The lengthy and complex process of determining the allocation of the MOPAC funding for project groups is finally almost complete.  The monies have been received from MOPAC and the four further project teams will receive their shares very shortly, once adjusted timescales for delivery have been agreed.  Our Treasurer will brief the Board on the details later in the meeting.  Monitoring will continue, but the Board and your officer team will now be able to concentrate on the many other aspects of our purpose which have previously been subordinated to the pressing need to meet MOPAC’s tight deadlines.  Members will wish to be aware that a complaint about the allocation process was made to Stella Creasey MP and to Chris Robbins, Leader of the Council.  However, Ms Creasy has not contacted us about this, and after consultation Mr. Robbins has referred the complainant to MOPAC; nothing further has been heard.  Elsewhere, our allocation process has been circulated to other London SNBs as a model of good practice, and we look forward to hearing of successful outcomes from the project teams.

Nevertheless, my own view of the role and purpose of the Board includes the important function of holding our local police team to account on addressing crime in our Borough. You will shortly hear from our new Borough Commander on issues referred to him in the light of the “data pack” supplied to us by MOPAC’s analysts, and this process has been a part of each of our meetings so far.  One area which has been examined in this process is the issue of Stop & Search, and I’ve been the guest of our Stop & Search Chair at our local monitoring group meeting, at a London-wide meeting of Stop & Search monitoring group coordinators and at a MOPAC training session on interpreting the data which is available to us.

Together with colleagues I’ve represented our Board at meetings of the LCP2 group – which is now essentially a London-wide forum for the Chairs of SNBs.  Much useful experience has been shared this way, and I’ve learned a great deal personally.  I believe we are regarded as a successful and innovative Board by our peer groups.

As we look ahead, there will be an opportunity to review where we should concentrate our efforts from now on.  I believe that we should review our Terms of Reference in the light of experience, and also consider whether there are gaps in our membership.  My own interests include helping in the development of engagement groups like the Borough’s Ward Panels, and also helping to coordinate Neighbourhood Watch groups.  We may also wish to develop our public face to residents in general.  However, I’m simply one voice here among many, and we’ll take the opportunity to make the next meeting our AGM. There will be an opportunity to elect the officers for the year ahead, and a “workshop” session where we can exchange ideas about what the priorities should be for the Board’s workplan.  That meeting will be on Thursday 10th December, and I hope as many of my colleagues as possible will be able to attend.

I’d like to express my thanks and appreciation to my colleagues here for their support in what we’ve done so far, and particularly the core team:  Philip, our Vice-Chair, Julie, our Treasurer, Molly, the Board’s Secretary and the sterling work done by the (hard-pressed) Democratic Services team, not least Debra Marlow, and now Cameron MacLean.

I don’t think there is any doubt that Waltham Forest Safer Neighbourhood Board had a shaky start, and has had some shaky moments, but I believe that is now behind us, and we’re emerging as a coherent and respected voice in our community.  Long may that continue.