The Norwegian Directorate of Health will not give a single penny of state aid to the organization, which was due to open Norway’s first daycare this month.
The Association for Children’s Palliative Care (FFB) has received over NOK 90 million to establish Andreas House, a 24-hour service for children with terminal conditions.
– Elise Husum, director of the health directorate, tells VG that all future subsidies for the project have now been suspended.
The background is an audit report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which has used the association’s grant funding for the past three years.
– The findings are highly objectionable. We don’t have faith in the Sangh because of the floundering going on today. I would say they misused public funds, says Husum.
The audit found no evidence of personal gain by any of the individuals involved in FFB.
Ear tag removed
Pediatric palliative care is a holistic, interdisciplinary and family-centered approach to children and youth with life-threatening or life-limiting illness.
In 2020, the Storting agreed that the FFB should receive NOK 30 million over five years for a center for children with incurable and critical illnesses.
But the provision for Andrea’s house was removed in the 2023 state budget. Last fall, the Norwegian Directorate of Health audited the association’s expenses.
PwC went deeper into the statistics. Their report will be submitted today, Thursday.
– knew the trick
– The association incurs unreasonably high expenses. They have deliberately manipulated the accounts. “We have never faced such serious cases before,” says Husum.
He points out that the organization has charged the government-sponsored Andreas Hus project expenses that should have been paid by the association itself.
– This is not accidental. “We haven’t experienced other nonprofits that have deliberately inflated costs in an account,” says Husum.
He heads a department in the Norwegian Directorate of Health that allocates NOK 1.5 billion to organizations and foundations in the voluntary sector each year.
– Andrea’s house is a big project in terms of purpose, says Husum.
– No comment
The new leader, former health minister Anskar Gabrielson (H), briefed PwC on Monday about a critical audit report.
– I have no comment before the board meeting, Gabrielson tells VG.
The Association’s Executive Committee meets on Thursdays at 10 a.m.
The FFB has been given time till February 10 to submit its comments.
– Until we negotiate with the board of the association, we will not make any decision on how much to repay, says Elise Husum.
– How much would be appropriate to request?
– I assume we are talking about a double digit million amount.
Didn’t report to the police
Andrea’s home was due to open to patients in January this year.
– What happens if the decision not to grant further grants remains?
– The board must assess whether the basis for operations still exists and how the business should be financed.
– Does their decision affect the offer for weak and vulnerable group?
– I think it’s a real shame, but we can’t help it. Our job is to check that grant funds are being used appropriately.
– Did the association commit a crime?
– However, there is a violation of the terms and conditions of the grants. Department director says we haven’t lodged a complaint with the police yet.
The municipality of Kristiansand financed the construction of Andrea’s house with NOK 75 million. 17 employees are associated with the business.
– No personal gain
PwC found that the association lacked documented control over how grant funds were used and accounting transactions were recorded.
FFB does not have good practices for procurement and capacity evaluations.
But the auditors found nothing to indicate unfair, personal gain.
On the other hand, several findings have been made that deserve criticism, writes PwC.
The report also questioned whether the board and the auditor had enough information about the financial conditions of the scheme.
The association provided NOK 12 million worth of prepaid furniture and fixtures by the end of the year, which the Directorate of Health specifically reflected on as being delivered only later.
– We have paid a lot of subsidies, which do not cover the costs, Husum says.
Project Andrea’s home was also charged for goods and services, which were withdrawn after a complaint – instead recognized as income to the association.
– We don’t see this very often, says the department director in the health directorate.
– Spending at the top level
PwC also points out that NOK 1.2 million of the rent for the association’s office premises in Kristiansand is fully charged to the childcare facility.
The grant letters from the Directorate of Health stipulate that the purchase of equipment must be reasonable. Auditors ask whether reasonableness requirements have been fully complied with.
It highlights that the consortium spent NOK 11.6 million on PR and consulting services and NOK 4.6 million on advertising and marketing.
The report concludes that the expenditure is sometimes “above what can be classified as reasonable and necessary”.
Before her departure, the association’s board decided in October to close the hospice program, but at the same time seek support for Andrea’s home through 2023.
– Take criticism to heart
FFB founder and general secretary Natasha Pedersen signed at the time Websites of the Association:
– We welcome criticism for many of the priorities and actions we have taken during the project phase.
He expressed happiness over the investigation being conducted by the Directorate of Health.
– At the same time, it is important to show that we have applied, been approved and reported all expenses in detail, Pedersen wrote.
Andrea was the name of his terminally ill daughter who died at the age of 17. The confirmation money is the start-up capital for Andrea’s home.
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