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Recovery from election fraud: the Tower Hamlets story

talking local government

Release Date: 01/14/2020

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Asmat Hussain, Corporate Director of Governance tells Rachael Tiffen of CIFAS what happened next after the High Court’s overturn of its 2014 mayoral election

The former mayor was found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices, including vote-rigging, by an election court in 2015, so the council needed to rebuild trust with the authorities, staff and local residents.

Asmat became Tower Hamlets’ statutory monitoring officer after the fraud had happened, along with a whole new leadership team including chief executive William Buckley and a new financial director.

With commissioners in charge following a PriceWaterhouseCoopers investigation, the council developed a delivery plan, putting in place measures to ensure members’ decisions were made within the rules; greater transparency and openness around mayoral decisions; relaunch of whilstleblowing procedures; staff training and a website where members of the public can report concerns about fraud.

Tower Hamlets underwent a Peer Review conducted by the LGA in June 2019, which concluded among more detailed findings that they were now ‘a normal council’.

At the time of this interview, in November 2019, the council was just starting preparations for the December 2019 general election.