As I mentioned in my earlier post on this topic (here) I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the ‘Welsh’ Government asking if it had given any money to The Bevan Foundation, and if so, how much, plus subsidiary questions. My e-mail request was submitted on November 5th and I received the reply on the 27th. The request and the response can be read below.
Between 2001 (the year the Foundation was formed) and 2008 the ‘Welsh’ Government handed over £20,270.50, and a further £51,251.00 from 2008 up to the present day (or whenever these figures were compiled). Making a grand total of £71,520.50. The attachments I received were in Excel format but they may be read as PNG files on the right, click to enlarge.
You will note that the response tells me that not all the information I requested can be supplied because to collect and collate it would exceed the £600 limit set by the UK Government for processing Freedom of Information requests. If I have read this section correctly, then the information I have not been given is, 1/ who made the decisions to allocate specific funding or work to The Bevan Foundation, and, 2/ if this was contracted work rather than grant funding, then did it follow a fair and open tendering process. Important points, I would have thought, given that we are dealing with an organisation in The Bevan Foundation inextricably linked with the Labour Party and its associated bodies.
Despite the sparsity of the information, I still believe we can draw certain conclusions. In the figures for 2001 – 2008, and in the column headed ‘System Reference’, I see ‘Fees’ cropping up regularly (though not for the larger amounts). So does this suggest work contracted to The Bevan Foundation rather than grants? By the time we come to the 2008 – Present table (using the new accounting method mentioned in the reply) we see in the ‘Payment Type’ column ‘Invoice’ against most entries. I take this to mean invoices from The Bevan Foundation to the ‘Welsh’ Government for work done on behalf of that body. So what kind of work was this?
The first one mentioned, in the ‘Division’ (of the ‘Welsh’ Government?) column, is ‘Fairer Futures’. But what does it mean? I assume it is in some way connected with the Fairer Futures Division of the ‘Welsh’ Government. (I bet you didn’t even know there was one!) Further down we see that close on thirty grand has been allocated to ‘Democracy Ethics & Partnerships’, for which I can find no information at all. Nor did the ‘Division Code’ X211 turn up anything on the ‘Welsh’ Government website. Also in the ‘Division’ column we can see, ‘Homes and Places, ‘Housing Policy’, ‘Employability & Skills Division’, ‘Chief Economist’, ‘Constutional Affairs & Inter-Government’, ‘Cabinet Division’, ‘Communities Directorate’ and ‘Strategic Budgeting Division’. So what does it all tell us? In case anyone is still in doubt . . .
In 2001 Labour politicians and activists set up a think tank to produce ‘reports’ favourable to the Labour Party. The ‘Welsh’ Government gives work to said think tank, thereby providing State-funded employment for Labour activists to produce Labour propaganda. In return for our generosity we get Reports and Surveys telling us that people without money are poor; that the world would be a better place if we were all nicer to each other; that people with somewhere to live aren’t homeless. Platitudinous bollocks we could get for nothing from an idiot savant like Forrest Gump.
Consequently, I think this is seventy-one thousand pounds wasted. Because it is used for no better purpose than to produce vacuous observations and naive wish-lists. Though this money from the ‘Welsh’ Government is not the only route by which Labour Party largesse reaches The Bevan Foundation. Because the Foundation also does ‘work’ for the Wales TUC and the Wales Co-operative Development Centre. And let us not forget the generosity of cash-strapped Blaenau Gwent council in helping the Foundation pay for a Research Officer . . . to produce yet more vacuous observations and naive wish-lists.
This is just an update to my earlier post; but if anyone reading it can see anything I’ve missed, or can ‘translate’ some of the codes used in relation to the ‘Welsh’ Government spending, then please get in touch.