Thursday, 4 November 2010

Nottingham Equal Funding Decision

At long last we finally have the release of a funding decision for Nottingham Equal's grant aid of £86k. The money is ostensibly to enable NE to develop a network for BME groups in the city.

I have no idea why it's taken so long for the decision to be made, especially since NE were confident enough of getting the money to have been recruiting some time back

As you can see these posts had already expired by 27 September.

Parts of the rationale behind the decision warrant a further look. 'Options considered' included 'not to provide grant aid'. This was dismissed because it '...could result in the winding up of Nottingham Equal...' Horrors! How would we survive without an organisation that was only incorporated in February 2009 and consequently has no track record of delivery?

Another potential solution was to 'fund another organisation' but this one was discounted because 'no comparable organisations exist'. This is explored further in the appended report; it points out that Nottingham Black Partnership no longer exists which is true and is a sorry story in itself. It then goes on to dismiss the possibility of funding the Council for Equalities and Human Rights Nottm and Notts on the basis that it is '...undergoing major change and difficulties resulting in both the City and County Councils withdrawing funding...' Regular readers will be aware that I have already written extensively about CEHRNN's 'difficulties' and I think it might be fair to say that the withdrawal of funding was more the cause of those difficulties rather than a consequence.

Interestingly, the report says that NE's BME network will '...complement other third sector networks being developed by NCVS'. Was NCVS invited to bid for the funds to set up the BME network as well?

Some of the money has been provided by One Nottingham so it's worth a quick look at NE's relationship with them. Part of the job for NE will be to 'support' the BME rep on One Nottingham's board, a job to which they are no doubt suited as it was them that facilitated the removal of CEHRNN's chief exec from the role.

Sorry, what I MEANT to say there was that NE facilitated the election in which CEHRNN's chief exec lost his place as BME rep on ON's board. Which, coincidentally, was a couple of months before NCC removed their funding.

I have been trying to get hold of a copy of ON's decision to pick NE as the recipient of their funding. As well as being sent copies of ON board minutes which didn't mention NE specifically I got this response -

"If you are after a written decison from the One Nottingham Board to award the funding to Nottingham Equal there is not one.

As I explained in the previous email, the ON Board approved the amount and purpose for the funding but not the delivery organisation.

A tender process was organised and the tender panel comprising of partner organisations involved with One Nottingham selected Nottingham Equal through this process."

I'm surprised that this tender exercise wasn't mentioned in the NCC portfolio holder decision or the supporting report but no biggie. 
Lastly, let's have a quick recap of some of the personalities involved. We know about NE's Chief Exec Tyrone Brown, he of 'legging it after NCH homes allocation scandal' fame and I would certainly question the wisdom of funding any organisation with him involved. Still, NCC are perfectly happy to throw money at his other little fiefdom PATRA so any concerns appear to be falling on deaf ears.

Similarly, Hassan Ahmed who was a founding director of NE but resigned when he got caught out not declaring it on his register of interests. He was jointly responsible for the decision to end CEHRNN's funding. I've been saying for a while that CEHRNN was a potential competitor organisation to his latest pet project and this decision provides the first direct evidence. He is now the chair of ON's 'Fairness Commission' which wasn't formally involved with this particular funding decision but, well, you know...

One last mention must go to NCC's Head of Service Equality and Community Relations. He was responsible for the dodgy Equalities Impact Assessment carried out on CEHRNN and was significantly criticised by CEHRNN for the manner of his involvement with them. He now turns up as a contributor to the report recommending funding of NE.

Addendum - NE has recently registered as a charity

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