Colchester Council moves to reassure residents about funding provided to Community360

PUBLISHED: 8 March 2024

Date published: 8 March 2024

Colchester City Council is committed to transparency and wants to address recent concerns raised in the media regarding Community360 (C360) and funding from the Council.

As a statutory partner of C360, it takes all such matters seriously and has a responsibility to ensure that public funds are used appropriately and transparently. It has taken several steps to ensure there is clarity around the recent areas of financial concern raised in the media. As part of this, it is working closely with a range of partners, who work alongside the Council to commission and fund C360, and other community/voluntary sector organisations.

On 8 February 2024, Colchester City Council, Essex County Council, Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board and Braintree District Council jointly wrote to C360s’ Board and received confirmation from the charity that no funding provided by these organisations was used to finance the loan. Additionally, the letter confirmed that the loan was personal to Ms. Rudling and separate from her role as CEO and assured any payments to Godden and Rudling Building Services followed proper procurement procedures.

Following that response, the City Council has written to the Charity Commission, who regulate charities in England, seeking independent confirmation and clarification around the financial concerns raised, and are waiting a response.

At the request of the City Council, C360s’ Board has agreed to a meeting with partners to discuss further questions. This will take place later this month.

To be as transparent as possible, the City Council want to be clear around the funding provided to C360 over the last ten years.

A total of £328,254.25 has been paid from Colchester City Council to C360 between 1 April 2013 and 29 February 2024. This includes an annual Voluntary Welfare Grant and funds allocated to specific projects and initiatives delivered successfully by C360, benefiting Colchester residents, including the extensive support it provided throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Council also acts as a conduit for partner funding (called passport payments) from some organisations within the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance and from Government sources. This amounts to an additional £875,659.82, in the same period, distributed as follows:
  • Essex County Council: £430,973.97
  • Home Office/Central Government Departments: £302,170.70
  • North East Essex Integrated Care Board: £96,790.00
  • Colchester Borough Homes: £41,551.10
  • Arts Council: £4,174.05
Cllr Natalie Sommers, Portfolio Holder for Communities, said: “We value our partnership with Community360 (C360) and the important services it provides to our communities. Conversations are continuing with C360 and the Charities Commission to clarify the background to the loan to its CEO and other procurement arrangements, which have caused recent public concern.

“We also recognise that public perception of the decisions made by the C360 Board is impacting how the charity is viewed. We look forward to greater clarity from the meeting with the charity’s’ Board and response from the Charities Commission.

“The Council is committed to working on ongoing projects with C360 to support the most vulnerable in the city and will keep monitoring the situation.”

Additional information:

Payments direct from Colchester City Council, broken down by year. The table below shows the payments made by Colchester City Council from core council budgets to Community360 from 1 April 2013 to the present.

Financial Year Financial Year Total Value 
1/4/13 - 31/3/14  £22,577.76
1/4/14 - 31/3/15  £13,000.00
1/4/15 - 31/3/16  £0.00
1/4/16 - 31/3/17  £3,184.42
1/4/17 - 31/3/18  £62,580.00
1/4/18 - 31/3/19  £42,519.14
1/4/19 - 31/3/20  £39,071.30
1/4/20 - 31/3/21  £37,000.00
1/4/21 - 31/3/22  £36,160.00
1/4/22 - 31/3/23  £41,761.63
1/4/23 - present  £30,400.00
Total  £328,254.25

C360 received funding from Colchester City Council in several ways:
  • The above payments from Colchester City Council include an annual Voluntary Welfare Grant, funds allocated to specific projects and initiatives, Member Locality Budget payments and rental of desk space and meeting rooms in the Community360 Hub in the city centre.
  • Additional passported payments: These are project-specific grants from the council, such as Town Deal and Home Office funding for the Resettlement Scheme. These grants are not part of the council’s core budget and are not shown in the table above.
  • As part of the City Council’s role in the North East Essex Health and Wellbeing Alliance the Council has administered payments from the Alliance to Community360 and a number of other organisations. These initiatives include Inequalities and Realising Ambitions funding. These payments are not part of the council’s core budget and are not shown in the table above.

Page last reviewed: 8 March 2024


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