Mentoring Scheme In Trouble

BBC London gave the Mayor’s mentoring scheme for black boys a bit of a roasting yesterday. The scheme has successfully attracted 2,100 black male volunteers to provide support and stability to boys aged 10-16, yet only 21 have been paired up with a ‘mentee’.

Problems – caused by the University of East London-led consortium running the project falling apart (one company dropped out while another went bust) – have meant mentor training has been delayed, but the Mayor’s Advisor on Culture and Youth Munira Mirza is convinced the project will make up for lost time.

But with many of the boroughs involved in the mentoring scheme also hit by riots (though let’s take a moment to remember that only Haringey’s rioters had a higher proportion of black involvement than the general local population), you’d think time would be of the essence. What BBC London wants to know is whether the UEL bid – which wasn’t rated as strongest during the assessment process – was the right choice, or whether links between former consortium member London Action Trust and City Hall swayed the decision.

Here’s the Politics Show report:

Another story swirling around City Hall today is: when is the Mayor not the Mayor? or: Who approved a pass for Boris’s campaign manager Lynton Crosby? City Hall resources aren’t allowed to be used for party purposes; a complaint about Crosby’s apparent unfettered access was submitted and the pass duly revoked. (This was all made a bit more timely because it happened during the Liam Fox / Adam Werritty access fiasco.)

London journalist Adam Bienkov wondered who approved the request and was initially told it was an admin officer. Seemed unlikely, so he dug further, revealing a letter explicitly stating the request came from “The Mayor”. But no, City Hall now says it came from the late Sir Simon Milton, offering further succour to those who reckon it was really Johnson’s advisor who was the real power behind London. Poor Boris: with everything that’s going on, no wonder if he sometimes forgets who he is.

Photo by McTumshie from the Londonist Flickr pool

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