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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Closure on the Heyday disaster

Every time I say: “that’s the last time I write anything about Heyday” something else emerges that warrants a blog posting.

This time it is the publication of a report by Sir Christopher Kelly (The chairman of the NSPCC and of the Committee on Standards in Public Life) and was written at the behest of Age Concern. Well done Age Concern for wanting to get all of the mess out into the open.

This report should/must be mandatory reading for any management team intending to have a punt at the 50-plus market. I squirmed as I read it.

Here are a few quotes from Sir Christopher Kelly:
"A classic case study of what not to do if you want an organisation to succeed".

"There was a significant failure of governance", and Heyday was "planned and implemented in a way that was almost bound to fail".

"Heyday was a high-profile programme by a major charity that went disastrously wrong and ended up costing the charity significant amounts of money," said Kelly. "Not to account for that in an intelligible way to their own members and supporters, still less the wider public, seems to me to be untenable."

He was "struck by an element of defensiveness in the ACE culture, and by what I see as an unwillingness on the part of some, until very recently, to face up to the reality of what happened with Heyday".

"There was a strong element of wishful thinking in the charity's approach" and "some of those concerned became carried away with the strength of the vision". There were "potentially important lessons here for other charities" to learn, he added.
For the first time, it is possible to see a detailed breakdown of the £22m losses incurred by Age Concern that includes £6.7m on an IT system commissioned from IBM that did not work properly and £7.3m on employing staff.

I am ashamed of that my ex-employer was involved in this mess. It must have been clear that the Heyday staff didn't have a clue about IT but IBM kept sending the invoices.

What a nightmare. Being able to say: “told you so” gives me absolutely no pleasure. Dick Stroud

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