Failed after-school programme had faced scrutiny

Nicky Smith. Photo: LinkedIn
Nicky Smith. Photo: LinkedIn
An embattled after-school care programme, now in liquidation, was already under the gun after an assessment turned up 10 "critical actions" to be addressed before accreditation was granted.

Until last week, My After School Headquarters (Mash) provided programmes for primary school pupils in the South Island, including Dunedin.

The company was placed in voluntary liquidation at 6.20pm on Friday. Shareholders appointed Brenton Hunt as liquidator.

Te Kāhui Kāhu general manager Nicky Smith said the social services accreditation provider visited Mash sites in November last year and found 10 "critical actions" which meant Out of School Care and Recreation (Oscar) approval was not given.

However, steps were being taken to remedy the issues, Ms Smith said.

"Most information to address the critical actions was provided, with additional time allowed for the outstanding information required for compliance with our financial standard, and we had been working with the provider to supply this when we received notification of liquidation," she said.

The Oscar assessment included both gathering supporting information and a site visit to ascertain whether the after-school care provider met minimum requirements in a range of areas, including health and safety, governance and management, financial sustainability and client services.

When Mash was first approved the company had met Te Kāhui Kāhu standards for approval, she said.

Ms Smith did not say whether the after-school care provider now owed Dunedin schools money after its abrupt end.

"Oscar programmes are private businesses, regardless of whether they run on school sites or not.

"The liquidators are the best people to respond to questions about the business."

The Otago Daily Times has made repeated attempts to contact Mash managing director Craig Fortune, but after speaking with him last week the newspaper has been unable to contact him since.

The ODT has reported the company failed to pay some workers before its demise.

In an email to staff, obtained by the ODT last week, Mr Fortune said there had been issues with staff pay for the past two pay periods.

He went on to tell Christchurch’s Chris Lynch Media that his company, which also operates in Canterbury and Nelson, was owed about $800,000 by parents yet to make payments.

The New Zealand Companies Office companies register shows Mr Fortune incorporated Mash in 2011.

It also shows he incorporated a new company, Kids Matter 2024, last month.

Asked if the new company would be accredited as an after-school care provider, Ms Smith said Te Kāhui Kāhu considered applications on a case-by-case basis.

Any assessment would include considering a range of information and a site visit to determine if the relevant minimum standards were met, she said.