Welsh transport charity faces uncertain future after over-claiming £50,000

John Barton, chair of Conwy Community Transport, says it is working on a plan that would allow the charity to continue trading until March

  • This story has been corrected - see final paragraph

A Welsh community transport charity was paid by both the Welsh government and the local council to provide one of its services, its chair has revealed.

John Barton, chair of Conwy Community Transport, was commenting on the charity's accounts, which show it had over-claimed £33,866 from the Welsh Assembly Government and £20,844 from Conwy County Borough Council

Barton said the over-payment happened because the charity had been funded for one type of work by both a council scheme and a Welsh government scheme. "Basically, the two overlapped," he said.

The accounts for 2011/2 of the CCT, which provides transport for the elderly and disabled through volunteer carpools and minibuses, say that an external audit in 2012 by the Community Transport Association and the council had revealed the over-payments.

"Preliminarily results suggest that an over-claim of £33,866 in relation to WAG and £20,844 in relation to CCBC had been made: furthermore, there may be additional claw-back," the accounts say. "The over-claims have been provided for in the current financial year, which has resulted in the deficit on the WAG funds and increased the deficit on the unrestricted funds."

A statement from the council said the audit report had found "a number of serious misgivings in the organisation, both financial and governance related". 

Barton said that no one at the charity, which has 10 staff, had gained financially from the over-payment. The money was all spent on providing the charity’s services, which implied that without the extra money the charity would have been underfunded, he said.

"If there was £50,000 of over-funding, there should be something to show for it. There’s no spare money in the bank," said Barton.

He said the charity was working on a plan that would enable the charity to continue trading until March. "We are determined if anything can be done to save the organisation it will be done," said Barton.

The charity met council representatives yesterday to discuss CCT’s future. The council said it had agreed to provide support to the charity while "CCT aims to resolve its difficulties", and would try to help the charity to change its financial and governance practices.

It has temporarily transferred two services provided by CCT to another provider, Bws Bro. "The council is working with CCT to try to ensure customers using other CCT services have alternative transport arrangements if necessary," the council said.

  • The story originally said the council had agreed to provide funding while difficulties are resolved, which is incorrect.

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