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Contact: Lisa Richards 01597 826371
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
There were no declarations of interest.
To consider the SWAP Internal Audit report together with the action plan arising from the audit.
· SWAP Project Review of Y Gaer (Lessons Learned)
· Service Response to SWAP report
· The Chair reminded the Committee that they were to consider the lessons learned from the Y Gaer project to ensure future projects such as 21 Century Schools, Mid Wales Growth Deal and GCRE were all subject to good governance and strict project and financial management. The role of the Committee was to seek assurance that the Action Plan was adequate for future projects. A key role was to scrutinize the financial affairs of the Council and ensure value for money particularly bearing in mind that the vast majority of spend on such projects was public money.
· The Assistant Director, SWAP, informed the Committee that this had been a difficult review which had taken considerable time. He wished to thank everyone involved particularly the Lead Auditor for undertaking the work during challenging times.
· The Assistant Director took the Committee through a timeline of events and highlighted that the review considered budgeting, capacity and capability, tendering and procurement, the construction phase and engagement with users and stakeholders.
· He confirmed that he had had unfettered access to people and available records but noted that a number of officers had changed over the lifetime of the project which had had an impact on accessing some records.
· Project Initiation and Planning - a number of options had been considered but the offer of a grant had been the key driver. Clear aims were in place which followed the Regeneration Strategy and became more focussed in the later stages. The project execution plan remained stagnant as the project rapidly evolved and was not live enough to enable a speedy response. The lack of continuity of officers was also of concern. Planning lacked formalisation which negatively impacted in the later stages. The absence of a business case contributed to unrealistic proposals and the Council demonstrated an unrealistic bias.
· Funding – this had been integral and influential. An application for a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant had not been successful in 2008 but the scope had been improved and £2.1 was awarded in 2010. £5.1M of the £8.4M project was to be provided by the Council with several options under consideration including a LABV, property sales etc. The LABV was not pursued. Consideration had also been given to not proceeding. Ultimately the Council committed to the grant in 2013 but was uncertain regarding the remaining funding. Finance Officers raised concerns. Prudential borrowing was identified if no other options were available. However there had been no indication of cost. It was considered that the Council was overly concerned with external funding.
· Governance – it was concluded that governance was in place initially but that roles and responsibilities were not clearly defined. There was a complex and lengthy chain of command. Information improved post 2016 but was very technical in nature. No delegated powers were defined. Visibility and transparency were not clear when elements of the project were failing. There had been no training for those ... view the full minutes text for item 3.