North West Wales

Gwynedd homes director Richard Jones loses sacking case

Homes with scaffolding outside
Image caption Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd took over ownership of Gwynedd council's housing stock in April 2010

An industrial tribunal has thrown out a claim by a former housing association director who said he was sacked because he found a £800,000 deficit in Gwynedd council home transfer proposals.

Richard Jones was sacked a month after Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG) took over the housing stock in April 2010.

He claimed unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal but it found in favour of the housing association.

CCG chief executive Ffrancon Williams said he was pleased with the ruling.

"We can now move on, and I want to reassure our tenants that we remain confident, as we were before transfer, that we will deliver the £136m worth of improvements we promised to their homes over the next four years," he said after the case.

The three-day tribunal in Abergele was told that the association chief executive voiced concerns about Mr Jones' performance.

Mr Williams, who was former head of housing at the county council, said Mr Jones had been "firing from the hip".

'Catastrophic mistake'

Mr Jones, from Deganwy, began work as director of corporate service with the association in April 2009.

The shortfall was due to the authority's housing revenue account, covering maintenance, being left out of the transfer proposal on which tenants had been asked to vote, he said.

"Someone made a catastrophic mistake in 2008," he said.

The hearing was told that it was too much of a coincidence that his dismissal in May 2010 followed so soon after he had pointed out the error which, he claimed, should have been spotted earlier.

"The gap was there and the figures should have gone into the business plan and been validated," he said.

Mr Jones said it was a shock to be told at the end of a meeting, which he had not realised was a disciplinary hearing, that he had to leave his office immediately.

Questioned by Carlo Breen, for CCG, he said he felt there were no other grounds for the dismissal.

But, after hearing all the evidence, the tribunal threw out the unfair dismissal claim.

After the case, CCG chief executive Mr Williams said: "I would like to stress that we have acted properly throughout this case and our financial and business planning has been thorough and robust from the outset.

"We have ensured that the Welsh Assembly Government and our funders have been kept informed throughout this case and they remain confident that CCG is fully capable of delivering its promises to tenants."

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