OMBUDSMAN REJECTS CALL TO INVESTIGATE PENARTH PIER PAVILION

Not even Companies House is up to date with what’s really going on inside Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – the company that holds the lease on Penarth Pier Pavilion.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales has rejected a call to investigate Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd – the not-for-profit company which holds the lease on Penarth Pier Pavilion.

The request had come from PR consultant Nicki Page who organised two “SOS” public meetings about the future of the Pavilion last month.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales Nick Bennett

The Ombudsman, Nick Bennett has legal powers to look into complaints about public services and breaches of the code of conduct of councils and of local government bodies – but the affairs of Penarth Arts and Crafts (which is also a registered charity) and Penarth Pier Pavilion fall outside his remit.

Mr Bennett’s office has today confirmed that  “Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd is not a body in the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction, so we could not investigate a complaint”.

Controversy erupted after the Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd announced it was closing the Penarth Pier Pavilion’s integral cinema and – as from March 6th – would only open the Pavilion itself on four days each week.

More than £4,200,000 in public money was spent on refurbishing the art-deco style Pavilion in 2013. The building is owned by the Vale of Glamorgan Council which has leased it to Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd for a period of 125 years.

Companies House records indicate that Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd has not submitted a Confirmation Statement on the due date

It’s also emerged that Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (known as PACL) is getting behind with its company paperwork . Companies House – the government department which oversees all limited companies in the UK – has placed a red warning on the company’s on-line records,  –  indicating that it has not met the strict deadline for returning its annual  “Confirmation Statement” .

The “Confirmation Statement” ( what used to be called an Annual Return)  was due to have been submitted by PACL to Companies House on March 23rd – but still hasn’t been received .

The Confirmation Statement is required to update Companies House with the latest details of every company’s directors and shareholders.

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11 Responses to OMBUDSMAN REJECTS CALL TO INVESTIGATE PENARTH PIER PAVILION

  1. Philip Rapier says:

    Well done Ombudsman this is a correct interpretation of your much respected Office and powers.

    Failing to meet Aims and Objectives by providing only 3 hours day of defined Community activity is a matter for complaint to the Charities Commission. Especially after a Public Funding of £4 million.
    A Local Authority such as the Vale of Glamorgan knowingly continuing to give thousands of pounds a year to a failing “Social Enterprise” will certainly be a matter for Ombudsman Investigation.
    We await publication of the fully notated Management Accounts . A disturbing omission so far.

  2. Ann Other says:

    Management accounts are a working summary used for month by month management of the business/Organisation in question. You may mean annual accounts. I wonder whether PACL in fact had any management accounts at their executive and board meetings. You wouldn’t think so from their performance. Does anyone know? Will we be told?

    • Philip Rapier says:

      No I certainly don’t – as the Audited Watts Gregory Annual Accounts may be found quite easily on the Charity Commission and Companies House Websites.
      I mean full, explanatory, notated, Management Accounts which should be presented for inspection to the Trustees at the regular Board Meetings

  3. whatsoccurin says:

    Went for a stroll on the pier today and surprised to see it was a hive of activity -the cafe was open and there were notices giving details of Easter activities-don’t know who their PR Firm is-seem to have the Michael Caine “not a lot of people know that” approach as many of us were under the impression the Pavilion was closed Mon/Tues/Wed.

  4. Clive says:

    Disturbing = a lapse of fiduciary director responsibility which I’m sure the those involved will be keen to avoid.

  5. andrewsketty says:

    I agree with Philip Rapier on this point. It is outrageous that it has gone totally silent regarding PACL.

    Campaigning is in full swing now for the local elections with all candidates declaring their commitment to a better community but NONE mentioning what they are doing about our Pavilion and cinema. Please use PDN to inform us as I need to know where to put my X

  6. I am writing to HRH Prince Charles and the Wales family.

    Dr Sandy voted in as part of the I love ❤️ Campaign at the sos meeting in March at the scout hall is writing again to the Charity Commission to try to get some immediate action

    I am also visiting the Earl of Plymouth estatei in Ludlow with others

    Maybe HRH can bring some sense and pressure on the situation to save our unique heritage gem from circling business men who have no heart for the community at all – only profit as a motive and the PACL chair and trusted trustees, 50 of them who come and go, willy nilly despite their obligations under law to ensure good governance

    The ombudsman can’t help
    Charity commission months ago didn’t respond to the I love ❤️ Penarth pavilion campaign request to check out the situation
    No politician at any level did anything in Penarth, Cardiff Bay or Westminster to assist and I tried them all
    No church leader came forward
    No educational leader came forward
    No medical leader came forward to protect our wellbeing in the matter
    No wellbeing commissionaire came forward despite numerous requests
    No one leading public services came forward

    This is simply too important an issue for our community, our lovers of Penarth in London and around the works to be left to politicians: here today, gone tomorrow despite new local elections and the issue now in play as some sort of campaigning en vogue hot potatoe, vote getting issue.

    We the I love ❤️ Penarth residents and supports will save our pavilion and cinema and the situation, come what may despite my verbal expulsion from the Pavilion the very building I am trying my best to save. What utter nonsense. Onwards.

  7. Talk is cheap, it’s easy. Doing is a little more challenging.
    However over the last few days;

    Communication has now been sent to The Prince of Wales requesting a meeting so lets see what happens.

    I am also waiting for a response from direct access QC or Cardiff chambers as the I love ❤️ campaign needs legal input to review all that is in play. I will follow up today. I have talked at length to the Clerk.

    I have had a positive response from a local accountancy company to do an independent forensic audit also.

    Volunteers have supplied me with very interesting inside perspectives.

    An environmental consultant x Penarthian and Stanwell School friend went in to check the pavilion yesterday for me re energy efficiency and waste management plannng – was there any – as gas bills are pretty high I understand. We will need to ensure we are as efficient as possible with costs etc. We need a breakdown by area. I.e. Cinema, cafe, central exhibition, meeting rooms, personal and general all purpose area, so we can apply bench mark comparisons to see how inefficiently the facility is at present and how we can minimise useage etc

    One of the bench marks also is the turnover of staff employed or volunteers – it’s still not clear who earns just under £65,000 and who else is on the payroll. This needs evaluation.

    We also need to know what suppliers have not been paid and there are quite a few I know of – small and larger businesses can’t get their money out.

    Occupancy stats of space hire needs to be reviewed – what rates for rental to third parties has been achieved. What revenue by area has been achieved.

    What percentage has charity or volunteer or community events been v commercial or special events i.e. Weddings

    What caveats or inclusions in the existing operators contract circa 120 year lease to pacl ltd has the Vale of Glam included and is there a conflict of interest or mechanisms to ensure full accountability included. What relationship does Penarth Pier Ltd have to PACL Ltd as Directors are the same in part.

    Why is there only 1 outsourced caterer based in Cardiff that all clients must use.

    What other grant applications are in process as we need a total review of where we are now with 2016 accounts before any more money is given and who going forward should manage and operate the Pavilion balancing community interest with commercial realities

    3rd SOS meeting will be called post local council elections re what new councillors are going to for, when, by whom for the pavilion
    I’m pleased to see that many candidates have now got the pavilion issue on their manifestos so we have achieved public engagement.

    Will keep you all updated

    Nicki
    I ❤️ Penarth community group

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