Age Concern attempts to dispel anger over Heyday

Sir Richard Lloyd Jones, deputy chair of Age Concern England, is to meet trustees and officers of Age Concern's London region today in a bid to appease anger over Heyday, the charity's struggling membership organisation.

The meeting comes after the failure of London representatives to secure a debate and vote on a resolution critical of the role in Heyday played by Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern England, at a recent meeting of the Age Concern Assembly.

Pat Cusack, chair of the assembly, refused the resolution on the grounds it had not been raised at the business committee nor sent to the secretariat 14 days before the meeting. The twice-yearly assembly is for all Age Concern federation representatives.

The minutes, seen by Third Sector, show the meeting was adjourned after a robust discussion. Then a motion to move to the next item was carried by 42 votes to 11, with seven abstentions.

The resolution, from Brenda Bond, chief executive of Age Concern Lewisham and Southwark, said Heyday had "caused reputational damage to all members of the Age Concern federation". There had been changes in the posts of ACE chair and treasurer and managing director of Age Concern Enterprises, "but not yet in relation to the ACE director general post".

It called on the ACE board to "consider whether further governance and leadership changes are necessary to repair the reputational damage" and to honour a pledge made by the ACE treasurer that Heyday would be closed in June this year if targets were not met.

Cusack told the meeting the business committee had been asked to consult colleagues about Heyday: concerns had been discussed and recommendations passed to ACE.

Questions about the chair and director general had not been passed to ACE, he said, because "the view was the ACE board was already dealing with this" and it was not an issue for the federation. A vote of confidence in the chair and director general had been agreed "unanimously and warmly" at the June meeting of the ACE board.

Dave Punshon, chair of Age Concern North East, said procedures were being used to stifle debate. Papers from ACE about Heyday had gone out less than 14 days before, but were being debated.

One source told Third Sector: "The London region is very, very unhappy about the situation and will keep pursuing the matter."

A spokeswoman for ACE said the issue would be discussed at the next business committee meeting on topics for the assembly meeting in January.

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