SENW wish to clarify and respond to a number of points raised in Lord Ahmad Press Release
All organisations and especially SENW have acted in good faith throughout this project and over the three year delivery period. Adopting the design and delivery model proposed by senior DCLG officers which was approved at both the project appraisal stage and project engagement stage.
SENWs delivery organisations are the match funders for this project which they have delivered on a commercially contracted unit price model dictated by DCLG.
There are no irregularities in SENWs ‘accounts’ but in delivery organisations expenditure tested at National Audit. However DCLG has never provided SENW with any detail as to why the expenditure tested was not acceptable and therefore SENW have never been given the opportunity to address these issues. The non-disclosure of reasons and/or concerns that DCLG have with the information provided by SENW breaches public law principles and natural justice requirements.
Furthermore DCLG’s North West officers had not raised any irregularity issues at their audit of the BEiC programme, and had paid claims over a period of 30 months, without issue. On this basis, SENW feel that any financial correction should be paid by DCLG and is not SENW’s liability.
SENW have a contractual relationship with the delivery organisations; these contracts mirror the funding agreement SENW has with DCLG, giving SENW the right to pass on any claw back. SENW will not however claw back from its delivery organisations and SENW strongly dispute the invoice received from DCLG for £1,472,653.43.
Both SENW and its delivery organisations have a list of clients from disadvantaged communities and under-represented groups requiring support through the BEiC programme. By taking the decision to close the programme early, DCLG are preventing delivery organisations from working with these clients and any potential future clients.
By refusing to allow delivery organisations to continue work on the programme under a new delivery model, DCLG is effectively taking income from them, many of whom have worked at risk and in good faith, and as a result will now be left unpaid and out of pocket for support already carried out.