who the partners referred to are. Those in other public services have financial problems of their own to deal with. The small section of the community and voluntary sector which is involved in partnerships with the Council will also be under strain. Those not currently involved in partnership  will struggle to survive and not have the time or the energy to be involved in partnership with the Council. This is recognised in paras 5.2 and 5.3


The consultation on the development of the new strategy involved residents and community and voluntary groups witharound 334 participants over a three month period. (Paras 8.2 & 8.3)

There is no list of participants which will enable judgement to be made as to whether the officers were able to reach into all parts of the community, given the problems with communication during COVID, especially the need to rely on social media, which large numbers of residents are not engaged with, and which those who are the victims of inequalities often cannot afford.

External groups engaged included: BME Forum, Asian Resource Centre Croydon, Croydon Voluntary Action, Faiths Together, Croydon Drop and Legacy Zone. The figure of 203 people consulted  representing 65 organisations is stated. 65 represents a small percentage of the hundreds of community and voluntary organisations in the Borough.

  • How many of those 65 are members of more than one of the larger groups like the BME Forum and CVA?
  • How many of those other hundreds do not have the time and energy to take part in the workshops that were held or did not know about them.


The report rightly draws attention of COVID’s adverse effects on people characterised as BAME. The Grassroots Black Left has published an important analysis of this with an agenda for action which the Council should consider.

The low take up of vaccination among BAME residents is a cause of major concern. The results in terms of deaths and long-term COVID syndrome are likely to aggravate existing inequalities.

The Fallacy of Community Leadership

The Council has long fallen into the trap of believing that there are community leaders. Such people do not exist. It is an easy way of restricting consultation to a few individuals. So called community leaders are usually officers of organisations. They may represent the views of their members, if they consult them, but they cannot be said to represent a wider community.

Flawed Understanding Of ‘Community’

The concept of ‘community’ is also flawed, if not actually abused. Croydon’s residents are involved in a numerous number of broad ‘communities’ based on politics, faith, sexuality,  housing tenure, neighbourhood, district, specialist interest groups, etc. Each community is full of different perspectives and disagreements. Croydon’s ‘community’ comprises racists and anti-racists, Muslims and Islamaphobics, law abiding citizens and criminals, the socially conscience and the anti-social living in the same neighbourhoods. Consultations on equalities are likely not to be engaged with by those who accept inequalities, are not concerned about other people’s disadvantage, and are racist and Islamaphobic. Not knowing what they think means that any equalities strategy adopted by the Council is fundamentally flawed because it does not grapple with the problems of how to change the way people think.

Croydon’s ‘communities’ remain silos, with few robust interlinks, despite the many activists in trying to network across the silos.

Most residents are concentrating on dealing with the problems of their own lives, including their family and friendship networks. They do not have the time and energy and many the resources to engage actively in ‘communities’. Many spring into action when the oppose something like a planning application or the threat to a library.

There are three uncertainties as the pandemic recedes.

  • Will previous activists become involved again?
  • Will the many volunteers continue to volunteer?
  • Will the volunteers move into collective ‘community action?

What Should The Key Priorities Be?

  • Drastic Transformation

The strategy talks about the Council as role model and champion of a fair society.

Drastic transformation is needed if the Council is to be seen as a role model. This has been identified in the reviews of the financial crisis. The new Leadership has accepted, but the institutional culture of top-down, ‘we know best’, not listening and engaging, and not responding to residents raising issues is continuing.

It is a delusion that the Council can be seen as a role model, as for many people it is just another institutional enemy, especially if they are Council tenants with management and maintenance problems, those subject to social services and educational welfare intervention, or residents angered by the granting of planning applications, or who feel they are milk cows on parking charges or consider their neighbourhood is neglected.

While this relationship between many residents and local government across the country is in-built it is only with massive transformation in the way it works, can Croydon Council gain more support. It may not have enough time to change if the referendum for a directly elected Mayor triggers an election in May next year, resulting in the introduction of one person rule over which residents will have even less influence than they have had to-date.

  • Data about local communities

This has to be a key priority without which policies and service delivery are built on unstable foundations.

  • Partnerships

There is talk about the partners, but no analysis about the flawed nature of current partnerships. These need to be re-examined to ensure that:

  • every representative understands the advantages but also the tensions and contradictions
  • they do not exclude partners which will offer robust and critical analysis
  • action decisions can be taken, or that proposed actions are taken back to senior managements with a time limit on responses.
  • Otherwise indecisiveness and inertia will rule the partnerships and undermine their potential.

Workshop Actions

The report details examples of action suggestions emerging from the various workshops that were held. The outcomes and objectives do not mirror many of these. Why not?

  • Greater partnership with local business to improve employment – for young people and those with protected characteristics

· Creating employment, training and education opportunities for groups hit the hardest, prevention strategies to make them less vulnerable Housing

· Preventative strategy – tackle and address issues that lead to individuals becoming homeless such as mental health

· Providing quality housing to individuals at their time of need.

· Ensure that young people are taught life skills such as: money management, mental health, budgeting, how taxes work, healthy cooking, conflict resolution.

· Ensuring traditionally middle class jobs appeal to more young people and to support them into it via work placements, internships, apprenticeships

Helping to make sure young people feel safe in their neighbourhoods

· Holistic approach to tackling domestic violence Social isolation

· Digital inclusion for older people and those with disabilities

· Variety of channels for older people to engage and get involved in wider community Stronger communities

· Public spaces available in areas in the Borough that are highly congested – creative solutions, working with artists, schools and wider community

· Free or discounted community space to enable community groups to come together

· Mental health – examine issues that impact on mental health e.g. environment – get community involved in improving green spaces

· To increase support for those less physically able to access certain areas of the community Council as a service provider

· Ensure protected characteristics are represented during decision making.

· To increase awareness amongst staff regarding dealings and communications with residents tailored to their needs. – Improving accessibility to services and not limited to online services

· Challenging institutional racism in wider society and raising positive profile of younger people especially BAME

· Over-policing of young people – Helping to facilitate better relationships between the police and young people Council as an employer

· Career progression – equality of opportunities particularly for BAME and staff with disabilities across all levels

· Ensure there is a more diverse range of managers with decision making responsibility

So the outcomes and objectives seem to show that the consultation had not major effect on officer thinking – tokenism again.

Should The Adoption Of The New Strategy Be Deferred?

I have written to the Cabinet requesting them to consider deferring adoption of the new strategy because it:

  • minimises the highly critical nature of the LGA’s recommendations which reinforce other reviews findings re-governance and monitoring, and in relation contains a critique which suggests ‘institutional racism’;
  • contains fallacies regarding the Council as ‘role model’ and ’champion of a fair society’, and ‘community leadership’;
  • totally misunderstands the nature of ‘community’;
  • avoids analysing the flawed nature of current partnerships;
  • is based on a totally inadequate consultation that failed to reach into the hundreds of community and voluntary organisations, and favoured those easiest to reach, especially those in the CVA and BME Forum;
  • does not include in the Equalities Analysis Form (Appendix 5) the many suggestions made in the various workshops;
  • does not discuss the role of the Council’s workforce trade unions;
  • fails to suggest key priorities for implementing the Outcomes and Objectives.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

LGA Highly Critical Of Croydon’s Equalities Strategy

The Local Government Association LGA) has been highly critical of the Council’s Equality Strategy.

In November 2019 the Council asked the LGA  to conduct an Equality Peer Challenge against the “Achieving” level of the. The Council undertook a self-assessment against five performance criteria:

· Knowing your communities

· Leadership, partnership and organisational commitment

· Involving your communities

· Responsive services and customer care

· A skilled and committed workforce

Amazingly the Council satisfied the criteria for the achieving the level of the Equality Framework for Local Government that the Council agreed to be assessed at. It is an unbelievable outcome, because the LGA’s recommendations to improve equality outcomes are implicitly a damning critique of the Council’s governance and the need for more openness and transparency, with a suggestion of institutional racism.

LGA Recommendations

  • Ensure that any new systems capture all the protected characteristic data of service users and the community.
  • Consider how to provide all staff with the skills and confidence to collect and interpret protected characteristic data and understand the importance of that data.
  • Enable the data teams to share equalities data with service teams so that there is a greater focus on equality impact and need in these discussions.

Comment: The Council should already have been doing this, especially in relation to data. The failure to do so shows how inadequate the Council’s systems were, as highlighted in several of the reviews of the financial crisis. The importance of data teams poses a challenge of how these are to be funded under the proposed dramatically reduced budget, and the staffing implications.

Leadership, partnership and organisational commitment

  • Consider establishing a service level steering group (constituted with Assistant Directors) to ensure that services have equality at the forefront of their work when developing and delivering their service plans.
  • Strengthen scrutiny on equality more generally by making one of the existing scrutiny committees responsible for monitoring the outcomes of the equality strategy and achievement of its objectives.
  • Consider how the council can assess outcomes for contracts in excess of £100,000 using equality metrics as well as contract monitoring in relation to collecting equality information and providing equality training for staff.
  • There is a need for consistency across the organisation and support to ensure this is happening.
  • Review the level of resourcing for the corporate equality function to provide some support for the one equality officer.
  • Increased organisational capacity would also help to improve EIA monitoring within services.

Comment. Another set of damning recommendations highlighting the current inadequacies of the way the Council has operated.

Involving your communities

  • Ensure that all consultations have an EIA. This is important due to potential legal implications relating to meeting PSED and Gunning Principles.
  • The organisation should also monitor participation on consultation so that they know which communities are not engaging.
  • Develop links with smaller communities in the borough to provide better understanding of their needs when developing services.
  • Ensure that communities and service users are informed of the outcomes of consultations.
  • Develop some criteria for what community budgets should be spent on to ensure that projects are contributing to the Council’s own strategies and meeting the most need in the borough.

Comment. These recommendations are partially in line with the many criticisms of the tokenistic consultation exercises carried out by both political administrations in the past.

Responsive services and customer care

  • Increase the focus on the equality outcomes of service delivery.
  • Service delivery plans do set out how their services will contribute to the corporate plan and the equality objectives.
  • However, services should not lose sight of the outcomes and the difference that is actually being made.
  • Consider auditing access to services across the borough to ensure that those outside the areas where services have been prioritised are enjoying the levels of access they require. This would include the south of the borough.
  • Enhance opportunities for greater communication between staff in different departments. This would allow for more sharing of and access to information, (within the boundaries of GDPR) to improve the customer experience.
  • Review the opening hours of the Contact Centre as they may not be responsive enough to all customer needs.

Comment. These recommendations are yet another indictment of the way the Council has worked in the past. The only answer to properly integrate service delivery is to abandon centralised silo departments in favour of multi-disciplinary staff neighbourhood/district teams, supported by small centralised teams providing specialist advice and undertaking the comparative monitoring of each neighbourhood/district team. The geographic based teams should be accountable to decision making area committees of ward Councillors and representatives of locally based community, neighbourhood, residents and voluntary organisations.

A skilled and committed workforce

  • Undertake further investigation into the reasons why black male employees are still not progressing in the organisation at the same rate as their female counterparts and why BAME staff are over represented in the lowest quadrants of the appraisal results.
  • Consider ways to increase staff awareness of the council’s equality objectives, possibly through the service planning process and internal communication via the intranet, team briefings and staff noticeboards.
  • Address the inconsistencies in the way HR policies such as sickness, lateness, training opportunities, performance management and reasonable adjustments are being applied by some managers across the organisation.
  • Ensure that frontline staff are able to attend staff networks, perhaps by giving more early warning about dates of meetings/events to help staff plan their attendance. Increase the opportunities for joint working between networks.
  • Review the use of translators and interpreters to ensure that the Council is using the most cost effective ways of providing these services.

Comment. More indictment of the failure of the Council which has claimed to be committed to equalities for several years past. They link to the views expressed by many staff in the consultation over the financial crisis, and in the inadequacies of management identified in reviews of the crisis.

For the full document see:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Extent of Inequalities and Hate In Croydon

The equalities strategy report to the Cabinet on 18 February provides a useful up-date on the growth of inequalities and hate crimes in Croydon. However, there are a number of indicators that have not been provided, possibly because the statistics are not yet available because of the COVID pandemic, such as:

  • Number of working residents furloughed or made redundant
  • Number of workers in Croydon living elsewhere who have been furloughed or made redundant
  • Number of new jobs created in Croydon during the pandemic
  • Increase in Universal Credit claims
  • Increase in Council Tax and housing rent debt
  • Number of businesses (by sector) which have been wound up/gone bankrupt


The borough population was recorded in Census 2001 was 330,587 and in the 2011 Census it was 363,378. Based on Office of National Statistics mid-year estimates, 2017, Croydon is home to 384,837 people and this is expected to increase to just under 500,000 by 2050.


The deprivation challenges include income, health, education and housing. ‘There remains geographic inequality in the distribution of deprivation in the borough with the North and East of the borough remaining more deprived.’


Croydon is ‘the 97th most deprived local authority out of the 317 lower tier authority districts in England or 73rd out of 151 upper tier authorities. Croydon is ranked 18th most deprived out of 33 London boroughs.’

18.6% of the 220 LSOAs (small areas within wards) ‘are in the top 20% most deprived LSOAs in the country’ and are mainly in the north and east of the Borough. ‘One neighbourhood area in the ward of West Thornton is in the top 5% most deprived areas in the country.’


Croydon is ‘the 143rd most deprived LSOA out of the 317 lower tier districts or 87th out of 151 upper tier districts. Croydon is 15th most deprived out of 33 London boroughs.’

In terms of employment only 2 (1%) of LSOAs, less are in the 5%-10% most deprived areas in England. ‘These 2 areas are located within the wards of West Thornton and New Addington South.’

‘The proportion of out of work claimants has risen by around 5% since March 2020 – directly as a result of the impact of the Covid19 pandemic on the economy.’

‘There has been a huge increase in unemployment for 18-24 year olds and 50- 64 year olds since April 2020

Education, skills and training

‘Croydon is in the bottom third of local authorities in the country under this domain; the average score for the borough was 15.577 making it the 220th most deprived borough out of the 317 lower tier districts or 117th out of 151 upper tier authorities. Croydon is 12th most deprived out of 33 London boroughs.’

Educational Attainment

‘There are just 3 LSOAs in the top 5%-10% most deprived areas in the country and these areas are in the East of the borough with known historic issues around lower average attainment scores for pupils and a higher proportion of adults with no qualifications. The take up of funded hours in Early Years settings in Croydon is still below regional and national averages.’

‘The proportion of children achieving grades AAB or above at Key Stage 5 is much lower than the national and regional averages’

‘Since 2015 at local, regional and national levels there has been a lower proportion of children from Black backgrounds achieving Attainment 8 scores’

‘Like with England as a whole Black Caribbean pupils in Croydon have the greatest level of disproportionately when it comes to exclusion from school.’

Health deprivation and disability

Croydon is ‘the 165th most deprived lower tier authority out of the 317 or 95th out of 151 upper tier authorities. Croydon is 13th most deprived out of 33 London boroughs.’

The most deprived areas in Croydon in this domain are in the centre of Croydon, and in the East of the borough. These areas scored highly across each of the measures used for this domain.’

Living Environment

‘The living environment domain looks at both the indoor and outdoor living environments. The indoor living environment is based on the proportion of houses without central heating and the proportion of houses that are in poor condition. The outdoor living environment looks at air quality and road traffic accidents that cause injury to pedestrians and cyclists.’

‘The most deprived areas for this domain are predominantly located in the centre of the borough.’

Income Deprivation Affecting Children

‘The North and East of the borough are relatively more deprived than the South West of the borough. There is a southernmost area in the borough which is within the new Old Coulsdon ward, (formerly Coulsdon East), which scores high on income deprivation affecting children.’

Income Deprivation Affecting Older People

‘In Croydon 17% of older people were income deprived. This puts Croydon in the top third most deprived areas for this domain. These are predominantly in the North of the borough, with a few in the East.


‘The most common reasons for homelessness is parental evictions, exclusions by relatives and friends and relationship breakdowns.’

‘Latest figures for 2019/2020 show that more than half (56%) of homeless people in Croydon are in the 25-44 years age band.’

‘Over the years, by far the highest proportion of accepted homeless households in Croydon have been made up of lone parents with dependent children.’

‘There has been a disproportionately high percentage of homeless people from the Black community, both currently and historically.’

Community Safety

The ‘total number of hate crimes has been increasing year on year over the past 3 years.’

‘The majority of reported hate crimes in Croydon have been racist and then homophobic’.

Race Hate Crimes

The number continues ‘to increase every year. The first 6 months of the current financial year indicates that the upward trend is likely to continue and the year-end position is likely to show the highest number of racist hate crimes for 4 years. The average monthly number is 723 so far this year compared to only 585 per month over the previous 36 months.’

Disability Hate Crime

‘The number … has averaged around 18 per month over the previous 24 months. Since April 2020, the average rate has been 26 per month which is significant ‘even though the actual numbers are low.’

Faith Hate Crime

The number ‘had been falling in Croydon during the 2018/2019 period. The first half of the 2019/2020 year continued this downward trend until the last 5 months when the numbers rose again. …. (T)hese crimes have gone back to the 2018/2019 levels but the trend line suggests that they may reduce in the coming months to year-end.’

Anti-Semitic Hate Crimes and BREXIT

‘(E)ven though supposedly concluded,’ BREXIT ‘still continues to contribute to the presence of extremist groups and this, in turn, has contributed to a rise in the number of anti-semitic incidents reported to the Police.

Homophobic Hate Crimes

‘In Croydon, there continues to be a year on year increase in sexual orientation (homophobic) hate crime’ reported to the police. ‘The figures have risen from a base of around 20-30 crimes in 2012/2013 to an average monthly figure of 67 per month over the 3 years 2017/2018 to 2019/2020. For the first 6 months of 2020/2021, the monthly average is 104.’

Transgender Hate Crimes

There has been ‘an increase in the number ‘particularly over the last financial year ending 31. March 2020….. (F)or the first half-year of the current 2020/2021 financial year there is a downward trend for the first time in 3 years.’


My discussion on The Geography of Inequalities can be seen here:

Note. This posting can be printed here:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

History Events & News 14 February

Sunday 14 February. 6pm. The Return of Nature: Socialism and Ecology

Zoom talk by John Bellamy Foster on his book, in which he uncovers a long history of efforts to unite issues of social justice and environmental sustainability that will help us comprehend and counter today’s unprecedented planetary emergencies.’

Register here:

Monday 15 February. The Glamour Boys.

Chris Bryant MP on the early 1930s group of young, gay British MPs visiting Berlin. ‘Having witnessed the Nazis’ brutality first-hand, these men were some of the first to warn Britain about Hitler. Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain hated them, branding them ‘the glamour boys’ to insinuate something untoward about them. He had their phones tapped and threatened them with deselection and exposure. At a time when even the suggestion of homosexuality could land you in prison, the bravery these men were forced to show in their personal lives gave them extraordinary courage in public.

Zoom meeting; contact  at least 24 hours in advance

Monday 15 February. 7pm (US time). Songs of Freedom: Musician and Activist Paul Robeson

Friday 19 February. 11am.Britain’s Fascist Thread. BBC Radio 4

Part 1 of 3 episodes in which the historian Camilla Schofield charts a century of British fascism.

Sunday 21 February. 7.30-8.30pm. Chineke! Duos

Online African Concert Series from London’s Africa Centre.

Tuesday 23 February. 12.30-1pm. British Encounters With Indigenous Slavery At Nootka Sound

Thursday 25 February. 6.30pm.Bishopsgate Institute’s Collections on LGBTQ+ history, politics and culture in the UK.

Zoom talk by Stef Dickers, Special Collections and Archive 

Register to attend here

Meeting ID: 845 3609 9182

Passcode: 596066

Sunday 28 February. Chineke! Chamber Ensemble

Tuesday 2 March. 8-9pm. On the Street where you Live: two hundred years of Dulwich radicalism

On-line talk by Duncan Bowie. For more details and to book see:

Museums, Statues & Culture Debate

London Mayor Sets Up Diversity Public Realm Commission

Why are none of our London based historians of Black Britain members?

David Olusoga rejects ‘nonsense’ over keeping statues

‘Public reckoning’ in mass removal of statues

The Guardian. 30 January.

Monuments. Donmar Local Project In Westminster

New Black History Resources

Dr Harold Moody

Stephen Bourne’s eBook (Key Stage 2)

Live Lesson on Equality, Representation and the Census

David Olusoga. Inc. focus on the Lascars.

See also report in The Guardian 3 February

Britain’s Slavery Heritage

John Snow’s 8 February interview with David Olusoga

Empire And Class, Shaping Britain

BBC Radio 4 discussion by Sathnam Sanghera, Selina Todd and Anthony Anaxagorou.ine mode

Sanghera’s book Empire land and Slave Empire by Padraic X Scanlan

Reviewed  The Guardian 29 January

Enslavement In The Black Atlantic

Rembrandt, Art and Slavery

The Guardian 9 February

US Progressive Patriots

Joe Hill Archive

Woody Guthrie And This Land Is Our Land

Cicely Tyson, Pioneering actress. Obituary

and in The Guardian 1 February

Paul Robeson

CNN wrong to compare Communists to Trump’s coup plotters

Black Lives In The UK

Shankar Abaji Bhisey

19thC pioneering Indian inventor of the 19th Century who dazzled London

Amanda Aldridge

Mohan Singh Dhamrait

Black Police Officers Experience Of Racism

The Guardian 8 February

1,000 Young Men Removed From Gang Database

The Guardian 3 February

Jackie Kay on Bessie Smith

The Guardian 8 February

John Holder, Cricket Umpire

The Guardian Sport 13 February

Ministers Pledge To Crack Down on Racism Online

The Guardian 1 February

Chi-chi Nwanoku On Saturday Live 13 February

It can be listened to after broadcast.

Other Items

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

New biography by Fiona Sampson (Profile). In her discussion the author in The Guardian Review (13 February), the author discusses how Browning coped with isolation and bubble due to her respiratory illnesses. She mentions her The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim’s Point published in an abolitionist fundraiser in 1848. It will be interesting to see how much background the biography contains relating to her father Edward Moulton Barrett’s  enslaver family background in Jamaica plantation background, and her grandfather John Graham Clark, the eminence grilse of Tyneside and enslaver owner of Jamaican plantations.

The British Victorians who became Muslims

1798 Irish Rebellion

North West History Journal No. 45

Password: QGn56jUgt

Palestinian Owner of Quartet Books Dies

Naim Attallah’s obituary is  in The Guardian of 11 February.

When I ran Battersea Labour Party Booksales in 1980s Quartet Books titles were an important section of the stock, but almost all of them have not been reprinted. Current Quartet Books of interest include

Victor Grayson: The Man and the Mystery. David Clark (revised updated edition)

From a Girl to a Man: How Laura Became Michael. Liz Hodgkinson.

Dion Boucicault.  Richard Fawkes (re-print – of particular personal interest as DB was a member of the Irish branch of my maternal grandmother’s family. He was US anti-slavery and played an important role in Lambeth’s cultural history.

Memoirs of a Minor Public Figure. Des Wilson who worked for Shelter

The Legend of Elizabeth Siddal and Pre-Raphelite Sisters (re-print). Jan Marsh. Many readers will know Jan’s work as a curator at the National Portrait Gallery on images of people of African heritage in art. See her blog site at

London History

Lost London

New book by Victor Keegan reviewed

Since ‘the erection and moving of statues is part of London’s real history Keegan recommends the carting-off to a place of contextual explanation of the big statue of Clive next to the Foreign Office, and his replacement by a less pompous memorial to the former slave and man of letters, Ignatius Sancho, who, Keegan reminds us “actually lived in the street”.

It refers to Brixton and Shirley windmills.

Red Metropolis 

Owen Hatherley’s new book is reviewed at:

Doing the Lambeth Walk

Note. This posting can be printed off here:

See Stuart Hall Foundation website
A few weeks left to assess its importance
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment