News special: Carrington Report - All are criticised in ICT hubfeud

None of the main parties involved in the ICT hub dispute were beyond reproach, independent assessor David Carrington has concluded following his investigation.

In his report, Carrington said that although the ICT Consortium followed the procedures that had been agreed with the Home Office Active Communities Unit in choosing which organisations could join its group, its reluctance to engage with some groups did contribute to the problems (see story below).

He also said tactics adopted by some Citra members "undermined the possibility of a positive outcome" (see below). And he criticised the ACU for not taking a stronger stand when Citra first complained about the consortium (see right).

Carrington's remit will continue beyond this initial report in that he has final say in whether future applicants can join the consortium. But he admitted relations were unlikely to improve.

"Subsequent exchanges between the ICT Consortium and the chair of Citra... do not breed confidence that the ill feeling generated in August and September has eased or is likely to do so," he said.

David Carrington is an independent consultant with 37 years' experience in the voluntary sector. He was a social worker before joining Nacro and went on to be director of the Baring Foundation and chief executive of the PPP Healthcare Medical Trust (now the Healthcare Foundation).

He has been a consultant since 2001 and is a member of the Social Investment Task Force.

To read the report, go to www.homeoffice.gov.uk/docs4/First_report_final1.pdf

- See Editorial, p22

TIME LINE

March 2004 ICT Consortium beats Citra to the ACU grant to develop a two-year business plan for the ICT hub

July 2004 ACU guidance states that hubs must be inclusive of the whole sector

27 July Citra chair meets ACU official and insists Citra be involved in setting up ICT hub

29 July ACU official responds that the "only way forward may be to get everyone around a table"

9 August Citra emails ICT Consortium to propose a meeting "without the NCVO being present"

11 October ACU convenes meeting where both groups agree to appoint an independent assessor

4 February 2005 David Carrington appointed.

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