Pembrokeshire County Council 'will look to claw back' any funds unaccounted for from controversial property grants scheme

PEMBROKESHIRE County Council will look to claim back “any money unaccounted for” if errors have been made in the administration of property grants in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock.

At an extraordinary audit committee meeting on Monday (January 20), the council’s director of development, Dr Steven Jones, told members his understanding of the schemes was “limited” to his role as lead director and it was difficult for him to “give a personal guarantee that every single penny of money spent has been accounted for”.

He added: “I’m clear that if there is an error we will look at that immediately, to claim back any money unaccounted for and move on with any other opportunities we have to bring grant money into the area.”

Concerns have been raised by some members about the Town Heritage Initiative (THI) and Commercial Property Grant Schemes (CPGS) in Pembroke and Pembroke Dock.

The two THI schemes in Pembroke Dock and Haverfordwest – costing nearly £18m in total - are funded primarily by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and support the regeneration of buildings in a conservation area or with a grade II or higher listing.

The £1.47m Commercial Property Grant Scheme (CPGS) is a part of a larger Pembroke and Pembroke Dock regeneration project and is mainly funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

The first six items on the audit committee meeting agenda – which included background papers, an overview of the two grant schemes and a discussion of five properties in the scheme - were open to the public.

The meeting was then adjourned for a site visit to properties in Pembroke Dock which included Coronation School, 16/19, Commercial Row, and 25, 27 and 29 Dimond Street.

On their return the committee voted in favour of excluding the public and press to discuss the funding arrangements for each property as it would involve confidential information.

That discussion was due to involve a discussion of Councillor Mike Stoddart’s submissions to the council. This includes a five-page document outlining his “grave concerns about the probity” of the schemes, which questioned grant payments and whether some of the work was carried out.

Previous reports by council officers have stated the HLF was “content” and full audits were carried out by the Welsh European Funding Office (WEFO), the Wales Audit Office (WAO), the Welsh Government European Funds Audit Team and the European Commission.

But any site visits were carried out while projects were still in progress, Monday’s meeting heard.

The findings of an internal audit also concluded that “adequate and effective compliance arrangements” were in place and “complied with”.

Audit committee chairman John Evans said the meeting was likely to be adjourned for members to “absorb” all of the information which will be available over the coming weeks.

“Openness and transparency is a priority for us,” he added.

Comments (14)

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11:18pm Wed 22 Jan 14

Dave Edwards says...

Any "openness and transparency" that excludes the public from knowing what goes on is a mere illusion!
Any "openness and transparency" that excludes the public from knowing what goes on is a mere illusion! Dave Edwards
  • Score: 17

7:22am Thu 23 Jan 14

Welshman23 says...

No smoke without fire at the Kremlin, openness I think these people running our council think that Pembrokeshire people are naive.
No smoke without fire at the Kremlin, openness I think these people running our council think that Pembrokeshire people are naive. Welshman23
  • Score: 8

7:28am Thu 23 Jan 14

Electra1 says...

This had better be so especially as so many residents in the town know about it.
I don't know how many people told me the other day about the twenty 'council' members that went into the charity shop in Dimond St the other day to see what the £52000 had been spent on..........well I can't tell any difference from when it was Lloyds the chemist.
This had better be so especially as so many residents in the town know about it. I don't know how many people told me the other day about the twenty 'council' members that went into the charity shop in Dimond St the other day to see what the £52000 had been spent on..........well I can't tell any difference from when it was Lloyds the chemist. Electra1
  • Score: 9

9:23am Thu 23 Jan 14

teifion says...

So the council will investigate that unaccounted for penny, wonder If they'll investigate the odd £10k unaccounted for - I bet they'll not investigate allegations of being over charged - it certainly looks like they've been overcharged from some of the stories I've seen on this web site
Funny how "generous" they are with OUR money - bet they wouldn't have handed over milliuons of their cash to Bluestone for instance even IF senior councillors think its a perfect place for a party - see they CAN organise a **** up in a brewery ;-)
Oooops, have I just paid this shower a compliment :)
So the council will investigate that unaccounted for penny, wonder If they'll investigate the odd £10k unaccounted for - I bet they'll not investigate allegations of being over charged - it certainly looks like they've been overcharged from some of the stories I've seen on this web site Funny how "generous" they are with OUR money - bet they wouldn't have handed over milliuons of their cash to Bluestone for instance even IF senior councillors think its a perfect place for a party - see they CAN organise a **** up in a brewery ;-) Oooops, have I just paid this shower a compliment :) teifion
  • Score: -2

9:27am Thu 23 Jan 14

teifion says...

To be serious one has to look closely at the words in the press release - unaccounted funds and administration - It appears to suggest a proper audit - it does NOT, It just means they're making sure the paperwork matches up - NOT looking into how contracts were given, preferred suppliers or IF the cheapest quotes were picked - so another useless PR excercise :((
To be serious one has to look closely at the words in the press release - unaccounted funds and administration - It appears to suggest a proper audit - it does NOT, It just means they're making sure the paperwork matches up - NOT looking into how contracts were given, preferred suppliers or IF the cheapest quotes were picked - so another useless PR excercise :(( teifion
  • Score: -1

10:29am Thu 23 Jan 14

Gogledd says...

i believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg as they say........
I would like to know more about the West Wales Property Development fund ?
i believe that this is just the tip of the iceberg as they say........ I would like to know more about the West Wales Property Development fund ? Gogledd
  • Score: 10

1:36pm Thu 23 Jan 14

Welshman23 says...

Should the police be called and investigate who sanctioned these payments, in addition is the builder involved being investigated as he would have known he had received money for work that had not been carried out. Who is the builder involved.
Should the police be called and investigate who sanctioned these payments, in addition is the builder involved being investigated as he would have known he had received money for work that had not been carried out. Who is the builder involved. Welshman23
  • Score: 10

3:52pm Thu 23 Jan 14

KeanJo says...

Steven Jones runs a department and whatever he says he is responsible for any errors (or worse ) which have occurred. I have difficulty in understanding why ,when these matters were first raised , he didn't personally investigate the matter to satisfy himself that the accounts were correct . It is also difficult to understand why the CEO didn't ensure this was done.Dr Jones cannot absolve himself of responsibility in this manner.He is paid a handsome salary to ensure his department is run efficiently. Reading between the lines Concillor Stoddart's misgivings in this matter appear to be well founded and if this is proved to be the case I hope CC Owens ,Pugh and the cabinet will have the good grace to apologise abjectly and publicly to him .the people of Pembrokeshire owe him a great deal .
Steven Jones runs a department and whatever he says he is responsible for any errors (or worse ) which have occurred. I have difficulty in understanding why ,when these matters were first raised , he didn't personally investigate the matter to satisfy himself that the accounts were correct . It is also difficult to understand why the CEO didn't ensure this was done.Dr Jones cannot absolve himself of responsibility in this manner.He is paid a handsome salary to ensure his department is run efficiently. Reading between the lines Concillor Stoddart's misgivings in this matter appear to be well founded and if this is proved to be the case I hope CC Owens ,Pugh and the cabinet will have the good grace to apologise abjectly and publicly to him .the people of Pembrokeshire owe him a great deal . KeanJo
  • Score: 17

9:14am Fri 24 Jan 14

Tttoommy says...

teifion wrote:
So the council will investigate that unaccounted for penny, wonder If they'll investigate the odd £10k unaccounted for - I bet they'll not investigate allegations of being over charged - it certainly looks like they've been overcharged from some of the stories I've seen on this web site
Funny how "generous" they are with OUR money - bet they wouldn't have handed over milliuons of their cash to Bluestone for instance even IF senior councillors think its a perfect place for a party - see they CAN organise a **** up in a brewery ;-)
Oooops, have I just paid this shower a compliment :)
LOL, they can organise a "drink up" in a brewery but I think they need our money to pay for it :(
Where do I sign up?
[quote][p][bold]teifion[/bold] wrote: So the council will investigate that unaccounted for penny, wonder If they'll investigate the odd £10k unaccounted for - I bet they'll not investigate allegations of being over charged - it certainly looks like they've been overcharged from some of the stories I've seen on this web site Funny how "generous" they are with OUR money - bet they wouldn't have handed over milliuons of their cash to Bluestone for instance even IF senior councillors think its a perfect place for a party - see they CAN organise a **** up in a brewery ;-) Oooops, have I just paid this shower a compliment :)[/p][/quote]LOL, they can organise a "drink up" in a brewery but I think they need our money to pay for it :( Where do I sign up? Tttoommy
  • Score: -5

5:34pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Tttoommy says...

I love it when common sense comments are voted down, it must mean the corrupt and the useless do read these comments - you know who you are, some of you may even fool yourselves into thinking you're doing it for the community BUT your bank account (or a friends:-) says differently
I love it when common sense comments are voted down, it must mean the corrupt and the useless do read these comments - you know who you are, some of you may even fool yourselves into thinking you're doing it for the community BUT your bank account (or a friends:-) says differently Tttoommy
  • Score: 1

5:48pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Doc Malik says...

Frankly: if I want to know the news, I spend 50p each Friday rather than donate £1to the Council's own newsletter
Frankly: if I want to know the news, I spend 50p each Friday rather than donate £1to the Council's own newsletter Doc Malik
  • Score: 2

6:33pm Sun 26 Jan 14

Doc Malik says...

teifion wrote:
To be serious one has to look closely at the words in the press release - unaccounted funds and administration - It appears to suggest a proper audit - it does NOT, It just means they're making sure the paperwork matches up - NOT looking into how contracts were given, preferred suppliers or IF the cheapest quotes were picked - so another useless PR excercise :((
"Press release" about says it for the story on this page!
[quote][p][bold]teifion[/bold] wrote: To be serious one has to look closely at the words in the press release - unaccounted funds and administration - It appears to suggest a proper audit - it does NOT, It just means they're making sure the paperwork matches up - NOT looking into how contracts were given, preferred suppliers or IF the cheapest quotes were picked - so another useless PR excercise :(([/p][/quote]"Press release" about says it for the story on this page! Doc Malik
  • Score: 1

8:41am Mon 27 Jan 14

Electra1 says...

Has anyone seen this?


http://www.pembrokes
hire.public-i.tv/cor
e/portal/webcast_int
eractive/118552

!!!!!!!!.
Has anyone seen this? http://www.pembrokes hire.public-i.tv/cor e/portal/webcast_int eractive/118552 !!!!!!!!. Electra1
  • Score: 3

8:42am Mon 27 Jan 14

Electra1 says...

Electra1 wrote:
Has anyone seen this?


http://www.pembrokes

hire.public-i.tv/cor

e/portal/webcast_int

eractive/118552

!!!!!!!!.
Sorry it won't link up but go on PCC website and look for council meeting webcast.........a real eyeopener.
[quote][p][bold]Electra1[/bold] wrote: Has anyone seen this? http://www.pembrokes hire.public-i.tv/cor e/portal/webcast_int eractive/118552 !!!!!!!!.[/p][/quote]Sorry it won't link up but go on PCC website and look for council meeting webcast.........a real eyeopener. Electra1
  • Score: 2

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