Outcome of council investigation into Docklands Handicapped Group

One or other of our loyal readers may remember that long, long ago (March 2016 no less) and far, far away we wrote about the curious case of £300k payments made to the Docklands Handicapped Group.

As we pointed out at the time normally there would be no issue with £300k payments being made to a charity over a period of ten years – unless the charity was not in fact a charity and the council had ignored repeated warnings.

Mole arse

Moley has been a bit slack as usual but finally got his mole arse in gear back in May this year to find out what the result of the council investigation was. Which we got. And then became sidetracked.

Moles, huh?

Anyway at long last here is the official report into what went on with the Docklands Handicapped Group which you can find here [PDF] jumbled up amongst various other reports. It is not easy to work out what refers to which investigation, indeed we had to submit further questions to work this out.

We were told that this report is an appendix to the Anti-Fraud Update report presented to the LB Tower Hamlets Audit Committee held on 28th June 2017 and that CMT means Corporate Management Team.

Below is unamended text from the PDF.

Docklands Handicapped Group

Date of Report

July 2016

Case Description

Allegations by an external Whistleblower that payments were being made to a ‘charity’ (the entity) that no longer exists. The payments were related to Adult Social Care provision.

Work Undertaken / Findings

A detailed investigation was undertaken. The following was found:

  • The entity is not a registered charity. Neither was it a Limited Company registered with Companies House. It was originally established as a charity in 1990 but de-registered in 2000. However that did not mean that it could not legally trade or employ staff. The contract that Tower Hamlets has with the entity, originally set up in 1995, does not make it a requirement for it to be either and as such the entity cannot be in breach of contract by virtue of not being a charity.
  • The invoices provided by the entity still carried a charity registration number. This was reported to the Charity Commission to investigate. Notwithstanding this, had LBTH known that the entity was no longer a charity it is unlikely to have made any material difference to the care arrangements for the entities sole client, a severely disabled woman.
  • The contract between the entity and LBTH, sets out clearly the framework for payment and this has been adhered to during the life of the contract. There was only one area where potentially LBTH may have been minimally overcharged. It was recommended that Adult Services explore the possibility of recovering these funds.
  • Adult Services have carried out a review of the care arrangements of the entities sole client, a severely disabled woman, and are satisfied that the client receives adequate care.
  • Some evidence of poor financial management was established within the entity with taxation issues raised also. The nature of the contract gives LBTH no power to intervene in these matters. With limited power to investigate further we cannot determine whether the finances of the entity have been managed effectively or not. We have referred the tax matters to HMRC for further investigation.
  • There is no evidence of any fraud to which LBTH has been the victim. The client has received adequate care.

Results/Outcome

A number of recommendations were made to resolve the current state of affairs and improve the control environment.

Adult Services terminated the legacy contract and put in place a Direct Payment to regularise the provision of care to the client and provide adequate monitoring arrangements.

Reports were made to HMRC and the Charity Commission for them to further explore the other matters.

All other care plans were checked to ensure that no other ‘legacy’ contracts exist.

LW Comment

So that’s all good then. Wonder what else Moley has in his ‘should probably publish this at some point’ box?

Oh that! Woo hoo!


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