George Osborne Enters The Picture

Yesterday’s post ‘The Evolution of a Drugs Baron’ detailed the extraordinary sequence of events that led to Dr Dafydd Alun Jones and his fellow travellers in CAIS constructing themselves as ‘substance abuse experts’ and consequently being handed the remit for substance abuse ‘services’ over huge swathes of Wales, despite their very questionable track record. I also detailed the ‘oral evidence’ that Clive Wolfendale, the Chief Exec of CAIS, gave to Parliament’s Welsh Affairs Committee in 2012, which very obviously seemed to be a pitch for CAIS to be given the remit for the ‘care’ of military veterans. That was five years ago and naturally I wondered if Clive’s case for the care and rehabilitation of veterans had resulted in money flowing into the coffers of CAIS yet. My co-researcher has now e mailed me the CAIS reports and financial statements for the years 2014/15 and 2015/16, which answers some questions but of course raises many more. He has also sent me a few other useful links.

First, I need to (attempt to) clarify something regarding yesterday’s post. When I was giving the lowdown on the shameful histories of some of the CAIS Trustees, I speculated that Cledwyn Williams was probably one of the people named in the 1996 Jillings Report into the abuse of children whilst in the care of Clwyd Social Services. I’ve been reading the Jillings Report in detail this morning in preparation for a future post and I note that Cledwyn Williams is not the person that I was thinking of. So I am still no wiser as to which social services it was that Cledwyn played a leading role in until 1996, when he was appointed Director of Conwy Social Services. As Cledwyn himself is deliberately vague about this in his biography on the CAIS website, it does suggest that he doesn’t really want to shout too loudly about which organisation it was that he worked for – so I would not be surprised if it was Clwyd, particularly as Clwyd County Council was dissolved in 1996 after the admission of appalling long-standing sexual abuse and cruelty throughout their children’s services. Since yesterday I’ve discovered that Cledwyn is actually Robert Cledwyn Williams, just to add to the confusion. (Of course he may have been named in the Jillings Report nonetheless, because so many names were redacted when that Report was finally released.)

I’ll put the confusion regarding Cledwyn to one side for the present and move on to the purpose of today’s post, that is the discussion of the documents that my co-researcher has sent me. The documents do indeed confirm that since Clive appeared in front of the Welsh Affairs Committee, CAIS have hit the jackpot where funding for the delivery of ‘services’ to veterans and their families are concerned, those services being ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’. As with all ‘services’ provided by CAIS, they are delivered by volunteers, with just a back-up skeleton staff. The CAIS accounts dated 20/4/15 show that they’d secured and begun to receive funding from the Ministry of Defence for ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’ and had begun delivering services. The CAIS report for 2014/15 tells us that ‘Change Step’ was launched on 31 May 2014 by their ‘patron’ Brigadier Gerard Wheeler. It was set up with funding from the Ministry of Defence LIBOR fund which provided funding for two years of pan-Wales peer mentoring. That was the fund that was much publicised by Cameron’s Gov’t, the money coming from the fines that were levied on the banks for attempting to manipulate LIBOR. Nearly £1 million was given to CAIS. The CAIS report tells us that ‘1000 veterans and their families have been supported’ by ‘veteran peer mentors’ in terms of their mental health issues, loneliness, welfare and addiction problems’. Now £1 million quid would buy an awful lot, particularly if the work was being largely carried out by volunteers. Yet CAIS give very scant details of what this £1 million has funded. There is a fleeting reference at one point in the report to people being involved in ‘clearing war graves’ and setting up a website in respect of genealogy, but keeping graves tidy and researching one’s family history can be done at the weekend and needs neither £1 million pounds nor peer guides to do it. So where did that £1 million go? The mystery deepens when one takes a look at the CAIS report for 2015/16. This states that George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, gave ‘Change Step’ another £434,659 from the LIBOR fund in the Budget, ‘to support the families and carers of veterans in north Wales’. This generous donation from Osborne was also featured in a news report by BBC News Wales. The BBC explains that Osborne had ‘saved’ ‘Change Step’ after it had ‘run out of funding’ after having been ‘unsuccessful’ in bidding for further funding and that ’29 jobs were at risk’. The date on that BBC News Wales report is 16 March 2016. But my co-researcher has sent me a link to a list of all the projects whose funding under the Armed Forces Libor Fund Successful Tranche 3 Projects was announced in George Osborne’s Budget – the £434,659 to CAIS is listed there. But George Osborne made this announcement on the 15 October 2013. That was BEFORE the launch of ‘Change Step’ and ‘Listen In’ in May 2014 on the basis of the £1 million from the MoD Armed Forces LIBOR fund. But CAIS didn’t announce this until 2016 and stated that it was successful follow on funding from a project that had run out of money and that it would provide ‘peer support’ for 800 veterans. This is so confusing that I’ll go through it all again. In Oct 2013 George Osborne announced that CAIS would be awarded nearly half a million from the MoD LIBOR fund. At about the same time CAIS received nearly £1 million from – the MoD LIBOR fund, to set up ‘Step Change’ and ‘Listen In’ and launched these in May 2014. So CAIS received TWO lots of funding at the same time, for the same project, but announced one lot of that funding as ‘follow on’ funding more than two years after George Osborne had publicly announced it. Furthermore when the £1 million lot of funding was announced, it was stated to be for a TWO YEAR pan-Wales programme. So why were CAIS claiming to have run out of funds for the project before the end of two years and to have been ‘unsuccessful’ in further bidding? And why did they not only make multiple applications to the LIBOR fund for the same project, but sit on one load of dosh for more than two years, only to then misrepresent it on a BBC News Wales feature? Furthermore, the £1 million was for a pan-Wales project – yet there’s only details of north Wales based ‘support’ given. And how the hell had Dafydd manage to spend a million quid in a year on tidying gravestones and making a website featuring family histories anyway? And what were these 29 jobs allegedly at risk? If ‘Change Step’ utilises ‘peer support’, who were these 29 paid people and what were they doing – particularly if the only outcomes that could be boasted about were the tidy graves and the family histories website. As with everything involving CAIS, NONE of this adds up. Neither was George Osborne doing his homework. Not only did he hand over a huge quantity of money to a charity containing a number of Trustees who were involved in the concealing of a paedophile gang – one had even been named in the Waterhouse Report as having done so – but they were given two lots of money for the same work. If indeed clearing some gravestones and researching family histories can be classified as ‘work’. This was a charity whose Chief Exec in 2012 could not give any figures at all regarding how many veterans that they had among their ‘clients’ or produce any firm evidence regarding the ‘need’ for a support service for veterans. Yet Cameron’s Gov’t gave them the best part of one and a half million quid just over a year later. This is much, much worse than ‘Kid’s Company’.

Interested readers – or indeed the fraud squad – might like to ask the CAIS accountants a few questions about all this. The CAIS ‘Independent Auditors’ are listed as Williams Denton Cyf, 13 Trinity Square, Llandudno. The CAIS registered office and principal address is at 12 Trinity Square Llandudno. Someone might need to speak to CAIS’s bankers about this as well. They are Barclays Bank Plc, 84 Mostyn Street, Llandudno. Finally, CAIS employ something called ‘Honorary Solicitors’ that perhaps could shed light on these very dodgy business practices. They are John Owens Solicitors, Unit 13, Ffordd Richard Davies, St Asaph Business Park, St Asaph.

But inexplicably pouring money into CAIS coffers to provide ‘peer support’ for veterans is not the only way that Cameron helped Dafydd et al. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that CAIS are receiving money from the DWP. The CAIS reports explain why. Since October 2012 CAIS have been contracted by the DWP to deliver the Rehab JobFit work programme (the main DWP unemployment scheme) in north west Wales and since 20 April 2015, CAIS have been delivering this in Wrexham. Their record regarding this programme is utterly mediocre. The 2014/15 report tells us that out of the 564 unemployed individuals ‘supported’ by CAIS, only 206 secured employment. For the year 2015/16, CAIS ‘supported’ 345 people, of whom 259 found work. But being crap is no barrier to CAIS. They have established a ‘training’ enterprise, ‘Crew-IT’, after ‘obtaining funds’ of course. Crew-IT claims to offer training for work in hospitality and catering, providing ‘on the job’ training in their very own Porters Coffee Shop and Bistro, Colwyn Bay and Troop Café, Llandudno. (Troop Café was previously known as Caffi CAIS and was a sort of shack that made such a loss that CAIS shut it down and reopened it a few months later as Troop Café. Presumably the new name was a reference to CAIS’s newly acquired expertise in military matters. However CAIS have now reported a ‘poor trading season’ for Troop Café and they are redesigning it as an ‘activity hub’.) In the year 2014/15, out of 24 participants on the ‘training scheme’, 5 secured jobs. In 2015/16, out of 21 participants, there were 11 who secured jobs. So CAIS is not even that successful at training people to work for minimum wage jobs in cafes. But they continue to build on their mediocrity – they have now secured EU funding through the WCVA ‘Active Inclusion Scheme’ and are offering two year training programmes to make people ‘work ready’. One programme, ‘At Your Service’, is directed at the catering and hospitality industry and another, ‘Seeds To Grow’, is directed at horticulture. Out of 413 participants, 45 secured jobs. CAIS have since submitted a pan-Wales application for funding from the EU ‘Out of Work’ scheme to the Welsh Gov’t.

The creativity of CAIS knows no bounds. They are involved in providing ‘support’ for offenders through ‘Jigsaw’ (guess what – Jigsaw is entirely dependent upon volunteers); they provide ‘housing advice’ for the homeless in Wrexham ‘through our partners Shelter’ (although the ‘outcomes’ given simply refer to people having their questions answered rather than people actually securing accommodation); they provide ‘recovery coaching’ enabling people to become ‘work ready’ (out of 668 people, precisely 33 found jobs) and they provide ‘supported accommodation’ in north Wales, Powys and Pembrokeshire (I dread to think what passes for ‘supported accommodation’ with Dafydd’s history of placing mental health patients in run down accommodation where they are neglected and abused). Of course CAIS continue their core business – ‘substance abuse services’ and ‘therapies and interventions’ (please see previous posts regarding CAIS and Parabl for details). CAIS are contracted to provide these by the NHS. CAIS now run something in Cardiff called the Living Room. In one report it states that the Living Room is providing counselling for clergy, ministers of religion and their families and ‘on-going aftercare and psychosocial support’ for GPs in Cardiff no less. So the Top Doctors are securing mental healthcare from this ‘charity’ bankrolled by the taxpayer, whilst their own patients find it nigh-on impossible to obtain care for mental health problems. A number of CAIS initiatives, such as Troop Café, are run as ‘social enterprises’. I am touched to see that although CAIS Social Enterprises Ltd reported a loss in 2014/15, they were nonetheless awarded ‘Conwy Social Enterprise of the Year’ in May 2015.

Readers may be staggered to discover that CAIS, despite having such a hopeless record of delivery, despite such dodgy practices and despite such a lack of expertise, is able to draw down millions in ‘funding’ every year to provide such a plethora of ‘services’. Regular readers will remember how gobsmacked I was when I discovered that CAIS, Chaired by what must be the most abusive, corrupt psychiatrist in the UK, had landed the contract from the Betsi for ‘service user involvement’ (please see posts concerning ‘CANIAD’). But reading the CAIS reports has revealed something even more farcical. CAIS have been running a ‘programme for primary schools’, ‘Don’t Touch – Tell’, to send out ‘keep safe’ messages. Yes, a charity with Trustees who concealed a vicious paedophile gang that operated in north Wales children’s homes for decades causing untold suffering and leading to scores of suspicious deaths, have picked up a contract for ‘safeguarding’ children.

How was any of this ever allowed to happen?

A warning for the future (as if the North Wales Hospital Denbigh and the North Wales Child Abuse Scandal weren’t enough of a warning) – the 2015/16 CAIS report waxes lyrical about the potential for them to pick up more and more contracts and to go into partnership with more and more ‘charities’. They are eyeing up the Royal British Legion and Age Concern, as well as planning on landing more contracts from the DWP. Furthermore I very much doubt that anyone will stop them. The CAIS Trustees have, variously, resigned from previous jobs in the wake of terrible scandals, they’ve been sued, they’ve been named as concealing a paedophile ring – but George Osborne still gave them a million and a half quid. No-one knows what they’ve done with it and there’s bugger all to show for it, but then they weren’t finding anyone jobs yet it didn’t stop the DWP giving them more contracts. I don’t know why Dafydd ever stood as a Plaid candidate. Thatcher’s Gov’t ignored the dreadful abuses that he and Lucille were involved in, Major’s Gov’t covered it all up when the abuses became so public that they couldn’t be ignored any longer and Cameron’s Gov’t covered up the cover up and then gave Dafydd and Lucille millions. What’s Theresa May going to do, give them both peerages? Oh well then they’ll be able to join all the people who were involved in the multiple cover ups who are now in the Lords.

Strong and stable Government anyone?