APPLEBY FAILS TO FIND LAMBETH CULPRITS 4 August, 1995 
Elizabeth Appleby QC’s report into Lambeth LBC, published last Friday, has failed to name a single employee or council member responsible for corruption and mismanagement. The report took two years to complete at a cost of £250,000.
Chief executive Heather Rabbatts said details collected during the investigation were
insufficient to prosecute employees and were being held in Ms Appleby’s chambers.
Ms Rabbatts, referring to widely reported claims about staff, said: ‘You can’t tell fact
from fiction in Lambeth. The problem isn’t porn rings or freemasonry, it’s about mistrust
There is no attempt in the report to estimate the money lost through incompetence and
fraud over the past decade.
Ms Appleby recommends improvements in management, recruitment and accounting. There are still deep-rooted problems with procedures and staff, she believes.
Among a catalogue of problems which remain is £20 million of unlawful spending by the
highways and maintenance department, which failed to tender contracts, and £200m tax and rent arrears.
Of 400-500 staff suspected of benefits fraud, only 100 have been disciplined.
In the report Ms Appleby raises concern about the housing and building maintenance
directorates. ‘Mismanagement, lack of records and careless or non-existent supervision
helped to create the perfect atmosphere for abuse of the system,’ she writes. Records were
so poorly kept that it would be ‘very difficult to know or identify a dishonest employee
or dishonest contractor’.
The legal department is criticised for failing to stop the use of urgency procedures to
rush through building contracts and secure additional funds. In May Ms Rabbatts cut the
use of the procedure from nearly once a week to once a month. But she told LGC: ‘It is a
long way from perfection.’
Ms Rabbatts said Lambeth had suffered from too many investigations and too little effort
implementing their findings. Ms Appleby’s report adds little to the findings of 15 other
investigations which have taken place since she began hers in 1993.
Ms Appleby said: ‘The fact that the recommendations have not been implemented, and in some areas ignored, is totally unjustified. The blame for this omission must lie not only at
the feet of the officers but also the members in office at the time.’
Eight Labour members, including group leader Jim Dickson, have been serving since 1991.
Liberal Democrat leader Mike Tuffrey called for Mr Dickson to resign and for the district
auditor to investigate the two-year appointment and departure of the former chief
executive, Henry Gilby.
The report criticises unions for exerting too much pressure on the Labour administrations
since 1979. Lambeth Unison branch secretary Nick Venedi said: ‘This is unhelpful and undermines the credibility of the report and its author.’
Please note that victims of abuse may be triggered by reading this information. The Sanctuary for the Abused [A] has advice on how to prevent triggers. National Association for People Abused in Childhood [B] has a freephone helpline and has links to local support groups. Other useful sites are One in Four [C] and Havoca [D]. Useful post on Triggers [E] from SurvivorsJustice [F] blog. Jim Hoppers pages on Mindfulness [G] and Meditation [H] may be useful.
 Cathy Fox Blog 2015 May 8 [constantly updated] An Index / Timeline of Court Appeal Documents on Cathy Fox Blog https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/a-timeline-of-court-and-ewca-documentation-on-cathy-fox-blog/
 1995 Aug 4 Local Government Chronicle Appleby Fails to Find Lambeth Culprits http://www.lgcplus.com/appleby-fails-to-find-lambeth-culprits/1587127.article
 Cathy Fox Blog Lambeth Part 2 – Loose Ends in Lambeth on Child Sexual Abuse https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2013/11/22/lambeth-part-2-loose-ends-in-lambeth-on-child-sexual-abuse/
 2015 Aug 19 Cathy Fox Blog Lambeth Abuse and Corruption Reports https://cathyfox.wordpress.com/2015/08/19/lambeth-abuse-and-corruption-reports/
[A] Sanctuary for the Abused http://abusesanctuary.blogspot.co.uk/2006/07/for-survivors-coping-with-triggers-if.html
[E] SurvivorsJustice Triggers post http://survivorsjustice.com/2014/02/26/triggers-what-are-they-and-how-do-we-work-through-them/
This is all written in good faith but if there is anything that needs to be corrected please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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