Other quotes

2 October 2011: ‘Frank Lloyd’, a volunteer with a local charity for the disabled

“AVOW has delayed its members’ quarterly meeting to November 29th, so no member or anyone can question AVOW’s trustees or Chairman about losing the tribunal for another nine weeks. This is treating the AVOW membership and Voluntary Sector of Wrexham County with total contempt & refusing as a major Welsh Government funding recipient to say how it intends to change its policies or be asked deep questions on the conduct of its Chief Officer. The information about the delayed AVOW members meeting was posted to be received by all of AVOW’s members on Saturday 1st October (as a membership organisation & Charity, AVOW’s members own the Charity & elect supposedly most of its Trustees). No mention of the Tribunal was stated in any of the documents posted to members.”

28 September 2011: ‘Frank Lloyd’

“The 59 pages are complex because Gallanders was well used to getting rid of staff who challenged his Empire, I recall him saying this at a quarterly AVOW members meeting “I will not allow anyone to give AVOW a bad name or reputation” so much for his credibility. It should not have been the Company Secretary who resigned due to Letters from the Charity Commission being hidden from him by Gallanders & fobbing him off (Nick Colbourne’s own words Daily Post).

“It beggars belief Gallanders is still wheeling & Dealing as though he still controls AVOW, six months after the damning tribunal statement about him by Judge Clark. [NOTE: only the verbal statement was given in March 2011. The written judgment was handed down in August]. Any person in charge of staff who was found guilty of victimising and discriminating [against] staff is unfit to continue as Chief Officer of a County Voluntary Council.

“The current Chair of AVOW, in taking no immediate action and his Trustees have also lost what little credibility they still held after the part they played in allowing this victimisation of staff. The Chairman’s response “We are considering an appeal” is treating AVOW members with total contempt. It is the members who own AVOW, not the Chief Officer or the Trustees who have treated the Charity as their own little club.

“A members meeting is due in October or should be. Resignations by a previous Chair over letters written in his name to Bove by Gallanders, without him knowing about them, and now The Company secretary who states he was fobbed off about letters from the Charity Commission he should have been told about, but were kept away from him by Gallanders, says it all.”

26 September 2011: Ken Skates AM

“The letter [from Carl Sargeant] was very helpful in that it states AVOW will have to demonstrate how it intends to deal with the governance problems, regardless of whether an appeal is lodged. It is clear that there are governance issues and the Minister rightly acknowledges this in stating that AVOW needs to show what action it is taking to address them. I imagine the scope and speed of the action may depend on whether an appeal is made, but it is clear that the Welsh Government is demanding action by AVOW.”

24 September 2011: Aled Roberts AM and Wrexham County Borough Councillor

“I would like to re-assure you that I take very seriously the issues of governance and behaviour raised in the judgement.”

20 September 2011: Carl Sargeant AM, Minister for Local Government and Communities

Read Carl Sargeant’s response in full here.

16 September 2011: Antoinette Sandbach AM

“Like the Tribunal I am shocked at the way in which you were treated and the matters raised by you were dealt with. I see from the attached notes that you had not received the funds awarded by the Tribunal, and I trust that this is not still the position. I hope I am correct in thinking that you wished to draw to my attention the judgement of the Tribunal, which I have read, in order to highlight the behaviour of a local charity in receipt of a substantial amount of public funds. If you would like me to write to the board of Trustees I would be more than happy to do so.”

12 September 2011: June Milligan, Director General, Local Government and Communities, Welsh Government

“I am writing to acknowledge your email correspondence of 27 August on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Dame Gillian Morgan, and to let you know that this has been passed to the team who handle the Government’s relationship with the voluntary sector to consider any implications for the conduct of our own business with AVOW.”

8 September 2011: Lesley Griffiths, AM

The first response, which came from Lesley Griffiths’ assistant Linsay MacFarlane, was that she could not help:

“There is a very strict protocol at the National Assembly for Wales whereby a Constituency AM is only allowed to take up issues from his/her own constituents. As the AM for Wrexham, Lesley is, therefore, only allowed to represent individuals who live within the Wrexham Constituency. As you live in the Clwyd South Constituency, any representations on your behalf will have to be made by your own AM, Ken Skates.

“I know you may be disappointed by this but am sure you will appreciate that Lesley must abide by Assembly protocol.”

I responded in the following terms:

“There is clearly a serious matter of public interest raised by the Tribunal’s findings in relation to the governance of AVOW, a body which is firmly situated in Lesley’s constituency and which covers the whole Wrexham County in the services it provides. I would have thought therefore that the ruling would have been of grave concern to Lesley on behalf of all her constituents, who have a right to expect that public monies are spent wisely and that any body in receipt of public monies, especially in such large sums and with such a high profile in the voluntary sector (and which acts as an umbrella body, mentor and supporter for smaller local voluntary bodies) acts properly and is accountable for its actions.”

I then received this response direct from Lesley Griffiths:

“I have been contacted by constituents regarding this issue so am aware of the issue which I view very seriously.

“However, I am unable to specifically make representations on your behalf as you do not live in the Wrexham constituency.”

8 September 2011: On behalf of Ken Skates AM

Source: email correspondence from Ken Skates’ office manager, Tim Palmer.

“I know he has read much of the coverage in the media surrounding your recent tribunal verdict and hopes that you are recovering after your ordeal. It must have been very difficult for you.

“I know Ken has read the documents you attached to your email and has noted the points you make. If he has any queries I am sure he will be in touch.”

6 September 2011: Mark Isherwood, AM

Source: BBC News Report

“The findings of the tribunal are shocking. They raise major concerns around the way the organisation has been managed, the way it operates, the management of resources, the management of the people and more broadly the role it plays in the wider community.

“I want a full inquiry in public into the findings [of the tribunal] in the context of the good governance of AVOW.”

6 September 2011: Welsh Government again

Source: BBC News Report

A Welsh Government spokesperson said while the issue is “primarily an operational matter” officials have spoken to Avow and will be writing to its board to ask for an “update on the actions they propose to take in response to this ruling”.

This is a slight improvement on the Welsh Government’s previous position:

“The issue referred to is an operational matter for Avow and it would not be appropriate for the Welsh Government to comment.”

6 September 2011: Frank Lloyd, a volunteer with a local charity for the disabled

Source: BBC News Report

“I am sure many funders are now considering their options with AVOW as a distributor of funding.

“It is also my opinion Wrexham charities may well be the loser if these major funders pull the plug on AVOW as its distributor of funding on their behalf.”

30 August 2011: Charity Commission

Source: Correspondence from Charity Commission (Wales Office)

“The Tribunal’s criticisms about the role of trustees are of particular concern because AVOW receives funding in order to establish and maintain good practice for the local voluntary sector. It is essential therefore that the charity demonstrates that it operates as a role model of good governance. This judgement is likely to have a negative impact on the charity’s reputation and we consider that it requires urgent action.”

29 August 2011: Welsh Government

Source: Daily Post (Wales)

WELSH Government officials refused to be drawn after a volunteer organisation head was recently blasted. The WG recently agreed for the Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham to take over the running of the scandal hit Plas Madoc Communities First.

However Avow and chief officer John Gallanders were blasted by an employment tribunal for the treatment of ex-employee Genevive Bove.

A Welsh Government spokesman said:

“The issue referred to is an operational matter for Avow and it would not be appropriate for the Welsh Government to comment.”

Commenting on Avow’s take over of PMCF the WG spokesman said:

“Decisions on the shape of the Programme from April 2012 onwards, including Co-ordination Body arrangements, will be taken in due course following an analysis of responses to the Communities First – The Future consultation exercise which ends on 26 September.”

Nobody was available for comment at Avow.

25 August 2011: Mark Isherwood, AM

Source: Daily Post Article

Mark Isherwood, Welsh Assembly Member for North Wales, said of the Tribunal’s ruling:

“It clearly raises very serious questions in the context of both AVOW’s corporate governance and another role it is being asked to play in Plas Madoc Communities First. Urgent action and answers are now needed from both AVOW’s trustees and the Welsh Government.”


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