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The Third Sector/CICs Governance

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Afrigo
Afrigo Community member Posts: 14 Connected
Hi I applied for a job with a Community Interest Company which operates mental health facilities in the Wirral and Chester on behalf of the local NHS Trust. I am a qualified social worker, have a qualification in community education, have worked for the NHS, have worked for an NGO in Uganda  I have lived experience of mental illness having a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. I also had volunteered with this CIC for two years. I did not  get invited for an interview and emailed a director of the CIC. In response I got a patronising and disingenuous response. I showed this email to three people all agreed that the response to me was beyond poor. I objected to the directors email contrasting my experience and qualifications with others employed by the CIC and contacted my MP, I was of the opinion  that the NHS should directly provide the service as opposed to a CIC. I believe that charities and CICs are not properly governed for example the latter is supposedly answerable to a CIC Regulator yet that person seems to have limited powers. I was then to receive another email from a second director threatening me with legal action citing the fact amongst other  gripes that I had reached out to my  Member Of Parliament. You couldn't really make it up

Comments

  • Rosie_Scope
    Rosie_Scope Posts: 2,911 Scope online community team
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    That doesn't sound good at all @Afrigo! I don't have all the information but it seems unfair that they wouldn't offer you an interview when you have so much experience. 

    Are you thinking of pursuing it any further?
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  • Afrigo
    Afrigo Community member Posts: 14 Connected
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    We discussed this matter at a meeting of Chester Bipolar Peer Support Group, the feeling was that given I no longer had any desire to work for this organisation it was probably not worth pursuing it? I did however email the MP for Chester setting out what had transpired.  I set out my argument why the NHS should take over the running of these facilities. I also pointed out the pathetic threat of legal action emanating from the director.I am furious and dismayed by the way I have been treated.
  • hyancinth
    hyancinth Community member Posts: 78 Pioneering
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    This all stinks. CICs are bs. Im highly suspicious of them. Seem a way for gvt(and their depts like nhs) to pass the buck. Subcontracting peoples wellbeing and data has become perfectly fine, not to me! Anyone can start a CIC!
    Sorry youre being sidelined its so underhand but expected,if its any consolation being employed by nhs isnt any guarantee either. 
    Youve highlighted the poor conduct publicly now if they cant treat loyal volunteers correctly what else arent they doing right...
  • Afrigo
    Afrigo Community member Posts: 14 Connected
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    Not too long after I started volunteering at this CIC, I was sat in the coffee bar area one afternoon and got chatting to a bloke sat there. I had no idea who he was. He started telling me about the band he played in. I used to dj and promote gigs, the project I set up and run for the CIC is music themed. So curious I located the bloke on Facebook . Later that day I returned to take  my session. This guy was still there, he beckoned me to have a word with him where he staggeringly told me that he could not accept my Facebook friend request because he " didn't want contacting at 3pm in the morning" ?? I was truly gobsmacked  as mentioned in my original post I have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, I have never phoned anyone at 3pm in the morning, why would I phone  a complete stranger at that time?  I self manage my condition and have a safety plan. I had no idea if this individual had "information" about my diagnosis?. He was pathologising me as an illness. I was giving up my time to set up and run a project free gratis and I was being treated like this. It turned out this individual was the director who later  was to threaten me when I challenged their recruitment procedures. I guess I should have walked away then and filed this organisation under forget. Thank you for every ones contributions thus far, it is clear some Community Interest Companies do not act in the interest of communities.The NHS whilst not perfect itself should stop handing out contracts  to outside bodies and provide  important services in the mental health area in house.
  • forgoodnesssake
    forgoodnesssake Community member Posts: 513 Pioneering
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    In the UK it's been the case for years now that many services which are health or social care related are actually provided by charities or CiC's or private companies.  it's the so called "retail model" and was introduced to supposedly allow for more competitive tendering and value for money.  That's how we have a situation where companies like Virgin healthcare can provide all the Speech and language therapy services in one place.  The staff may well be the same ones as were employed by the NHS previously but now they work for a private company or CIC.
    I agree that many third sector organisations (and private companies) can be quite badly run but i don;t agree that they all are.  
    Similarly if they are providing a service that falls under particular regulations (like a care agency for example) they MUST be registered with the CQC whatever their actual governance structure is.
    The CiC model is a bit more recent and the idea was that it means company shareholders can't profit from the activities of the organisation...staff can be paid but any profits are meant to be for the good of the community in it's widest sense.
    That's the theory anyway.  And i agree that there are certainly services now being provided "privately" that should be and were in the past, directly from the NHS...but those days are gone for the time being anyway :(
  • hyancinth
    hyancinth Community member Posts: 78 Pioneering
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    That guy is beyond unprofessional @Afrigo. I think you need to take care in how much you are saying now btw.

    In my time of being handled by or using CICs I have been disappointed. They seem formed by sweet talking people who procure themselves funding by upselling its projected worth then awarding themselves a good amount of that funding for their salaries and expenses.
    I know one that is the biggest con ever and was ,not a surprise, endorsed by dwp. 
    Another had shocking in fighting and threats to its service users. Not me.
    But the best(worst) was a mh one that had multiple complaints for ineptitude and unprofessionalism. I know this because I complained to my surgery and they told me I wasnt alone, they didnt know how the organisation was still going and could they add my report to the list.
    I walked past it recently, its still operating. 18mths later.
    What I see is people employed in false and unnecessary business, money printed for funding, gvt responsibility removed, data harvested via 3rd party thus sidestepping the nhs opt out.
    If I were full of fakeness and wanted a 50k salary I could dream up some bs day centre for vulnerable people to come and play with mud all day as long as I talk a good talk. Which I dont/cant/wouldnt want to be so fake.
    You dont need to be medically qualified. 
  • Afrigo
    Afrigo Community member Posts: 14 Connected
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    Hi  Hyancith I  had no previous experience of community Interest companies before I enmeshed with the one I have alluded to. It seems that this concept possibly stems from the  Cameron  governments idea of the "Big Society" ? Thank you for the horror stories you have  written about, it appears to be  a real can of worms  which highlights the need for more rigorous regulation.. 
  • Afrigo
    Afrigo Community member Posts: 14 Connected
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    Hyacinth truly you have second vision!!"" If I were full of fakeness and wanted a 50k salary I could dream up some bs day centre for vulnerable people to come and play with mud all day as long as I talk a good talk. Which I dont/cant/wouldnt want to be so fake"". The centre I have alluded to is now operating sessions where people can play with mud
  • hyancinth
    hyancinth Community member Posts: 78 Pioneering
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    Afrigo said:
    Hyacinth truly you have second vision!!"" If I were full of fakeness and wanted a 50k salary I could dream up some bs day centre for vulnerable people to come and play with mud all day as long as I talk a good talk. Which I dont/cant/wouldnt want to be so fake"". The centre I have alluded to is now operating sessions where people can play with mud
    You serious???  No I dont believe it. Nope. I am actually very slightly psychic but thats hilarious. 
    If you are not joking...do you see what I mean?? BS jobs. I wonder if these enterprises are part of statistics that keep people off benefits, classed as business start ups.  volunteers counted as suspended animation and not fully unemployed. Theres some fishy nonsense in it all.
  • Afrigo
    Afrigo Community member Posts: 14 Connected
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    Straight up!! you posted about mud yesterday and lo and behold on  their timetable for the month of May posted on social media is a brand new activity  playing with mud. I hate the way volunteers are utilised they are there to supervise the activities (why aren't they remunerated?)whilst the paid "professionals  very much an elastic term in this  context are supposed to be there to deal with a mental health crisis. Empire building.
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