Friday, April 27, 2007

Another Black Hole In The Accounts

A great time had by all... but who's paying?

So the Home Office has frozen funding for the National Black Police Association, while their accounts are probed for evidence of "improper activities".
This is what we know so far:
  • the NBPA got £180,000 of our money last year, a doubling since 2003-04

  • despite the fact that the organisation is a charity funded entirely with public money, no proper accounts have been filed since 2002-03

  • it owes Greater Manchester Police £180,000 for a conference it ran (pic above)

  • there are currently "no valid trustees"
And it sounds very much like its assets have been going walkabout.

I've just taken a look at what passes for the NBPA's annual report (here). The financial report is shocking in its inadequacy, largely comprising a whine about how the Home Office doesn't give them enough cash, and how they lack "a sponsorship champion".

The actual accounting information consists of a few bar charts roughly indicating what proportion of their budget went on items like the London Congestion Charge and the phones (which in one month alone accounted for an extraordinary 40% of the budget). There are also entries recording how much was spent via debit cards and "expenses", but no clue as to what was actually being bought.

Now you may say that the not-fit-for-purpose Home Office has got a cheek questioning the accounts of the NBPA. After all, its own accounts are so shambolic they were qualified by the National Audit Office.

And frankly, we can hardly claim to be shocked when we discover yet another public sector body that doesn't take the stewardship of public money seriously.

But what we should all find shocking is the fact that a black police officers' trade union is getting any public money.

I had no idea I was being made to pay for this. Did you? I thought not.

Even setting aside the question of whether it's A Good Thing to have an overtly racist police trade union, I'm guessing we'd all like to know why can't they just fund themselves like any normal trade body? The NBPA itself sort of recognises the current situation ain't right:
"The subject of self-funding through sponsorship, advertising and membership fees have not progressed as successfully as I would have hoped and this is an area requiring further improvement for us to attain self-sufficiency."
So why don't they get on with it? If they want the NBPA to continue, they should reach into their own pockets. Not mine.

PS As regular BOM readers will recall, this is by no means the first case of taxpayers being forced to fund trade unions. As we blogged here, Labour are giving the unions £10m of our money in exchange for their continued financial support of Labour.

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