Citizens Advice Northern Ireland abandons legal action

Advice charity feared delays would lead to loss of funding

Citizens Advice Northern Ireland has abandoned its legal challenge to the award of a debt advice contract worth up to £2.5m to Advice NI.

Citizens Advice Northern Ireland argued in a preliminary hearing last month that the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment had not properly carried out due diligence. But Derek Alcorn, chief executive of Citizens Advice Northern Ireland, told Third Sector that the charity had now abandoned the case because it could have led to delays that might cause the funding to be withdrawn.

He said he was encouraged by DETI's undertaking during the preliminary hearing to conduct a "good governance review" that would investigate some of the issues he had raised.

Bob Stronge, chief executive of Advice NI, said he was relieved that "common sense had prevailed". He said the two organisations needed to sort out their differences and work together in future on contract bids. "Otherwise we are leaving the door open to others," he said.

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