Back in March, in fact on the exact day that John Gallanders and AVOW’s employment adviser Sky Bibi of RBS Mentor Services sat in the Employment Tribunal and heard the judge deliver the unanimous and damning verdict of the Tribunal Panel on John Gallanders’ own misconduct and that of the Trustees in the case of Bove v AVOW (which was much the same as the written judgment – they didn’t pull any punches), the Daily Post reported that AVOW bosses were going to meet with Plas Madoc Communities First Board members the following day to discuss taking over the monitoring of the troubled project:
Carl Sargeant, Wales’ minister for social justice, said: “AVOW could support the new governance arrangement for the troubled Communities First project, regarding how best to deal with the cash from the Welsh Assembly Government.”
AVOW’s own serious governance failings were being detailed point by point in the Tribunal on the same day this was reported.
Three days later, the Daily Post again reported on the plan:
Further discussions have taken place for a voluntary organisation to take over the running of a troubled anti-poverty scheme.
AVOW (Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham), Welsh Assembly Government and Plas Madoc Communities First have been in talks to find a way of safeguarding the funding coming into Plas Madoc.
Following the recent scandal which hit the scheme, AVOW officials said it was essential to ensure robust arrangements were in place: “To be certain that public money is used in the right way to benefit the community”.
AVOW made this comment and went ahead with the take-over KNOWING that its own governance had been condemned by the Tribunal: its Chief Officer John Gallanders was found to have usurped the role of Trustees, for example by writing letters in the name of the Chair of Trustees without his knowledge, to have abused his position, to have victimised and discriminated against the claimant and otherwise to have acted in bad faith; Trustees were slated for conducting grievance processes which were a sham from start to finish, for failing to monitor the conduct of their officers and for failing to investigate the claimant’s complaint against the Chief Officer.
Given that AVOW is quoted as saying that it was essential to ensure robust arrangements were in place “to be certain that public money is used in the right way to benefit the community” at a time when it KNEW it was in no position to guarantee any such thing (but presumably did not make this fact known to the Welsh Government or the board of Plas Madoc Communities First who would surely not have gone ahead with the arrangement if they had been aware of the facts), the only logical conclusion is that AVOW took on the PMCF contract under false pretences.