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Herefordshire Council audit and governance committee to consider the findings

A review by the South West Audit Partnership (SWAP) was requested by Herefordshire Council's incoming Chief Finance Officer to investigate the Blueschool House project management and overspend. The findings will be considered by the council's audit and governance committee on Wednesday 20 September 2017.

The audit scope included the background to the key decision, the procurement of the contract, changes to the original scope of refurbishment work, an understanding of the escalation of costs and how changes to the contract and refurbishment were authorised.

SWAP has presented the following key findings:

  • The council's normal governance processes were not followed
  • A failure to report to Cabinet that the project could not be delivered to budget
  • The council's procurement procedure rules were not followed
  • There was no project board to oversee the Blueschool House refurbishment, as there should be for all major projects
  • Time constraint pressure contributed to the progression and poor governance of the project

Based on recommendations by SWAP, Herefordshire Council fully accepts the findings. Council management will now consider and determine whether any further action should be taken in regard to individual officers as there was "…a clear disregard for processes and procedures which has resulted in a significant overspend on the project".

Herefordshire Council has now begun a review of its internal procedures following the findings of the audit.

Published: Wednesday, 13th September 2017