A few weeks ago, we found out that an unholy row had been triggered by Age Concern’s decision to shut down all of their Active Age centres.
Shortly after that, council leader Liam Smith gave this undertaking that they would not close, saying:
He said: "As leader of the council I will not allow any of those centres to be closed under my watch.Stirring stuff!
"I'm very disappointed with the way in which they have used older people as blanket shields to hide that they are a business.
"We will not lose any of those centres. This is a guarantee."
Age Concern said they had been hit by the credit crunch, could no longer cover rent and staff costs and that the council had reduced its subsidies.And now, in last week’s hardcopy edition of the ‘Post’ (not yet on the online edition) a news item on page three reads:
Cllr Denyer told the meeting that although Age Concern had told club members that the council did not pay for anything, it did in fact pay the rent for the facilities.
The Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham Age Concern has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.And she won’t be alone:
Claire Ramm, 52, of Elm Avenue Upminster will appear at Barking Magistrates’ Court on July 22 accused of financial malpractice.
She will be joined by four other people who will also appear before magistrates on the same charges.Now, I thought fraud cases were notoriously longwinded investigations, so this arrest seems a little quick, assuming it all kicked off from the intended closure of the Active Age centres and Liam Smith's speech to the council.
One of these is the chief executive of The Disablement Association of Barking and Dagenham (DABD) charity...”
What has been going on...?