Don’t bother us, we’re busy Mandating!

The bank accounts of the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council have been vested with the Royal Bank of Scotland since the year dot! Well, at least since the RBLCC was born, which was away back when the RBS was a serious bank, before Fred Goodwin aka “Fred the Shred” wrecked it.

So, it made sense that when the Community Council was required to create a new bank account recently, to securely and transparently manage the Micro Grant Scheme recently introduced by SLC, that we would also open just such an account with RBS in Lanark too. That was our first mistake!

It all had to be done quickly and efficiently to satisfy the protocols of the SLC Micro Grant Scheme. We opened the account with RBS and placed the £5,000 received from SLC into it at RBS Lanark. The account required three signatories, and these were provided at the time by our Chair, Vice-Chair and Treasurer. What could possibly go wrong?

We then set about complying with the nitty-gritty details of publicising the Micro Grant Scheme to organisations and charities locally, providing SLC application forms to any and all who wished to apply for such a grant, each for their own specific purpose.

We received a healthy response from local organisations and convened a CC meeting to discuss, clarify and ratify each application. The Community Council chose to award six grants of £500 each to each of six deserving local organisations whose applications complied with the protocols. So far so good!

On the premise that it would be worthwhile to maximise publicity regarding these awards, we chose to host a wee meeting in the Harry Smith Centre to present the successful applicants with their cheques, on the basis that such publicity would encourage other organisations to apply for a grant at the next series of awards (we are required to have all grants made and our account empty before the following year’s grant money can be issued to us). That was our second mistake!

A convivial meeting was held as arranged and six cheques were handed over to, and gratefully received by, six delighted local organisations. AND EVERY ONE OF THEM BOUNCED!       

They bounced, we were advised, because when all of the detailed new account paperwork was sent to RBS Head Office all of the three autographs provided by our members had disappeared! (And no! We did not use invisible ink!”

Our treasurer, who is now suffering from PTSE as a result of this debacle, has been in RBS in Lanark trying to sort it all out more often than she has been in bed over the last fortnight, with no success!

“Why no’?” I can hear you ask. Because somewhere in a deep dark cave in Auld Reekie there is a secret RBS society known as the “Mandate” team, and apparently it is only the “Mandate Team” who can solve the problem of the missing signatures. I’m probably being naïve, but it might have been quicker if our Lanark branch had just called all three of us in and got three new signatures?

But then a ghostly voice came up from the bowels of the earth (Fred the Shred?) to explain that the Mandate Team are so terribly, terribly, busy mandating (sounds kinky when you say it like that!) that they won’t get around to sorting it out for a while yet. Apparently, the mandating team can’t attend to our petty problem until they’ve sorted out a much bigger one at RBS HQ! Breathe deeply Lynne, this might take a while!

Meanwhile …. Some of the organisations who have been the beneficiaries of the largesse of Micro Grant Scheme, in an effort to comply with the protocols of the grant, (they are required to have their stated objective completed and receipts submitted to SLC by end March) have already spent cash in anticipation of receipts from RBLCC and are now in deficit!

The Royal Bank of Scotland – so big we can afford not to care!


Frank Gunning shares his views on various local issues in his Let's Be Frank column.