The Walsall Observer reported today that Walsall Council’s £7million scheme designed to help vulnerable members of the community has been labelled ‘poor’ by Government watchdogs.
Condemned for its lack of any leadership or direction the Audit Commission only saw fit to award the ‘Supporting People’ programme a zero rating, which is obviously the lowest possible score. Even the future for this project looks bleak as the Commission considered its prospects for improvement to be ‘uncertain’.
Reportedly service users have made little contribution to the scheme and what is more, there has been very little information available for the vulnerable or their carers. All in all, it would be an understatement to say that this service wasn’t providing value for money.
How the £7million grant was being spent if not on information and interaction with the service users really is anyone’s guess…
It also appears that Walsall Council had a less than productive relationship with the service providers who have of course now been dumped and replaced, and we can have little doubt that this shift around helped cut into that substantial grant.
Walsall Council insist that they have improved the service over the last six months and that the report is retrospective, but this programme has been running in the area for two years now. With such a large amount of money at stake, bad relations with service providers and bureaucratic bungles reveal a local authority where taxpayers’ money is liable to be mismanaged and frontline services compromised.