EXCLUSIVE: Charity was forced to call in liquidator over debts of £215,000
The National Playbus Association went into liquidation because of two employment tribunals
A charity ordered to pay £160,000 to two Scottish employees it sacked unfairly has confirmed it called in a liquidator because it couldn’t afford to pay up.
Directors at the National Playbus Association, which operated under the name Working on Wheels, confirmed in a report compiled as part of the liquidation process that the result of the two employment tribunals was the charity’s principal reason for closure.
Seen by Third Force News, the report outlines further debts of around £45,000 taking the total owed to creditors to around £215,000.
Neil Logan, the charity’s former director for Scotland was awarded £129,544.37 at an employment tribunal on 13 December after it was deemed he was unfairly dismissed on 28 January 2016.
Logan was awarded such a large payout in compensation for disability discrimination and the the treatment he received after whistleblowing concerns about how the charity was being run.
However, Logan is now unlikely to see much more than £30,000, and still could end up with nothing.
A second tribunal saw another senior member of staff based in Scotland also win £27,269.69 compensation for unfair dismissal. They are unlikely to see more than £5,000.
Creditors are paid out of money raised by the sale of a company’s assets but the National Playbus Association’s assets are listed as being worth just £65,470.
If sold for their full estimated value there would be only around £55,000 to share among creditors once initial costs and payments are taken off.
Speaking to TFN, Logan said he had attended a creditors’ meeting in Bristol where the charity’s head office is, describing it as a difficult experience to sit in the same room as three of the charity’s trustees.
“Going by the figures presented it is very unlikely I will receive anywhere close to the £130,000 compensation awarded at tribunal,” he said.
“I could quite rightly feel very aggrieved about this as I have made no income for 12 months but if I receive £100 or £100,000 I would feel the same way.
“It has never been about the money. It was about clearing my name and exposing practices which should have no place in the third sector.
“Whistleblowing as I have learnt can be very costly to an individual who is brave enough to do it however if I was to turn the clock back to September 2015 I would do the same thing again.”
Originally formed in 1969, the charity, an umbrella membership organisation which supports mobile community work across the UK, received the majority of its recent funding through the Scottish Government to run the roadshow element of its Play Talk Read campaign.
That funding came to an end on 31 December and the Scottish Government is not listed as a creditor.
The charity closed on 31 December and at the time is understood to have employed 17 staff – 14 were based in Scotland – who were all made redundant.
It is unknown how long it will take for the charity’s assets to be sold by the liquidator and for an offer to be made to creditors.