Payments to Suppliers data emerges from town hall information void

Nothing is simple in Tower Hamlets. Nothing. Even the most basic, fundamental duties of a local authority are neglected.

Case in point is Payments to Suppliers data over £500.

Yep, a subject as boring as it sounds but so very important because that is the only way us ordinary people get to know how the council spends the money.

You may recall this story on December 15th last year and this story in February because the council had not published any Payments to Suppliers data since May last year and that Moley also had to resort to submitting a Freedom of Information (FoI) request (reference 25562105) on 16th November.

A week or so ago a response to Mole’s FoI was received – after five months.

Due to an intensive digging project that Mole is engaged on he only got round to looking at the response this morning and was more than a little dismayed to find that although the request had been for Payments to Suppliers data from June 2020 there was only three months of data attached for November and December 2020 and January 2021.

Checking the LBTH Payments to Suppliers web page the reason why Mole had only got three months data was because LBTH had quietly published the rest of the outstanding data from June 2020 to October 2020.

Which is kind of odd. But then this is Tower Hamlets.

You can see from the screen grab below what Mole was sent and what Mole was not sent and not even told about.

Paranoid? Moley? Too damn right.

Any other organisation this would almost certainly be explained by some mixup somewhere. But this council? There is never an innocent explanation for anything.

The few times Mole has given LBTH the benefit of the doubt he has lived to regret it. Never again.

Anyway for all those Payments to Suppliers junkies out there you can now pop over to the LBTH Payments to Suppliers web page and download all the data you could desire and then try and make sense of it.

Python Pandas or SQL is the only way to go when doing this. (Sorry, geek talk!)

Of course you will probably have to reconcile the suppliers names with records on Companies House, the Charity Commission or Opencorporates (Mole’s preference) but then that’s the fun.

Isn’t it? Oh.

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As community journalists we do exactly what it says on our tin – we work for the community.

In Tower Hamlets, which covers most of London’s East End, that means we spend a lot of time investigating allegations of political corruption.

It is an unfortunate fact that the poorest local authority in the country is still beset by the highest levels of corruption.

As Love Wapping we were instrumental in exposing the electoral corruption of Mayor Lutfur Rahman.

We hoped that would be an end to our work – no such chance!

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