Scrapbook posted last week on the extremely questionable patterns of spending at the charity run by David Cameron’s “urban talisman” and candidate for Hammersmith, Shaun Bailey. Published records indicate that the organisation not only spends extraordinary amounts on administration and publicity (which happens to feature Bailey heavily) but is unable to account for nearly £16,000.
Further digging prompts yet more difficult questions. Official records held by the Charity Commission indicate that the organisation operates in the London boroughs of Brent, Camden, City of Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham and Kensington and Chelsea. It is strange, then, that a local community charity should spend nearly nearly a third of its budget – some £60,000 – on travel and “subsistence” in just one year:
My Generation’s collection of London-based action projects leads one to wonder where on earth all this money is going. One possible explanation could be the Next Generation initiative run by (the long-established and very reputable) BSES Expeditions at the Royal Geographical Society. The programme aims to widen access to BSES’ overseas trips and, despite the similar name, is run with a number of other partners of which Bailey’s organisation is just one:
This is an international visitation and scientific study programme we run in conjunction with one our partners, The British Schools Exploring Society (BSES). The programme is designed to challenge and develop young people aged 16-20. The project runs over 10 months and culminates in a 6 week-long expedition to countries such as Madagascar and the Amazon Rain Forrest in Peru – My Generation
With the pre-expedition training programme fully funded by BSES, partner organisations and volunteers raise around £2,000 for each overseas place. The high watermark for My Generation applicants was four people for a trip in summer 2009, corresponding to a maximum of £8,000 under the account heading “travel, subsistence and motor”. Worryingly, this leaves more than £50,000 spent on other travel in one year – more than £4,200 per month!
So, for context, how much accommodation and travel could 50 grand stretch to?
- 42,000 litres of petrol
- More than 200 first class returns train fares from London to Edinburgh
- 48 weeks in a five-star London hotel
- Tickets for you and 50 friends for a nine-day cruises round the Mediterranean
Of course, Scrapbook is, erm, entirely confident that there must be some logical explanation to this!
Over to you, Shaun.