A LOCAL charity is at loggerheads with Slough Borough Council (SBC), alleging the authority owed them £111,000 in backdated bills.

There is an ongoing dispute between the local authority and Slough Crossroads, which has been providing care to disabled and vulnerable children and adults in the town and Bucks for over 30 years.

The disagreement comes from a bid by the charity to increase its staff wages.

In February last year, the charity reports to have informed SBC, who commission its services, that it was increasing its rates in order to pay its workers above the national minimum wage as they worked throughout Covid.

The charity said it wanted to pay its staff £10 per hour and pay the increased National Insurance and pension contributions, as well as bring its service fees in line with other local authorities, such as Bucks Council, by charging a weekday rate of £20 to the council.

READ MORE: Slough's jacket potato stand owners 'overwhelmed' by support

The planned increase in fees would take effect from April 2021. According to the charity, the council and other relevant parties did not respond to their notifications and reminders.

According to Slough Crossroads, SBC paid the increased fee for two months but said the payments for their service stopped and have since alleged the council owed £111,000.

Slough Borough Council has declined to confirm or deny this claim.

Slough Crossroads said it pursued this matter “with urgency” as it is a small organisation with SBC allegedly saying it stopped payment as it ‘did not agree’ with this new charge despite being notified.

A legal battle between the two parties loomed, as the charity threatened the authority with court action and spending a reported £15,000 on legal fees. 

READ MORE: Slough Council buys energy ahead of high prices

The charity has since said a vast majority of the £111,000 invoice was paid during carer’s week in June.

During the battle, Slough Crossroads said it had to stop support and told families that they will need to find alternative care as they ran out of money.

In an email seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, SBC said it was ‘very concerned’ about the ‘potential safeguarding of this action’ as it will cause ‘anxiety and distress’ to the families.

The charity accused the council of putting their clients’ welfare at risk as they had ‘no choice’ but to stop their services.

The council said it does not consider it appropriate to comment any further on the ongoing dispute as a private matter.