TAKING THE ELECTORATE FOR GRANT AID
'The events below and in other posts are as told to me by people (plural) concerned about the issues outlined therein and the lack of any disciplinary action seemingly taken either within the Borough Council Labour Group or at any higher level. It is for others to judge the culpability of those involved and the probability of success of any disciplinary action and also for the Labour Party to act should it wish to do so .If any person involved identifies themselves and wishes me to consider altering or removing any provable errors in the post then I will be happy to do so if they contact me.I ask just one simple question, why is it that some party members seem to be excluded and expelled for what are very minor misdemeanour's and after long winded investigations and disciplinary hearings whilst others seem to be blessed with no action being taken for what would be in most people opinion much more serious offences?"
Funding and grants for local charities and organisations are becoming harder and harder to source as Local Authorities and national funders both clamp down on funding streams and replace long term community financing with short term political handouts often disguised as "Empowerment Funds" or "Community Chests"
Imagine then the delight of a chair of a local organisation when they received an e-mail from a local Labour Borough Cllr informing them that their organisation had had an application approved by the Borough Council for the sum £15,000 for funding to provide training and community events withiin their area, all they now had to do to receive the money was to sign on the dotted line.
Well initial delight turned very quickly into troubled uneasiness when the chair of the organisation realised that they had never actually submitted an application to the Council in the first place and didn't need the training or events proposed! What's more it seemed that these same "Training and Community" events were to be provided by a company run by? You guessed it the same Labour Cllr who had submitted the application and informed them of the windfall themselves!
Being 100% above board and not interested in anything remotely dodgy the Chair immediately called a meeting of the organisations executive committee and laid out to them all what had happened, the committee were outraged, how had someone been allowed to make an application for funding out on their behalf, and in their name without their knowledge or authority? How had this Labour Cllr decided what their organisation needed when applying for monies? And how was it that the Labour Cllr responsible for submitting the application to the same Council they served on would also be benefiting from the payment of the grant by providing services through their own company?
The last straw for the committee was that the chair of their organisation was also a Labour Cllr on the same Authority and they wanted no blame or stain being placed on his reputation by the independent actions of another Cllr without his knowledge. The executive therefore asked that the police and the council be informed of their concerns, and as a matter of courtesy the Labour Group were also informed. The police having I am told spoken to the local authority decided on this occasion to take no further action, they were willing to accept that as a new Cllr the individual involved was probably not as aware of the rules and laws surrounding grant funding as they should have been, and as a consequence they would be given the benefit of doubt in the belief that they were attempting to serve the community irrespective of any potential private gain.
The issue caused some understandable friction between the two Cllrs concerned and should have led to the Cllr responsible for self submitting the grant on behalf of an other organisation without their consent or even knowledge being dealt with internally by the party and told to be much more careful in future.
And yet less than two months later this same Labour Cllr submitted another grant application on behalf of another charity group for a daytime event in their ward, this time the organisation were aware of the application being made and of the Cllrs role in assisting them with it. The problem this time though is that the application was submitted to a local funder with little to no real information purporting to the organisation (details of officers, membership, accounts, costings of the event etc) and was submitted under an address which belonged to a completely different organisation (a local church) who had no idea that their address was being used to support the funding bid! The Cllr then attracted further funding for the event from their fellow Borough and County Cllrs through their empowerment funds (supposedly with the same poor level of detail).
And then what happened? Well AN event took place, but not the one mentioned in the funding requests, it was at least on the same day, but took place in the evening rather than the applied for "Daytime" family based activities mentioned in the application and instead of providing support for the local resident community the event was a UK wide "Nation Day" event which has been a part of the calender for many years where members of a local ethnic community invite their friends and family from across the Country to come together to party late into the night, a great and colourful event it always is, I know because I have attended on more than one occasion over the years, and have thoroughly enjoyed it but it has never needed funding before as the Community members themselves bring their own food and provide their own entertainment. So just what was promised regarding the funding that was given and what exactly was it spent on?
A third application from the same Cllr to a funding body on behalf of another third party came to my attention this week which it seems also (unsurprisingly) has not met the criteria level for providing the relevant information regarding either the organisation or the costing and provision of the services requested to be provided through the funding, surprise surprise.
Over the years Labour Councils and groups across the UK have been embarrassed more than once over funding bids which were not all they were made out to be, individual Cllrs have found themselves in very hot water after being found to personally benefit from grants they themselves had a hand in acquiring.
So I wonder what our local Labour Group has to say about the above?