Finally raised (and settled), the £454,000 bill racked up over six years for providing meals to Wisbech care complex

15:48 09 April 2014

Roddons Housing Association

Roddons Housing Association

Archant

A bill grew to £454,000 over six years after no one bothered to collect the money - owed to Cambridgeshire County Council- for providing meals to residents of a Wisbech care home.

A bill grew to £454,000 over six years after no one bothered to collect the money - owed to Cambridgeshire County Council- for providing meals to residents of a Wisbech care home.

Roddons Housing Association took over the running of Somers Court, Somers Road, from Fenland Council in 2007 and for the next six years collected money paid by residents for their meals.

But a report to the county council cabinet reveals that the meals provider – Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS- did not raise an invoice which they insist was not their responsibility anyway.

It was not until the beginning of last year that the error was noticed and since then Roddons “have paid the full amount they were holding on behalf of the county council, £454,000, all of which relates to previous financial years.”

Chris Smith, one time managing director of Roddons and now regional operations director for the parent association Circle Housing, said: “In common with all organisations we only pay a supplier after an invoice is submitted.

“We have been in regular contact with Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust during this time. As soon as an invoice was submitted, it was paid in full.”

Somers Court is an extra care housing complex, built in 1991, and consists of 38 one-bedroom flats with a residents’ only dining room.

Mark Robbins, deputy director of finance for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust, said: “The trust employed the catering staff at Somers Court until July 2013. Therefore whilst the trust had no contractual requirement to recover income for meals - or any other client income- from tenants, we invoiced Roddons on behalf of the county council as soon as it became clear that this issue had arisen to ensure a rapid resolution.”

Margaret Green, manager at Somers Court for 15 years, says on the housing scheme’s website that NHS trust lost the care provision last July when it switched to Radis.

Radis describes itself as a “community based care and support provider that was established in 2001.”

Mrs Green says: “We have a main kitchen where the cook and kitchen assistant on duty provide the main hot meal at lunchtimes and afternoon tea.

“Somers Court is independent living, however, we like to think it is a home for life, therefore, we have a diverse range of care needs within the complex.”

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