THE HISTORY OF THE BRAUNSTONE ESTATE
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THE HISTORY OF THE BRAUNSTONE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION (BCA) A RESIDENT LED ORGANISATION

The New Deal for Communities (NDC) programme    addresses local regeneration needs by putting residents at the heart of processes to develop community led solutions. In 1998 Braunstone in Leicester was one of 17 areas selected to be a round 1 NDC pathfinder. Braunstone is the most deprived ward in the East Midlands on the National Index of Local Deprivation.

Braunstone has the highest mortality rates in the city (significantly higher rates than national average for all major disease categories) and high rates of teenage pregnancy. There is poor housing (lack of modern facilities, overcrowding, poor appearance) Second highest level of unemployment in the city (only 38% of 35 - 44 year olds and 55% of 18 - 24 year olds in employment).

 

There are low levels of educational achievement (15.4% of pupils gaining 5 GCSEs compared with city average 35.5% national average 43.2%; 40% pupils leave school with no qualifications compared with national average 7%). The area has high crime rates (in 1997/8 112 offences per 1000 population, compared with national average of 87 per 1000, steep increase in to 135 per 1000 in 1998/99. The area has low average incomes ( 8,480 compared with national average 19,047).There is a lack of community and shopping facilities.

 

Braunstone Community Association (BCA)

a resident led organisation 

The Braunstone Community Association (BCA), was formed as a company limited by guarantee to deliver the NDC programme. A majority of the BCA Board is made up of residents that have been elected through a democratic process. Following community consultation, the BCA produced a Braunstone NDC Delivery Plan, which identified key issues affecting Braunstone. The Delivery Plan sets out a vision centred around the five cornerstones of regeneration: work, crime, health, education and the physical environment. On the strength of the Delivery Plan, the BCA was allocated NDC funding of up to 49.5 million for the regeneration of Braunstone over at least 7 years.

 

The History of the Braunstone Community Association (BCA)Behind This Site

 

SECERET MEETINGS HAD TAKEN PLACE 

 

The programme's Accountable was the Leicester City Council, on the 7 March 2001 the BCA board changed their Accountable Body to the Leicester Housing Association (LHA). One statuary director objected on the night because the first she knew about the proposal to change the Accountable Body was when she read the Board paper presented that night, she also stated the process was not transparent. She also stated LHA had no experience; The Government will not support any organisation without a track record. It was acknowledged that some of the Strategic Partners may feel this is a `fait accompli'. CAB (Caroline Boucher LTEC) raised concerns regarding: "the process to reach this point, as it was not transparent. She felt that it was being rushed through without sufficient information to make an informed decision. David Seviour the Chief Executive of the Leicester housing (LHA) stated that if the board voted against recommendations it would effectively be a vote of no confidence in the BCA Chair. Kishor Tailor stated that it would have been beneficial if the same negotiations had taken place with the City Council.

 

GOEM REPORT DTLR auditors 2001

 

It transpired later that an agreement between BCA and LHA had been drawn up that, as the then DTLR auditors discovered during their detailed investigation. A third party (a housing organisation) has made allegations to GOEM regarding inappropriate conduct between the BCA and its Accountable body, the Leicester Housing Association (LHA).

 

Secret reports and communications between Braunstone Community Association (BCA) and Government Office for the East Midlands (GOEM) and comment on a fix inquiry that blame the dissidents directors and residents.

 

There were areas on which BCA demonstrably failed such as in the setting up and maintenance of proper systems within the BCA that seem to us should fall to the responsibility of senior officers but it is open to question how the lack of challenge from the accountable body and BCA Board contributed to the problems that this caused, At the lower level the consistently poor performance in project development and other weaknesses found by the auditors would also seem to us to fall to the responsibility of the executive. Over spending on M&A has been a long running issue for the programme.

 

BCA director John Davie made allegations of financial irregularities related to the Braunstone NDC Programme, John Davie called in the fraud squad to investigate the Braunstone Community Association (BCA) chief executives expense claims), also there were questions raised by Leicester City Council about Tim Slack claiming of expenses around the time of his relocation.

 

The way in which the Chief Executive handled certain expenses claims, two reports were made available to GOEM The reports concluded that there was no case for further action against BCA or individuals but that systems needed tightening.

 

OEM were concerned about a series of failures or shortcomings within the core business systems, the seriousness of which meant that they could not with any certainty rule out the possibility that fraudulent or criminal actions may have taken place.

 

GOEM discussed the reports with LHA as the current Accountable Body and agreed that LHA would work through the audit reports point by point and report back on remedial action instigated by BCA.

 

It is the presence of a group of staff within the BCA that sees itself affiliated to the disaffected residents that has been the immediate cause of the problems.

 

Craig Buckby offered to provide GOEM   with information against Tim Slack to back up views of dissident residents and directors but, GOEM declined the offer.

 

Craig Buckby comments to John Davie on the Independent Inquiry where dissident directors and residents got the blame. 

 

Craig stated the so-called public inquiry did not initially call me as a witness; I believe this was because those who had most to gain from it did not want me to give evidence. I complained to the then CEO Tim Slack and the inquiry panel then requested an interview with me, they did this on two occasions and they cancelled both meetings. I did not therefore take any part in the inquiry.

 

On the point of you’re alleged taking of papers from my desk. I approached you and your colleague Richard to give me a quote for building work, which I was planning, if I was to purchase or lease the land adjacent to my house. I believe that this is how you became aware of my intentions to purchase/lease the land. On the point of you taking paper work I cannot comment, however I am still in ownership of correspondence appertaining to that land and have always had it.

 

I think it was convenient to suggest that you took papers without consent as if fitted a purpose for some individuals at that time.

 

I hope the above is sufficient and wish you luck in your endeavours.

 

 

Craig Buckby

 

BCA

 

Tim Slack thanked Roger Poole for his note regarding Ray Ross; and stated that they needed to take some joint action with regard to this person. Roger Poole has stated many times that GOEM cannot tell the company what to do.

 

 

Roger Poole will brief Patricia Hewitt the local MP, in doing this I will take    Patricia Hewitt views on the Programme, and in particular on its future leadership see recommendation.

 

GOEM are concerned about the BCA`s relying on improbable levels of income generation.

 

Final report will be highly critical of the BCA's running of the NDC Programme and will propose that "special measures" are applied.

 

The BCA's Code of Conduct for candidates was criticised in the press for being too prescriptive of candidates' behaviour and restricting freedom of speech.

 

Three of those residents elected are known and active critics of the BCA.

 

Roger Poole to the BCA Chair

 

I said I'd let you have details of any instances of conduct which a BCA director appears to us to breach BCA's Code.

 

Ray Ross he is widely recognised, I think, as being the loosest cannon on the Board

 

I don't know what, if anything, we can collectively do about this

 

I would welcome your views

 

Roger

 

M&A

On paper 10% allocation will be exceeded by end (their) year 7  our opinion is that they need more time. This will need to be sorted out within next DP. Positives we might be able to get core staff costs down either by secondments or by turning monitoring and evaluation, for example, into a project. Worst case non staff costs more or less fixed, any savings will have to come from core staff, 2004 the M&A  was over 14% when does Government draw a line?

 

 

First draft with us/GOEM colleagues for consultation for opinions united not impressive;

 

not strategic, lacks any sense of priorities for next year/future, not financially planned not convincing on addressing gaps. Meeting arranged

 

Keith not invited) to prevent him going down the wrong road.

 

TRUST/ASSETS

 

LHA asking for a formal response to their offer of using their trust (Braunstone Regeneration Ltd) to hold assets; drafting "thanks but no thanks" response

 

GOEM have asked Christina Ashworth for her final report, warts and all not for BCA

 

Directors conduct wrote to RA “CHAIR” last month re Ray Ross; also sent him latest practice on what to do about breaches of Codes. “Richard” responded positively. No recent incidents as far as we know!

 

 GOEM 

How do we deal with this. Ray Ross has been going on about this incident for weeks with the “Racial” and “Bullying” l thought they had smoothed this issue over,

 

I think that we are getting to the stage where we need to think about safeguarding our position should this go further, for example to ministers or to the press.

 

I also have to say that from Ray Ross's position, if he believes what he says about “Richards” guilt    through inaction, I don't think that I would feel fully satisfied if only offered a meeting with only          

 

BCA Chair to Roger Poole

 

The issues with Ray are clearly coming to a head

 

It is obvious Ray is not going to drop this

 

 

BCA Enterprise theme group

 

Dear All

 

Attended my first group meeting last night; quite an experience! Good attendance from residents; local businesses invited but none turned up. Tension in the air from the outset; lots of mutterings about the constitution of the group: 'why has he/she been/not been invited'. “Dave Brennan” chaired at the start but then called for resident director to chair. Agreed this should be Mac Chamberlain, at which point Ray Ross left muttering expletives.

 

Managed to get through minutes of last meeting and matters arising and then onto the Braunstone Gardencare ILM project. The debate on this led almost  to violence between various factions and a 5 minute'fag' break was called; things calmed down somewhat but there was still threat and counter threat                                                         managed to keep discussion going and we agreed to refer the project  back to the appraisal panel with a positive recommendation subject to any further comments over the next 7 days. By this time it was 8.10 and the meeting was due to finish at 7.30. Less then half the agenda had been completed, and I had to leave for the tranquil atmosphere of Bingham Rugby Club! Extraordinary.

 

Braunstone NDC to brief them on his experience and scope what might be possible in terms of working within the current structure or in working with the BCA Board to change it to another. Thanks.

 

GOEM

High Priority

The BCA held a closed Board meeting last night; GOEM were not

represented, but an officer of the Accountable Body has told me that the Board took the decision to use NDC grant to pay any legal costs which might be incurred by one of the resident Directors in a (possible) defence against any action brought by another director

it stems from accusations that, while he was a director of BCA, he was the victim of racist abuse, and that he was threatened with

physical violence and harassed by directors.

 

The residents were told in June 2001, Braunstone Working a one Stop Economic Shop to provide services to job seekers, those needing skills training and local businesses. It will be housed in the BCA building on Gallards Hill North Braunstone with a satellite on the South of the estate next year, here we are in 2006 nearly six years and still nothing on the Southside where is the BCA working.

 

July 2001 the BCA chief executive Tim Slack stated that it was envisaged that by May 2002 all facilities in the New Deal area would be accessible within a 5 minute walk. Yet here we are in 2005 if you live in the South or Rowley fields there is nothing within a five minute walk.  From the South side it cost 4.00 by taxi to get to the New Health Centre.   

 

4 July 2001 the Head of Secretariat stated that one of the priorities of the Head of Secretariat would be a complete review of all systems within the BCA. This post is a senior post within the organisation and is responsible for all financial, monitoring, appraisal and administration services for the BCA and NDC work. The Human Resources Committee were to report back to the Board when policies are finalised for endorsement, this never happened, why then did the BCA have no policies in 2003? 

 

2002 The Chair of the BCA was to ensure that two resident Directors undertake Memorandum and Articles of Association training here we are in 2006 not one director have a clue about understanding the articles


 



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