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Written Statement - NSA Afan: Termination of Communities First and Communities For Work funding to New Sandfields Aberafan Afan and arrangements to ensure continuity of programme services within the Sandfields area of Neath Port Talbot.

Carl Sargeant, Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Background

Following the receipt of allegations of financial irregularities, funding to New Sandfields Aberafan Afan (NSA Afan) was suspended on 12 December 2016.  Prior to the suspension of payments, NSA Afan was receiving Welsh Government funding as the Lead Delivery Body for Communities First in the Sandfields and Aberavon Cluster and as a beneficiary in the ESF and Welsh Government funded Communities for Work programme.

NSA Afan was previously the project sponsor of the ESF funded STRIDES project under the 2007-13 Structural Funds Operational Programmes.  This project finished in April 2015.

The prime focus of the Welsh Government’s investigation has been the proper stewardship of public funds and the way that public funding has been spent and accounted for by NSA Afan.  Investigations have provided strong evidence of financial irregularities.  Furthermore, investigations have raised serious concerns about the effectiveness of the organisation’s governance and control framework.  This evidence calls into question NSA Afan’s ability to manage and safeguard public funds.

The decision has, therefore, been taken to terminate both the Communities First and Communities for Work grants awarded to NSA Afan.  

Officials are continuing to discuss this matter with the police.

This decision has not been taken lightly.  I am very conscious of the potential impact on the residents of the Sandfields area and consequently discussions have taken place with Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and we are working together with a view to securing the provision of services to residents.