Established 2005 Registered Charity No. 1110656

Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Glasgow Simon Community in trouble

May 23 2009
Charity owes half a million to Glasgow City Council The Glasgow Simon Community is in the midst of a financial crisis and is undergoing discussions with Glasgow City Council over its financial position. According to a report produced by the council, the charity has run up debts of £500,000. The sum is owed to the council to reconcile an "over-recovery of costs by the organisation." The difficult financial position of the charity turned to "critical" in November last year. After a review of the contracts between the charity and Glasgow City Council, it became apparent that financial surpluses accumulated in 2005 and 2006 were actually over-recovered costs that the Simon Community owed the council. The report noted that "the process of obtaining information and explanations from the company was difficult and time consuming." A council spokesperson told The Pavement: "It is common practice that the council will recover the money it has given to services providers if the cost of running such services has come in lower than expected." The spokesperson added: "If the charity had to repay the £500,000 at once, it would have become insolvent. This is of no interest to the Council, the Simon Community and the homeless people that it helps." Discussions are undergoing between the charity and Glasgow City Council, with a statement expected this month. However the spokesperson said that the Council had agreed to write-off half of the money and have £250,000 repaid over five years. In turn, Glasgow Simon Community has had to re-structure the senior management, and from now on the Council will monitor its work and its finances more closely. The charity's acting chief executive, Lynne Carr, told The Pavement: "We over-recovered costs relating to certain projects, but it's not a situation whereby services were not delivered." The charity blamed the cash shortfall on the "difficult financial environment with charitable donations hard to achieve and with the pressure of cuts in Supporting People and other grant funding." A large portion of business for the Community, around 90%, comes from the council's social work department. The charity provides a wide range of services from accommodation and training to treatment of addiction and mental health problems.