The Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex (PFCC) Roger Hirst hosted a public meeting at the civic offices on Monday 20 December hearing resident’s views on crime in the district.
Watch the webcast
Working with you to keep our community safe
The public meeting gave residents a chance to hear from the police first-hand about budgets, current successes and where improvement is needed.
Safer, Greener and Transport portfolio holder Councillor Sam Kane said “It was so encouraging to see residents engaging with the Commissioner. The Epping Forest District has a strong sense of community which is demonstrated by the way we tackle these issues together, working with the police not against them.
“Our safer community’s team work closely with the Police and other agencies helping find actions to address your concerns. I look forward to seeing our working relationship grow, working with the Police, the Commissioner and our residents to keep our community safe”
Do you own a small business in the district and want to learn more from the big companies? Then join us at our free ‘meet the buyer’ event on Thursday 23 November.
Sponsored by the Marriot Hotel and organised in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, ‘meet they buyer’ aims to put local small and medium sized companies together with some of the biggest buyers in and around the district.
Local businesses will have the opportunity to hear first-hand how these big organisations buy goods and services, and meet key people with roles in procurement in these organisations.
The day will involve a series of short presentations from key buying organisations and the opportunities for questions and answer followed by time for networking.
Public Health England
Waltham Abbey Marriott Hotel
Essex County Council
Epping Forest District Council
Bringing buyers and sellers together
Economic Development Portfolio Holder for Epping Forest District Council, Councillor Anne Grigg said: “This is a really important event. All the organisations we work with are keen to buy more locally, and all our local companies are keen to sell. The event is all about bringing the buyers and sellers together, explaining how procurement systems work, and hopefully enabling local companies to get more business from major organisations.”
Chairman of the Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce John Price said: “Many of our small to medium size businesses struggle to manage with the growing trend of people buying products and services outside our district. Buying locally has always been supported by the Chamber whenever possible. Attending businesses will have the chance to meet and discuss opportunities available to them. This could be anything from IT, cleaning services, design, products or others. It will be a good chance to meet fellow businesses in our district as there will be ample opportunities to network.”
There are signs of improvement in services provided by Whipps Cross Hospital. Part of the Barts Health NHS Trust, the hospital has been in special measures following poor Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspections. A presentation to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee of Epping Forest District Council following the latest CQC inspections in May suggest the hospital has improved from ‘inadequate’ to ‘overall requires improvement’. However, as one first-hand account of patient care at the end of the presentation demonstrated, there is still some way to go.
Dr Heather Noble – Medical Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Alan Gurney – Managing Director, Whipps Cross Hospital
Signs of improvement at hospital trust
Alan Gurney, Managing Director said that any further CQC inspections today would see more improvements. However, he added that the condition of operating theatres was still a cause for concern. Investment in theatre refurbishments is scheduled for next year.
The CQC has seen an increase in the quality of the working environment and culture of the hospital. Bullying was previously identified as a major issue with high turnover of staff and heavy reliance on agency support. Significant improvements have been made in these areas. The hospital is also old. Many of its buildings pre-date the creation of the NHS. Investment is needed in new buildings.
Dr Heather Noble assured Councillor Steven Neville that issues around radiation exposure to staff had been resolved. Councillor David Stallan received assurances that Alan Gurney had no plans to relocate Whipps Cross, although the hospital is on a large site and could potentially operate from a smaller footprint.
Councillor Roger Baldwin asked about bed-blocking and capacity. Alan Gurney used the phrase ‘delayed discharge’ for which he had 11 cases at that moment. He assured councillors that he was working with partners to reduce discharge delays. No bed spaces had been closed this year and Mr Gurney considered it to be a lesser challenge than some other issues facing the hospital.
Councillors Mitchell and Sartin received further information in response to questions about bullying. Councillor Chambers explored the depth of hospital planning for the winter. Alan Gurney confirmed additional investment in building work and weekend cover arrangements to enhance winter cover. There is also additional ‘step-down’ coverage and coordination with partners in the ambulance service and care homes. The staff flu vaccination campaign is part of steps to prepare staff for the winter season.
Councillor David Wixley followed up on the issues of bullying and culture. Councillor Nigel Bedford focused on staff retention and reusing the defunct nursing home for other purposes. Alan Gurney provided assurance that recruitment and retention improvements are ongoing. He also felt that the site had plenty of capacity for development including accommodation for staff.
Responding to Councillor Gagan Mohindra, Dr Noble said that the Council could provide support by communicating the message about the need for redevelopment of outdated buildings.
Developing staffs careers
Dr Noble emphasised that managers as such ‘were not bad’ after Alan Gurney described how Whipps Cross was focusing on continual recruitment of nurses and a requirement for more doctors.
Dr Noble said that further work was needed in developing career and employment links with local schools and colleges. Responding to Councillor Holly Whitbread, she described good examples of work in Newham which could be adopted for Whipps Cross.
Mortuary facilities are old and in need of replacement but Dr Noble assured Councillor Bedford that the dignity of the deceased and care for the bereaved was a high priority.
Responding to Councillor Baldwin, Alan Gurney said that it would be wrong to say the use of Private Finance Initiative funding (PFI) was not an option but he added that there was no appetite for it.
Dementia care is also a priority. Responding to Councillor Aniket Patel, Dr Noble outlined some of the programmes including Dementia Friends and creating clinical areas more dementia ‘friendly’. Alan Gurney added that with the focus on older patients, dementia care was critical.
Councillor Mary Sartin, chairman of Overview and Scrutiny thanked Mr Gurney and Dr Noble, concluding questions with reference to the caring and compassionate approach of staff recognised in the latest CQC report.
Learning from the past
Mr Gurney and Dr Noble were invited to stay at the end of their presentation questions for a statement by a local resident. Janis Crowder gave an emotional account of her mother’s poor experience as a patient of Whipps Cross last year. Accepting improvements have since been made, Ms Crowder felt it was important to explain to hospital managers the difficulties and inadequacies of her mother’s care.
Transport for London managers have agreed to attend the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee to discuss various public transport issues in January. Essex County Council is also to be invited to attend the Neighbourhoods Select Committee to discuss County bus services.
Epping Forest College 27 February 2018
Committee councillors also noted the scheduled attendance of the Principal of Epping Forest College at the meeting of Overview and Scrutiny on 27 February 2018.
6 local community and voluntary groups have been awarded £12,840 in grants helping the district’s social and physical wellbeing.
Hertfordshire Boat Rescue £830 for radio equipment for use by volunteers on rescue missions and events
Playground at Theydon Association (PAT) £5,000 contribution towards the refurbishment of the Theydon Bois playground
Fyfield Bridge Club £1,200 contribution towards the cost of new scoring equipment for the club
Ongar & Villages Voluntary Care £1,770 to support their transporting service which supports older people
Loughton Voluntary Care £1,540 to support their transporting service which supports older people
Fyfield Village Hall £5,000 contribution towards the refurbishment of the gentleman’s toilets and cloakroom
Keeping our communities thriving
Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder Councillor Helen Kane said: “Our grants go on to help such a wide variety of people throughout our community, giving our parents and children a social place to be active in new playgrounds, to giving our older resident’s opportunities to get out of the house and gain more independence with Loughton’s voluntary care community transport service.”
“I am proud that these grants are actively helping people in our district, giving much needed and valued services the boost they need to go on and keep our communities thriving. Can you think of a community group or voluntary service that could use a cash boost? Don’t delay, apply now.”
Apply for a £5k grant
If your community group could use up to £5,000 to help with your one-off project, initiative or even the further development of an existing scheme, apply now.
Ms Paula Callaway of Dunmow Essex has been given a 12 month suspend sentence and 150 hours community service after being found guilty of 2 counts of Social Housing fraud.
Subletting council property
Paula Callaway became a tenant of Moat Housing housing association in 1999. The tenancy agreement required Ms Callaway to live at the property 49 Ravenoak Way Chigwell as her main home and not to sublet it without prior written permission.
In November 2011 Paula Callaway sought permission to carry out a mutual exchange with the tenant of a one bedroom flat Council property at 9 Felstead Road Loughton.
Reasons given for requesting the exchange was that Ms Callaway wished to downsize following her children leaving home. The mutual exchange was approved and took place in January 2012.
Confidential fraud hotline
Following a report to the Council’s confidential fraud hotline officers launched an investigation which revealed that Paula Callaway had purchased a three bedroom new build property and had been living in Dunmow since October 2009, whilst still claiming to be a tenant at Ravenoak Way, Chigwell.
Ms Callaway had not informed Moat Housing that she had moved out and had left her son at that property and also rented out to property to at least another five people.
The mutual exchange was therefore fraudulent and the reasons given false.
Further fraudulent activity
At trial it transpired that the tenant Ms Callaway carried out the mutual exchange with was her sister in law and the real reason for wanting to exchange was that her sister in law wanted to move to a three bedroom property.
Having then gained the tenancy of the one bedroom flat 9 Felstead Road, Callaway then illegally sublet it again. She moved in two individuals from Ravenoak Way into 9 Felstead Road, whilst still living in her own property in Great Dunmow, acting as the landlord for the 2 council owned properties.
Depriving families of a home
After a five day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court Ms. Callaway was found guilty of 2 offences relating to Social Housing fraud. Having previously pleaded guilty to the criminal offence of dishonestly subletting a property, she was sentenced with a 12 month suspended sentence on both counts of fraud, 150 hours community service and a victim surcharge.
The Judge stated: “You were given social housing once you had bought a home of your own. There is chronic shortage of social homes and you deprived a family from living in a home for six years. This went on far too long. It went on but you must know what you did was wrong.”
Fraudsters cheat us all
Finance Portfolio Holder Councillor Gagan Mohindra said: “Fraud affects everyone. Money stolen by housing tenancy fraud, council tax fraud or business rates fraud is depriving our public services of the vital resources they need.”
“Please tell us if you suspect someone is committing fraud by filling in our online form or by calling our fraud investigation team”
You can report anonymously and don’t have to give your name or contact details unless you want to.
Epping Forest District Council’s Citizen of the Year Awards recognises people in the community who go above and beyond and make positive changes in our district.
If you know an individual or a team who make a real difference nominate them for
Citizen of the Year
Team of the Year
Highlighting positive work
Chairman David Stallan said: ‘The Citizen of the Year award is a great event, highlighting the positive work that goes on throughout the district. There are people among us who go above and beyond, making positive contributions to our society.’
‘If there’s an individual or group who springs to mind, now is your time to nominate them for a Civic Award.’
With the colder months closing in it’s time to prepare with our ‘stay well this winter’ events.
Time to prepare is now
Our free stay well this winter events in partnership with West Essex Clinical Commissioning group provide the best health care information with talks from professionals and community groups highlighting the great services available to you this winter.
They day includes informative talks from
Specialist health advisors
Stands from health and community professionals including
EFDC Housing team
Essex Road Safety
Essex Fire Service
You will also receive a free lunch and goodie bag.
Tuesday 3 October
10 am – 2pm
Waltham Abbey Town Hall
High bridge Street
Wednesday 25 October
10am – 2pm
Theydon Bois Village Hall
Friday 10 November
10am – 2pm
26 Station Way
Booking is required, call 01992 564226 to confirm your place.
If you passionate about making your local museum for everyone and would you like to help make the museum’s programme and collection more representative of all local residents, why not join our focus groups.
‘No Borders’ project
As part of the ground-breaking ‘No Borders’ project we are looking for local residents to take part in 2 new focus groups this summer. We want to involve the local community in ensuring the work of the museum is accessible and relevant to all local people.
This project aims to support the 3 museums to develop sustainable, inspiring services for the future. Attracting new and more diverse audiences and increasing accessibility for all is an important part of this work.
Museum access focus group
This focus group will look at issues surrounding access to the museum’s services, including physical, sensory and intellectual access. If you live in the Epping Forest district and have a disability or represent / work with residents with additional needs, and would like to help us improve access for all, please get in touch.
The second focus group will look at bringing together Epping Forest district residents who define themselves as being of black, Asian or minority ethnic background. This focus group will help the museum ensure future exhibitions, events and the objects collected reflect the diversity of local residents.
There will be 2 focus groups. Each will last approximately 2 hours. Before meeting you will be sent the current museum events programme and pre-visit information to look through. All participants will receive a £15 ‘Love2Shop’ voucher to say thank you for your time.
Please register your interest by Friday 26 May 2017. The dates for the focus group to be confirmed
The groups will meet at Epping Forest District Museum, 39–41 Sun Street, Waltham Abbey, EN9 1EL
Register your interest
When you contact the museum, please let us know which focus group you would like to attend, your preferred contact method and availability.
To help raise awareness for Dementia Awareness Week (14 – 20 May 2017), we are launching the first of our 8 dementia friends sessions on Tuesday 16 May at Waltham Abbey Library and we would like you to join us!
Click on an image to begin the slideshow
Become a dementia friend
We are calling on local businesses, community groups and individuals to attend one of our events and become a dementia friend.
Small ways to help
Each session is focuses on learning more about what it is like to live with dementia, helping you understand the small ways you can help and make life easier for those living with dementia in your community.
Each session lasts for an hour and will be provided at the following Essex County Council Libraries
Stay well this winter events took place across the district, advising residents on how to prepare for colder months.
Preparing for cold weather
Epping Forest District Council and NHS West Essex Clinical Commissioning Group bought together professionals from across West Essex aiming to advise the elderly on how to prepare for winter, promoting available services and how to practising good self-care.
The roadshows speakers gave information on selecting the correct services. Including how to prepare you in case of an emergency, tips on keeping in good health and how to manage health conditions.
Councillor Helen Kane Leisure and Community Portfolio Holder said: “Events like this showcase emphasise the range of services we have available in West Essex, and prove that there is help available if needed.”
“The stay well this winter events also highlight the importance of good self-care and how vital is to be prepared in staying well and making sure you’re ready for any kind of emergency you may face, not only in winter but all year round.”
“It’s great to see services across West Essex coming together and working in partnership, looking out for our community’s safety and wellbeing.”
For more information on how to stay well please visit