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Auditors in Swansea investigate £51million job placement project

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: April 23, 2014

By Richard Youle / richard.youle@swwmedia.co.uk / @YoulePost

The Coastal Project, set up to find jobs for vulnerable adults, is being investigated by auditors.

The Coastal Project, set up to find jobs for vulnerable adults, is being investigated by auditors.

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A £51 MILLION project to find vulnerable adults jobs has been investigated by auditors in Swansea.

The action was taken after the Welsh European Funding Office (Wefo), which forked out £27 million towards the Coastal Project, withheld a chunk of the cash due to concerns about poor performance and a shortfall of jobs being found.

The five-year project got under way in 2009 and covered six councils, including Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Carmarthenshire, with Swansea the lead authority.

The initial target for the six councils was to get 2,870 people into "sustainable employment" by the end of the project this year.

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This number was later revised to 1,500 and then 750, partly due to the tough economic climate.

But, as of August 2013, only 19 participants in Swansea had been found work — way below the target — prompting Wefo to withhold £4.55 million.

This in turn posed "a significant financial risk to the project and the City and County of Swansea in particular", according to a report going before councillors tomorrow.

Auditors said Swansea Council employed a regional management team to coordinate the project, and that this team had raised issues about the Swansea delivery contract. These in turn were raised with social services bosses, but did not appear to be escalated higher up the council.

Auditors said project leaders ought to have shown more foresight in predicting a financial risk, given the fact that targets had been set and funding provided.

However, the extra focus on the Coastal Project has resulted in an upsurge of placements, with 644 adults across the six councils helped into employment as of February.

The project deadline has also been extended by six months.

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  • Philosoraptor  |  April 23 2014, 9:29PM

    I am so confused. £51 million to find people jobs, which was difficult in the economic climate? So what is the £51 million being spent on? Also with 19 people having jobs how much money has already spent and where? An audit? Screw that, send in the police on a fraud charge and then we will get real answers and action is somebody got rich off this debacle!!

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