Brainduck’s Weblog
Psychology geek tries to explain a few things.

DORE shut

*updated with info on administrators, Friday 31st May*

DORE UK have shut down, officially confirmed.

‘It is with great regret that we have to announce that Dore has been put into the hands of advisors. As a result Dore is closing all of the UK centres which deliver the Dore Programme with immediate effect.

We are determined to find a way for every client who is on the program to have their treatment completed. We are presently exploring alternative arrangements to ensure every client is cared for.

We will be updating this page of our website every few days with news regarding alternative arrangements for continued programme delivery so please check frequently.

We still want to help people to identify any learning difficulties they may be struggling with, so we are continuing to make our online symptoms test available. We will provide you with a personal report that outlines any learning difficulty and the likely severity.’

Staff were told at lunchtime on Friday 23rd. Clients have been discussing what to do next on DORE talk. I’ve set up an alternative forum (now completely run by DORE parents, I’ve turned over all admin powers) in case DOREtalk closes without notice. Hopefully people will be able to share information on what is going on and any legal steps which should be taken.

What to do now?

If you are a staff member with unpaid wages or a client with uncompleted treatment, probably the most important thing you can do to get your money back is register as a creditor with the administrators. Woodgate in Australia, this is a letter from the UK adminstrators. Unfortunately both the UK and Australian administrators have said that clients are very unlikely to get refunds from Dore itself.

Trading Standards is a good place to start for an overview of the relevant law. If you’ve paid by credit card that’s the first place to try claiming a refund, debit cards are less likely but worth a try. If you have a finance deal then you may also receive some money back (thanks Jon for info) The Insolvency Service has all sorts of useful albeit detailed information, including what to do if you are owed money by a company in liquidation. Citizen’s Advice Bureau may be able to help.

Staff should read this guide to getting some wages back, up to £330/week, more detailed information for employees here (pdf). Forms and how to apply are at Redundancy Payments Service. You should apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance immediately, as it can’t be backdated & will affect how much you can get from the Redundancy Payments Service.

Podblack makes useful suggestions for Australia. I’m no expert here, if you know more please pass it on. Since I originally wrote this entry the US has also shut, again I don’t know a lot about the law there but if you do please tell me and I’ll add it.

What Happened?

I’ve posted some of this previously – here I’m trying to put all the available information in one place in roughly chronological order, in the hope of building up a picture of what was going on.

In January 2008, Gimpy found that the DORE UK accounts showed that they had an accumulated loss of ~£6.8 million to 2006 (~US$13 million ~AUS$14 million). Gimpy and I raised this on DORE talk, but were told that ‘discussion was not appropriate’. Also in January 2008, Convex Capital, a consultancy firm, were brought in. The reasons for this may be inferred from Wynford Dore’s statement ‘I have no hesitation in recommending Convex Capital to any company that wants to make more money, quicker’. Gimpy has since looked at the 2007 accounts, which show an accumulated loss of £8.3 million. Treatments were being funded by the recruitment of new clients. It is difficult to see how existing clients could now be provided with services or refunds, particularly since it is clear that this will not now happen in Australia despite early suggestions that this might be possible, and UK staff having been ‘told they no longer have a job‘.

DORE in the UK and in Australia kept trading as normal, and recruiting clients who were required to pay ~£2000 up-front, right up until they closed (Aus 15th May, UK 23rd May). Cheques in Australia were still being cashed the day parents were told, after the company had gone into administration. In an exceptional piece of bad judgement, Kenny Logan, a rugby player paid by DORE, discussed his dyslexia on BBC Radio Four ‘consumer programme’ ‘You And Yours‘ on 19th May. Although Logan did not mention DORE by name, the presenters went on to discuss the programme by name in wholly favourable terms, even though clients in Australia had already lost everything they paid, and DORE UK would suffer a similar predictable fate just four days later.

FAQs for clients of DORE

‘Couldn’t you see these problems coming?
Answer: We were very confident until just these last few days that funding would be
available to maintain the whole operation. We have spent considerable time in talks with
various investors who have expressed interest in supporting the venture. Unfortunately a
firm agreement has not materialised in time to save the situation.’ (emphasis mine).

DORE Australia did not inform clients or staff that they were entitled to attend the first meeting of creditors
on May 23rd, potentially preventing them receiving any refunds or back wages after liquidation. However, the first media reports a week after the receivership state ‘Giles Woodgate from the administrator Woodgate and Co says it is unlikely that creditors will get their money back’. The only official source of information for DORE Australia clients and staff remains appointments cancelled at short notice, and a post tucked away on DORE talk from Wynford Dore’s daughter, even the website is still up as normal (all as of Friday 23rd May).

Wynford Dore left another education-related company on May 15th, the day DORE Australia collapsed. On May 23rd, when DORE UK shut, Wynford emailed customers personally with an apology, again blaming lack of government support for the closures. DORE UK also placed an announcement on the front page of their website. Wynford’s daughter has also been posting on DOREtalk, wondering whether to keep the forums open for now.

Not much information on the rest of the world for now. A staff member in the Carribean is expecting to go to work as normal on the 24th, and New Zealand was still operating as of the 20th May. However, as the FAQs emailed to clients state ‘After many years and £15 million of funding provided by Wynford, it is clear that our ability to continue subsidising the programme to the extent necessary had become impossible’, it’s not clear how DORE worldwide could continue.

More info when I have it. As ever, if you know anything you want to pass on, please leave a comment or email brainquack at gmail dot com.

I’d also suggest keeping an eye on the blogs Gimpy, Podblack, LeftBrainRightBrain, HolfordWatch and Bad Science for emerging developments.

Why?

Regular readers will be unsurprised to know that I suspect the lack of decent research and evidence for the claims made contributed to difficulties. DORE blamed the Australian situation on their lack of government support, which I have countered previously. Without good evidence that the programme worked, it is unreasonable to expect it to be rolled out widely in schools and the health service. Myomancy has criticised the business model, but I suspect it was never meant to last this long without government funding. When the research didn’t justify further official funding, they couldn’t keep going indefinitely.

Wynford Dore’s farewell email talked about ‘Scientifically proven results‘, when the only published peer-reviewed research was the Balsall Common studies with just six participants who actually had a diagnosis of dyslexia (by comparison, my un-funded, single-handed undergraduate project looks at 12 people with a formal dyslexia diagnosis and 12 matched controls, so it’s not so hard to do). I’ve blogged Balsall Common and discussed it on DOREtalk. I’ve also discussed several pieces of unpublished DORE ‘research’ on this blog. I’m afraid that none of them together or separately even come close to supporting a claim of ‘scientifically proven results’ for dyslexia, or for any of the other conditions which DORE claim to treat. Bad Science has discussed the Balsall Common studies. Podblack has discussed a recent paper on how DORE came to be as accepted as it was in mainstream teaching, and why such practice is not always evidence-based. HolfordWatch has also looked at how the research and the marketing claims do not always match up. LeftBrainRightBrain has gone through the same DORE research into Aspergers, published in a local newspaper, that I looked at. Many of the key research papers and journal letters are available in full for free, and if you’re half the geek I am make for interesting reading. It’s not much more expensive to do good research than bad, and with real results showing effectiveness then you could make a case for DORE to be publically funded. Such results have not been forthcoming. This has been covered up by glitzy marketing, positive anecdotes, and a habit of unleashing the lawyers on anyone who criticised DORE. The legal suppression of criticism has extended to academics, self-help groups, and most horrifyingly even parents who just wanted to say that the treatment didn’t work for their child.

Whatever really happened, the obvious distress of those caught up in it doesn’t do anyone any good. I wish all the best to the clients, & staff who worked directly with them. The one thing all Educational Psychology research can agree on is the importance of hope, supportive and involved care-givers, and I’d add a good streak of determination to that. The families who have the commitment to tackle the DORE programme have every chance of doing well, with or without it. Good luck to all.

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33 Responses to “DORE shut”

  1. [...] Saturday morning, GMT. I’ve written a timeline of UK & international DORE goings-on in another post, will be updating there from now on [...]

  2. There are many many many reasons why the Dore programme wasn’t successful. I am awaiting legal advice before making a posting to show many reasons why the events of the last week were fully predictable.

  3. when a company goes into administration, the administrators have to contact all creditors of the company. Unfortunately, there is a strict order of payment of any residual assets, and the punters are usually the last on this list so may not see any of their money back. (The first to be paid are the administrators themselves)

  4. Very good work Duck. Keep it up.

  5. [...] 5: Brainduck blogs about the history of the Dore programme, how they have handled their financial troubles, and [...]

  6. Duck, that is such a sensitive and well written entry. The people who have lost out will most likely be the people who can least afford to.

  7. Something else to note – maybe worth posting on the forum, too? – is that, as well as those who paid by credit card, those who got a finance deal to pay for the treatment may have some options under the Consumer Credit Act: see http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/resource_base/legal/cca/equal-liability

    I should emphasise that I’ve limited knowledge of this stuff – and anyone with a loan that may be covered needs to seek advice from someone who is qualified to advise on this. It does seem worth investigating, though.

  8. [...] May 25, 2008 · No Comments The Dore programme offers miracles to transform the lives of children with ASD, dyslexia and learning difficulties but now the business is collapsing, leaving broken dreams, and unanswered questions. [...]

  9. I think 90% of the reason Dore went bust at this time is the credit crunch. Most of Dores clients were low income families, the sort of people that credit has become prohibitively expensive for, or not available at all. I dont think Dore has lost any real money yet but can forsee that new customers wont be able to pay in the current financial climate due to the lack of available credit.

  10. I am really disappointed with what has happened – I know people are very sceptical about the Dore Programme, but when you have no alternatives you are prepared to spend £2,000 out of desperation. I have a 10 year old who still can’t read books for 5 year olds and it breaks my heart to see him struggle. Like all parents I want to ‘make him better’ but there isn’t anything else out there. We have been doing this for 15 months now and I was hoping we were coming to the end of the exercises which we try really hard to do twice a day.

    I have just read the Contract we were given which states that you need to do 95% of the exercises given and, whilst we do try hard, there are days when we are away or he has twisted an ankle playing football at school, and exercises aren’t possible. We also had a broken arm last summer, something else which made it impossible for him to do his exercises.

    An exerpt from the contract reads:

    “Duration of the Contract

    Our programme requires out commitment to you until the 1st anniversary of the start of the course of treatment, and, subject as mentioned below, that is the period of the Contract. However, the duration of treatment is complete either (a) when we determine that further participation by the client will not result in significant further improvement or (b) 12 months after the date on which it started (at our discretion, providing 95% exercise completion compliance, we will extend this up to a maximum of 24 mnths (without further charge) should there be specific circumstances that affect your ability to complete the programme within the 12 month period), whichever occurs first.”

    I think we are out of time, having gone past the 1st anniversary of commencing the programme – even if we did have a three month break for a broken arm. I haven’t calculated the percentage of exercises we have done, but would think it is lower than 95% – 95% is actually a very tall order for any child to complete a task on a daily basis – let alone a dyslexic child who needs constant reminding of even the smallest routine task (brush your teeth!!!), as I am sure any parent will realise.

    I don’t know what to do with my child now, I haven’t told him what has happened and we are still doing his exercises twice a day with him. I still want to help him beat dyslexia, but without Dore I feel we have no lifeline.

    Anyway, I have probably written this in the wrong place, but hey … I just wanted to say it anyway.

    Good luck to all the staff … you are all wonderful and deserve better than this … you offered hope and support to us and to our children and we love you. xxx

  11. Thanks everyone. Having had more than 1000 hits just on the first day of writing this, there’s obviously a lot of worried people out there. Good luck. You might also want to take a look at Gimpy’s collection of just about everything that’s been blogged on Dore by several people: http://gimpyblog.wordpress.com/2008/05/26/links-about-dore/

    Thanks very much for the comments, & Kat & Jon for the information, if you know anything else please pass it on! Also, see above for ‘What to do now’, and please pass it on to any parents & staff who need to know.

    Tom, Dore had some fairly specific arrangements for credit, so I doubt it was that.

    Annie, thanks for that. 95% is extremely high. A friend did some research into compliance with medication amongst HIV+ adults, and found that having people achieve 95% even for taking a pill twice a day, which is the only thing that can save their life, is very hard to do. That’s just adults swallowing a pill!

    One thing that I would want to emphasise again is that you do have a ‘lifeline’ without Dore. I’m dyspraxic myself, and actually most of those blogging this have dyslexia & similar difficulties – but not having Dore hasn’t held any of us back! I’m doing my dissertation on dyslexics at university – there’s lots of us out there, being successful & getting on with life. One of the things that makes me saddest about all this is that people have been misled to think that without Dore they have no hope for their child’s future. Children with parents who are prepared to give that sort of time & commitment have every chance of doing well & growing up to live stable & productive lives – regardless of any specific intervention. Don’t give up!

  12. has anyone found out who the administrators are yet ???/

  13. I find it very strange that this hasn’t hit the british press yet – what is going on. Is there some kind of cover up? As far as I can see there is no reporting on this, which considering the coverage the media have previously given Dore, I find very odd

  14. Jackie, the UK financial situation isn’t very clear at all. Will let you know as soon as I find anything more out!

    Annie, mostly the press have been saying what Dore’s expensive PR machine has told them to say. No PR handouts = no story. All there’s been is a bit in the Guardian ‘Bad Science’ column: http://www.badscience.net/?p=705

  15. Hi everyone,

    I was one of the very unfortunate staff members told at 1pm last friday that I was out of a job and would not be paid for the months work that I have done. Dore was not a good place to work anyway with our jobs constantly under threat and the fear that if you mentioned that you where unhappy you would be sacked as happened to quite a few new people. I like all of my former collegues find myself on the breadline with no money and having to go cap in hand to the bank etc to get by whilst I desperately search for employment. The shock was unbelievable as 20 minutes prior to the announcement we where being encouraged to make more bookings by the head of sales .I sincerely hope that all of the clients who where with the program get through and succeed as it’s a fantastic programme but it was in a poor business model. xxx

  16. Nicola,

    First thing, see under ‘What to do now’ and claim Jobseeker’s Allowance. You should be able to get a bit of money back.

    I can’t quite believe how badly the staff have been treated, when there’s obviously many who deeply believed in the programme. Everyone at the centres seems to have gone, the local news said 50 people had been sacked in Kenilworth – but Dore are still paying their very expensive PR firm.

    Annie – yes there is a cover-up. They are still using the same legal threats & expensive, high-power PR to cover things up as they ever did. They are still finding the money for that, and preventing the story of the collapse from being published. I’m still too scared to give my real name!

  17. Duck, I think the credit crunch is the best reason for dore to close. They relied accutely on peoples ability to obtain credit, many of whom would have bad credit scores, just as affecting an aweful lot of other industries at the moment, this finance is no longer tenable, either stupidly expensive (>20%) or not able to be offered at all.

    I just hope that people will be able to get the money back from somewhere, its encouraging that there seem to be legal options for both people who paid on card and on finance.

  18. Duck, I really feel for both staff and clients, you say you are too scared to give your real name, but I think everybody is in the same boat! If ‘they’ find out who is trying to raise awareness then those people feel at risk of being denied any further treatments, if or when they become available.

    I suppose with the staff it is highly unlikely they will receive their hard earned cash or even a reference that is worth the paper it’s written on – and they are all good people. They are ‘people people’ who spent their days trying to improve peoples lives. I live by the philosophy that you ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’ – I don’t think you can go far wrong that way. The staff were of the sort that wouldn’t do wrong to another and yet they have been wronged. Yes, it isn’t fair. They have every right to think this. It is not their fault.

    I took my child for treatment, but I realise how hard it was for the staff to do their job – the endless questions we had to answer, with naturally restless children, in tight spaces with, it has to be said, limited resources available.

    We haven’t thought about trying to get any money back, yet – we paid our initial consultation in November 2006 and the rest on a card in about February 2007 – it seems such a long time ago now and I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. I suppose I am being naive, but I would still like to see my child finish what we started, we aren’t born quitters.

    Keep talking.

  19. [...] and on any benefits you may be entitled to. You will find additional practical information on this blog post. Taking action sooner rather than later may help you to minimise your losses. If you are [...]

  20. I am still very concerned about this situation, especially the mydore website, I think this is being used to make it harder for clients to claim back any mony from the finance company.(the finance company would ordinarily have some legal obligation towards them I gather)

    I really think clients should get together and try to protect themselves, Dore will have a team of very good legal people and they will crush people individually, but if people got together and were represented in some sort of class action, a positive outcome is far more likey.

    I woul suggest people getting in touch initially by email, appointing a team to selct legal representation. A web site would be a good idea to attract more clients and try and get some press coverage.

    This could all be be done very cheaply and perhaps could be done on a no win no fee basis, all it would take is a little organisation but would save further heartache and expense by many many hard done by clients.

  21. TomJ,

    I see your point, but the problem from the client’s perspective isn’t just about the money.

    It is two-fold and just aiming to get the money back is only half the issue.

    The other half is finishing the programme!

    I worry that if I set out to get the money back, then my child will never be able to finish the course – if that is ever an option. As ‘trouble makers’ we would be blacklisted in the event that another organisation is set up to take over (as has been suggested on some websites).

    I am certain that I am not alone with that concern.

    We also have quite a problem on these sites identifying who is who! Staff and Clients alike are afraid of the consequences. Plus it would be very easily infiltrated – as the only method we have as identifying ourselves as clients is our PID – a number issued by Dore!

  22. Yes, I certainly see your last point, but I dont think its impossible.

    Regarding the point of continuing the course, I dont think this is going to be possible in any way like it was before. When firms in this position are rescued, it is generally by another person in the same industry, that thinks they have better knowledge of the market and can realise cost savings through synergies, there is no other firm like this in this case, so I can see how another investor would invest in this failed venture.

    IF somone else did come along, I am sure they would gladly take your money, afterall, it would not be them that your ation was against, it would be Dore, an entity which no longer exists.

    I think it is very important for someone to take this up, a little action on someones part could save a lot of people a lot of money, cash wich would them be spent on these childrens treatment.

  23. This sounds like a good idea. I am happy to gather contact details and have created an address for this purpose. Please send me your names and numbers, along with details of when you joined Dore etc. Any further suggestions of what we need to achieve would also be helpful.

    Please forward to anyone that is interested.

    regards

    Chris

  24. Chris

    I hope you don’t mind me asking, but where do you fit into the grand scheme of things?

    Are you staff, client or interested party?

    Hope you don’t think I am being nosey, and I will happily email you on the address given, but for peace of mind, I would perhaps like to know a little bit more about you.

    Perhaps Duck can help me with this. I feel sure I can trust Duck!!! (Not that I don’t trust you, Chris). I am still new at this blog thing, having never been involved in one before and I am still a bit anxious! I hope you understand :-)

    Annie

  25. I’ve already been in contact with Chris elsewhere, I’m about as sure as you can be on the Internet that he is who he says he is.

    Quick note – I’m not going to be keeping this blog up-to-date for the next few days, as I’m away for a bit. Meanwhile, I’d suggest keeping an eye on other blogs for the latest news.

    Gimpy http://gimpyblog.wordpress.com/?s=dore
    HolfordWatch http://holfordwatch.info/?s=dore
    Podblack http://podblack.wordpress.com/?s=dore&searchsubmit=Find+%C2%BB

    Also, ‘cos I’ve just handed in my dissertation (hooray!) I’m now technically unemployed. If anyone has read this & thought ‘ooh, that Duck sounds interesting, I want to give her a job’, please bung me an email. Interests include science communication, developmental psychology, behavioural therapies, CBT, psychobiology, health psychology, addiction, & indeed just about anything vaguely psychology-related. I’m used to organising stuff, have led small teams, taken responsibility for vulnerable children & adults, and have done quite a lot of different sorts of hands-on care work. brainquack at gmail dot com.

  26. [...] I am sorry to be passing on bad news here. If you are owed money by Dore, I would, once again, strongly suggest that you seek advice ASAP on whether you will be able to reclaim any of this money. The Citizens’ Advice Bureau are a good, free first port of call, and brainduck lists some helpful links. [...]

  27. [...] the consumer rights bureau in that country, called Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Brainduck has some featured financial info too and if you’re in Australia you’ll be checking out my earlier post on the [...]

  28. [...] Bureau offer free advice which may be of use to clients affected by this difficult situation, Brainduck also has some useful links. I have nothing to add to Holfordwatch’s comments on this sad outcome. Dore’s FAQ also [...]

  29. [...] (months after Gimpy reported his concerns about Dore’s finances, and one day before it was reported that Dore Australia were in Administration) Christopher Chope MP (Con.) spoke at length about Dore in the House of Commons*. Christopher [...]

  30. These are the Dore administrators’ details:

    FRASER GRAY, JOANNE WRIGHT and JAMIE GLEAVE of:
    KROLL LIMITED
    The Observatory
    Chapel Walks
    Manchester
    M2 1HL

    0161 838 4543

    dorehelpline@kroll.com

  31. hi
    sorry for any wrong spelling my english is not good but we need help
    We live in Australia-Sydney

    My son was on Dore program and we only had 3 appoitments
    we take “full Finacing”with them because we did not have money to pay up front now the company who we have finance with want us to continue payments but we never sighn anything except the dore agriment
    and not with “myobe financing”
    can someone who have similar problem let me know what to do or give me the numbers here in Australia who I can contact regarding this metter because we don’t wanna pay for something what my son can’t use
    and can we get our money back?
    thank you all for your help

  32. [...] has a good post giving an overview of what happened and has set-up an alternative to the Dore Talk forum to take over when the official Dore Talk forum [...]


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