NHS Lothian fails to make a bid on Malta House
18 September 2012
Crossreach, the Social Care Arm of the Church of Scotland, is disappointed that NHS Lothian have not made a bid to purchase Malta House. The indication from NHS Lothian was of a valuation that was significantly below the current market value. The Church of Scotland which has a legal responsibility to be a good steward of its charitable resources is therefore proceeding with a sale to another bidder.
One of the largest Third Sector care providers in Scotland, CrossReach counts some of the most vulnerable people among its service users. Over the past few years CrossReach has invested heavily in many of its services, particularly in Adult Care, Children and Families and Services to Older People.
The sale of assets to support new builds and refurbishment of existing services has been an integral part of the strategy to both protect services and secure excellence in service delivery. Failure to achieve the best possible return on the sale of an asset such as Malta House would result in CrossReach’s investment costs being subsidised by its operations, which would not be sustainable, particularly in an already difficult financial climate.
Peter Bailey, Chief Executive Officer of CrossReach, said: “As a charity the Church of Scotland has a legal responsibility to ensure that it is a good steward of its charitable resources. For the Social Care Council this means that we must use our resources to provide services to support the many vulnerable people throughout Scotland who depend on our 70plus projects.
The Council was happy to discuss the option of sale with NHS Lothian but sadly the gap between the current market value of Malta House and the level of offer that NHS Lothian indicated they might be able to make in some six months’ time was so significant that the Trustees of the Church of Scotland would not have been acting responsibly by agreeing to delay the sale.
We wish NHS Lothian LEAP well in the future and welcome the statement that NHS Lothian is confident that they can find suitable accommodation from within their existing buildings that will allow this excellent service to continue.”
The Church of Scotland is disappointed and saddened that NHS Lothian has failed to make a bid for Malta House, but quite clearly the Trustees of the Church of Scotland have a legal duty to protect its charitable assets, something that NHS Lothian are all too aware of. By not going with another purchaser, the Trustees would be failing in their duty to the many hundreds of CrossReach service users in Scotland.
The Church of Scotland has been pleased to lease Malta House to NHS Lothian since 2007. In 2010 when the lease was renewed it was made clear that a sale would be made when conditions were right, and to that end break points were included in the contract. The Church of Scotland has given NHS Lothian adequate warning of possible sale but remains willing to work closely with LEAP to minimise disruption to service users over the next few months.