A complaint about Newcastle City Council’s
intervention in the running of a mental health charity has been
rejected by the local government ombudsman Patricia Thomas.
The complainants alleged that “inappropriate
and manipulative” intervention by the council, and in particular
one council officer, had caused the collapse of the charity.
However, the ombudsman found the charity to
have been in “organisational chaos and financial ruin”.
“At the root of its problems was the loss of
expertise over time within the executive committee.”
While the ombudsman’s report acknowledges that
the charity’s demise came as a shock to its members, staff and
clients, it concludes that”for some, the pain of acknowledging that
they might bear some responsibility was too great and the search
for a scapegoat began”.
A senior development officer within the social
services administration and finance division became the scapegoat
and was vilified, states the ombudsman. She added that she found no
maladministration on the council’s part.