West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper has called on the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and the Council for Voluntary Services (CVS) to be more transparent in their handling of tax payers’ money earmarked for charitable organisations.
On the back of a tough year for the Voluntary, Community and Faith Sector (VCFS) which has seen the closure of Disability Advice West Lancashire (DAWL), Brighter Future and Total Reuse CIC, MP Rosie’s support has been sought on numerous occasions to help unlock funding.
Unfortunately, it seems that every time questions are put to the CCG and CVS about where the VCFS funding has been spent which was promised on the back of the awarding of the community health services contract to Virgin Care, no one could seem to answer where it all went.
West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“Having written to the CCG to ask where the £250,000 allocated in 2013 was spent, the Chief Officer stated that it had been provided to the CVS and they had been left to distribute these funds to local charitable bodies at the CVS’ discretion.
“After contacting CVS Chief Officer numerous times over the past six months and even meeting with him, I am still to receive any formal communication from the CVS to explain where this money has gone.
“After a torturous ten months, and only ‘in an endeavour to be helpful’, did the CCG finally cough up the figures and explain where the money had been allocated. As a public sector organisation funded by our taxes, I believe this information should be much easier to retrieve and the CCG should be more transparent in accounting for this money, perhaps through quarterly updates to their public meetings or on their website.
“In addition, it is reported that there has been another £100,000 allocated, which will be repeated each year for ten years, but again no one is offering any information explaining where the £100,000 is going, or if it is allocated to whom has it been given and on what basis. This at the end of the day is taxpayers’ money.
“While my constituents are seeing their health services privatised, with private companies like Virgin extracting profit from the NHS, they are seeing much needed charities like Disability Advice close down whilst the CCG appear to either not have open and transparent processes for allocation or accountability for this money or are reluctant to account to taxpayers for their decisions.
“I am concerned that if this information is not easily available or retrievable, it isn’t possible to know if there is appropriate oversight and scrutiny of the distribution of this funding? How do the CCG know they are getting value for taxpayers’ money?
“This of course begs the question – are there other aspects of the CCG’s finance handled in such a poor way? Where are the auditors?”