Examination of Witnesses (Questions 140-159)|
TUESDAY 18 DECEMBER 2001
140. Based on information.
(Lady Toulson) And the reason why we were told that
it was not possible to duck the issue was because of that; we
had to make it clear that we could not renegotiate those service-level
agreements. That is my understanding. Therefore, it was essential
that on that day, they reached the decision they did.
(Revd Mr Glover) Can I say that I have been able to
the best of my ability to meet with the staff in Wales and to
help them, but obviously I am in a difficult position as a Trustee
because there is confidential information that I am not able to
disclose to them, so it is difficult, but they hopefully know
that I support them.
141. Can I come back to some figures that you
have presented us with which show that over the last three years
Wales has provided between 5.5 and 6.6 per cent of the Society's
income from shops and between 2.3 and 2.9 per cent of the income
from fundraising activity. This accounts for between 3 and 3.5
per cent of the Society's total income. Could you tell us what
proportion of the Society's outgoings is spent in Wales?
(Mr Nall) Yes, if you will allow me to do a brief
calculation, I certainly can. It is 8 or 9 per cent in total.
142. Perhaps you could send us a noteI
do not expect you to do it nowto tell us how you arrived
at that calculation as that would be helpful to the Committee,
(Mr Nall) Certainly. I can tell you very
143. No, please provide it in writing.
Going back to your memorandum, you say, "the reality remains
that the Society has been subsidising its work on Wales from donations
made in England". Is it not the case that some of your activities
in the less affluent areas of England are "subsidised"
by money raised in more affluent areas, which is something that
Mr Nall mentioned earlier?
(Mr Nall) Absolutely right, and I would return to
this point that this is a financial matter and the largest area
of additional receipt of funds is Wales, 1.4 million. No other
area of the UK comes close.
144. Does that reflect the poverty in Wales?
(Mr Nall) It may well reflect the poverty in Wales,
but if I can remind you, and I do apologise for repeating the
point, the issue came down to pounds and pence.
145. Are you, therefore, saying to us that each
region of England is to raise the funds to support the projects
which you run in that region?
(Mr Nall) I do apologise, but could you repeat that?
146. Do you require each region of England to
raise the funds to support the projects which are run in that
(Mr Nall) No, self-evidently not, otherwise we would
not have been working in Wales.
147. Wales is not a region of England.
(Mr Nall) And in England too, so there are other regions
of England where we make a contribution and a good example would
be the north-east.
148. Have you got any figures?
(Mr Nall) I do not have them with me, but if you would
be interested in receiving that figure, I can look it up.
Mrs Williams: Thank you.
149. What about legacies in Wales, Mr Nall?
Are you intending that the legacies bequeathed to the Society
from people that have died in Wales now will not be used?
(Mr Nall) That is very helpful. I want to distinguish
three groups of legacy and they are distinguished on time. In
the past, legacies have been received. Where those are restricted
funds they are placed in endowment if that is the legator's wish
or from house sales, for instance, where we run homes. We are
in discussions with the Charity Commission under what is called
a cy-pres application to see if those funds cannot be released
specifically to Wales. It is quite complicated because I have
to go back to a lot of very old documentation, need to uncover
the original purpose of the bequest, the endowment and look to
what is the best use in line with the charitable objectives of
that particular bequest. I have got a slightly absurd example,
but it helps illustrate the point, for instance, the sons of cobblers
in Newport. Did the individual who left the sum intend to benefit
sons of cobblers or children in Newport who happen to be cobblers
because he was a cobbler or did he have that as a proxy remit
because he could not afford to leave a larger sum to the whole
of Wales? Those are the sort of considerations the Charity Commission
needs to take into account. Also given in the past are legacies
on an unrestricted basis as part of the Society's general fundraising
income and those funds will have been spent because of the degree
of additional funding that has to be given to Wales, that all
money raised in Wales is spent in Wales effectively. Legacies
that are notified to the Society at the moment will be used, as
is the current case, to support work in Wales. Legacies given
in the future, we will ask where we have potential legators whether
they, as donors, would be willing to make their legacy to the
benefit of another body in Wales. We are conscious that it is
a valuable resource for the continuing work for children and young
people in Wales and we wish to see those activities transferred
to Wales. There are two concerns. The first is of course the obvious
confusion which may have been caused in donors' minds by the Society's
decision and the understandable furore it has raised in Wales
and the second is of course that it is dependent on the decision
of the individual donor; it is not in the Society's gift. For
instance, you might have an individual who has moved to Wales
from England and has some long connection with an English home
or an area of the Society's work and feels that a donation should
be made to the benefit of the English Society.
150. Is that an example of the Edward Nicholl
(Mr Sparks) That is exactly right. That is the one
which is the cy-pres application and we have spoken to
the Charity Commissioners. It is an endowment fund at the moment
which means we cannot touch the capital. We have asked them if
the capital can be released on the basis that it would be used
appropriately in Wales, not by us
151. By a successor body.
(Mr Sparks) Whatever it might be. We do not know yet.
152. Can we come on now to last Friday's Board
meeting and perhaps, Lady Toulson, you can tell us exactly what
happened at the Board meeting on Friday, tell us what the decisions
were first and then how you reached them.
(Lady Toulson) I cannot tell you what happened at
the Board meeting. I stressed to everybody there several times
that everything we talked about and the way we talked about it
was confidential and I will not be disclosing that beyond those
four walls, and that is why Mr Glover has not been able to tell
people who have been ringing him up what happened.
153. Perhaps you can give us the factual points
(Lady Toulson) I can tell you three things: first
of all, we revisited the decision and it will not be changed;
secondly, that we will co-operate fully with Christine Walby and
her task force in every possible way we can to ensure that the
work is transferred to suitable bodies and progressed in the best
possible way and, subject to the report from our Finance Committee
to the Board, we hope to extend our time of co-operation from
July 2002 to March 2003; and the third thing was to look very
closely at the money we would hand over to Wales, as illustrated
by Mr Nall just now, in terms of endowments and legacies that
will go to Wales. Those are the three things we agreed upon. Everything
else that was discussed is confidential and I am not in a position
to disclose it.
154. So on the three things that you are able
to disclose, you said that you were willing or wanted to extend
your commitments up until March 2003, so are you able to tell
this Committee here now today that you will extend your funding
up to 2003?
(Lady Toulson) What I have just said is that the Finance
Committee, and Mr Nall in particular, are revisiting the figures
following last Friday. I do not know where that revisiting has
reached and I would perhaps ask if he would kindly tell you.
155. Are you in a position to tell us now today
what the situation is?
156. Can I just say for the purposes of the
record that technically we can ask you what went on at that meeting,
but all we really want to know is just what you have decided and
I think you have given us indications in that way, so perhaps
you can expand on the indications.
(Mr Sparks) What I took to the meeting was a letter
from Christine Walby proposing ways in which it might be possible
to carry on the running of projects to March 2003 in order to
facilitate handover processes and so on. I was asked to put that
to the Board to ask for their approval. What she laid out in that
letter is that there are obviously issues about a funding gap
and she laid out various ways in which that could be met. At the
meeting on Thursday, our representative, our Director for Children
and Young People, and I have confirmed this in writing to Christine
Walby, will be able to go along to say yes, we are willing, we
want to do our best to help that, and she has a remit also to
say that we can make some contribution towards bridging the finance
gap, although we do not think we are able to meet the full cost
of it, so I think what the Board tried to do was to give our Director
sufficient leeway to take part in those negotiations and to make
some contribution towards meeting the costs without saying, "The
Society will meet all of the costs".
157. I understand that if a decision is not
made by the end of this month that redundancy and TUPE arrangements
will have to be assessed and processed, so have you actually got
as high as saying how much money you could actually give?
(Mr Sparks) Well, I think there are two stages to
it. The first stage is about running through to July because if
that is agreed, that gives us more leeway and I wrote some while
ago to Christine Walby saying that yes, we would continue through
to July conditional upon local authorities agreeing to roll their
funding forward and conditional upon our being able to ensure
safe practice in those projects. So if the local authorities agree,
that gives a breathing space for this further discussion to take
158. But if the redundancies are going to happen
in July, do you still have to give notice?
(Mr Sparks) We will have to give people six months'
notice of impending.
159. So that would be now.
(Mr Sparks) No, that would be at the beginning of
February because it is six months. It is the end of July.
3 See page 31. Back
See page 31. Back