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YET MORE SALFORD COUNCIL SECRECY FOR NDC GROUP
 

Star date: 23rd July 2012

SALFORD NDC LEGACY GROUP ACCOUNTABILITY BLOCKED

For five months the Salford Star has been trying to get information on the financial dealings of the Development Framework Group (Charlestown and Lower Kersal). This group handles all income, believed to be around £100,000, left over from the £53million ten year disaster known as the Charlestown and Lower Kersal NDC.

Five months, including Freedom of Information requests, have so far drawn a blank, as 78% of this Group's expenditure has gone on `administrative costs', `marketing and publicity' and `training expenses', with only 22% spent on `small grants' for community groups.

Full story here…


NDC Development Framework Group Charlestown and Lower Kersal NDC Development Framework Group Charlestown and Lower Kersal NDC Development Framework Group Charlestown and Lower Kersal
NDC Development Framework Group Charlestown and Lower Kersal NDC Development Framework Group Charlestown and Lower Kersal
click image to enlarge

Five months ago, at the East Salford Community Committee the Salford Star tried to ask a question regarding the Development Framework Group (Charlestown and Lower Kersal), which handles all the income that comes in from the assets of the Charlestown and Lower Kersal NDC – the £53million ten year `regeneration programme' which has left a load of houses tinned up or demolished, and, er, not much else (see previous Salford Star report click here).

The accessibly titled `Development Framework Group' was set up to be the `guardian of the NDC programme legacy – including helping to protect NDC investment'…`investing the annuity in a way that has a positive and meaningful impact on the local community'…and to `reflect the views of the wider local community'.

The question is how can this group `reflect the views of the wider local community' if the wider community doesn't know what the hell it is doing, how much it's spending and how it's spending its money?

There's no website, no publicly available minutes for any of the Development Framework Group's meetings, and no financial information at all. So we tried to ask the question about its functioning during `community questions' at the East Salford Community Committee last March – there wasn't time.

We tried to ask this question again at the East Salford Community Committee in May. But no `community questions' were taken at all – much to the horror of many people who attended. So much so that apologies have since gone out to community contacts.

Horrified, the Salford Star sent in a formal Freedom of Information request on 25th May, demanding `all minutes, financial records and reports of the NDC Development Framework Group'. This should have been answered within twenty working days…

Twenty working days went by with no response. At the beginning of July we complained and got the usual reply… `Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your request. This is receiving our attention and we will respond to you shortly.'

We responded that while we'd been waiting all these months, the Development Framework Group had actually produced an Annual Report  and thus we "can only assume that someone is deliberately trying to block the release of information about the spending of public money and find this disgraceful".

A few apologetic phone calls followed, and an undertaking that Salford Council would get us the info by the end of last week. Then another e-mail arrived, on Friday, of course, telling us that we would get the information this week. If we do get it, then it's taken over five months to winkle out basic financial information from a Group that is supposed to be the `guardian' of money that belongs to the community of East Salford.

The amount that this Group is `guarding' is believed to be in the region of £100,000 – but while the Annual Report for 2011-12 gives percentages of Expenditure and Income – there are no financial figures given at all.

East Salford's community might like to know that 78% of the Development Framework Group's expenditure went on `Administrative costs', `Marketing and Publicity' and `Training Expenses', while only 22% went on `Small grants' for community groups in the area.

The 63% `Administrative Costs' for Development Framework Group did not include rent, as its HQ at Salford Innovation Forum is rent free.

Salford Council is the accountable body for the Development Framework Group. And its current silence is deafening…

 

* Last May the Salford Star asked elected Mayor candidates about the NDC `succession strategy' and Ian Stewart (now Mayor) responded thus...

QUESTION 4: What do you think of the Salford NDC's `succession strategy'?
The Charlestown and Lower Kersal New Deal for Communities was a £53million disaster – and now it's gone does any candidate actually know or care what's happening in the area? There is a `succession strategy' but it's harder to find than a diamond in a pig's butt…

Ian Stewart: I am aware of history and demise of New Deal for Communities. It was exclusive to certain areas of the City should have been city-wide. Strategic decision making should be made by resident's at the most local level achievable. If elected, I would need to work hard to 'get up to speed' on current NDC Succession Strategy and how it sits with the public, before making any considered suggestions.

For full Salford Star Mayoral Challenge article - click here

 

Mark Armstrong wrote
at 08:16:15 on 28 July 2012
You have to ask why the residents keep voting labour when all they do is shit on you all the time? Is this what you expect form your councillor?
 
Graham Cooper wrote
at 10:39:19 on 26 July 2012
And in the meantime people on Whit-lane are still none the wiser in regards to there delayed demolition for the fourth time! Where is the accountability for them ? All the contractual agreements by the Council, social landlords,etc have fallen by the wayside-NOW THE MONEY HAS GONE. The Estate is in disarray and its no ones responsibility. Councillors run around and flap there arms, take pictures and votes and return every year with more promises.The NDC spent massive amounts of public money on land that now lies defunct, and no real prospective of being developed. unless you maybe bung the developer partner money! How can this be portrayed as a community run organisation, when no one in that community knows whats actually occuring or even who and why people who they didnt elect claim to be representing them!!! The issue of freedom of information will unmask the fianacial statements the DFG dont want people to know..... Why you and I ask ouselves after spending 53 mill are you know hiding such small spending. I am more intrested in the future of an area that has suffeferd lack of investment for over 15 years. based upon the Utopia of Regeneration.People need an answer to what the future holds,. not more Planning sessions to Plan what? Another false vision based upon a a few peoples perspective-Then again that has always been the way things have happend for over 12 years, so why change.......
 
Mark Armstrong wrote
at 10:37:19 on 26 July 2012
Ian Stewart can be quoted as saying! "Ian Stewart (L): "O wad some Power the gift tae gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us!" Translation of Robert Burns quote above: "It doesn't matter what I think of myself, it's what the People of Salford think that's important" So the people of Salford seem to recognise that you may be an absolute waste of time, effort and money. So if enough people sign up will you resign??
 
Salford Star wrote
at 06:35:48 on 25 July 2012
See Mark Armstrong's comment below...Mark, we have added Mayor Inan Stewart's response from the Salford Star Mayoral Challenge on the end of the article, for your delight..
 
Councillor Iain Lindley wrote
at 18:39:51 on 24 July 2012
I've never had much to do with the NDC as my ward is at the other end of the City, but I have noted on numerous occasions that they have been very efficient at sending glossy leaflets to Councillors.
 
Winston Smnith wrote
at 18:39:35 on 24 July 2012
It's more than just 'disgraceful', it's a criminal offence if they are found to be deliberately blocking this information. Has the Salford Star complained to the Information Commissioner's Office about this yet?
 
Bent City Inmate wrote
at 09:50:55 on 24 July 2012
Report this to the police , Steve .
 
Peter Tully wrote
at 20:56:20 on 23 July 2012
It sounds very much like the NDC/Salford Council are trying to hide the true facts about what they are doing (I think we need to inform the police that this is happening and let them investigate). Seems that a lot of the People's money has been squandered and wasted without any cares. How wrong this is that the people we elect (Salford Councillors), choose to turn a blind eye. Shame on Salford Council and NDC.
 
Mark Armstrong wrote
at 20:55:52 on 23 July 2012
Another bunch of self important idiots who have drained funds from Salford with the blessing of the other idiots known as Salford City Council. Send Ian Stewart round I am sure he will have an answer! But then again he doesn't seem to have answers for any other questions :) Oh Ian you are such a waste of oxygen! Can you please resign??
 
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