Senior members of staff to be used in future Three Rivers projects after William Penn Leisure Centre 'failings'

Watford Observer: Senior members of staff to be used in future Three Rivers projects Senior members of staff to be used in future Three Rivers projects

Future large-scale council projects will be run by full-time, senior members of staff as a way of preventing a repeat of the management "failings" which led to the William Penn fiasco, politicians have agreed.

The redevelopment of William Penn Leisure Centre began in March 2007 and overran by more than two years and £4 million.

Three Rivers District Council commissioned accountants, Grant Thornton, to undertake a review of where the project went wrong.

At a Full Council meeting on Tuesday night, a motion was put forward by conservative councillor, David Sansom, and seconded by Councillor Tony Barton, which looked at implementing the recommendations suggested by the external auditors.

The motion stated: "Grant Thornton identified the key factor underpinning all the issues encountered on this project as the absence of a clear formal project management approach.

"Also the lack of suitable training for members charged with the political oversight of the project was highlighted as a contributory factor in the project’s difficulties."

The motion sought to commit the council to "ensuring that senior staff responsible for managing future major projects are full-time and suitably qualified".

Rickmansworth representative, Councillor Sansom, said: "The auditor is clear that it was the management of the project by this council that was the cause of most of the problems."

He criticised Three Rivers’ decision to put an "unqualified and relatively junior council officer" in charge of the project.

Councillor Sansom also criticised Three Rivers signing a contract with Hertsmere Leisure, which left the council vulnerable to paying reparations if the project was not delivered on-time, which, as a result "cost this council a great deal of money".

Councillor Sansom said: "All these are management failings that have condemned local taxpayers to footing the bill for the extra £4 million it cost to complete this project."

He warned that more care needed to be given to other projects, such as the South Oxhey Initiative and that members needed to be trained in scrutiny.

Councillor Sansom added: "As one of the definitions of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. I would imagine that even the Liberal Democrats will want to do things differently."

Leader of the Liberal Democrat-run council, Ann Shaw, said she "supports the motion in principle" and politicians agreed to address the management concerns which were laid out in the Grant Thornton report.

Comments (5)

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4:48pm Thu 27 Feb 14

cgpc Rob says...

Why should we as residents have faith in our cllrs or officers in managing any future high cost projects projects?

Didn't cllrs/officers read the specs of the contracts signed and understand the significance!

Where is the loss coming from, reserves. increased council tax, increase in officers wages or cllrs allowances?

Anyone know.
Why should we as residents have faith in our cllrs or officers in managing any future high cost projects projects? Didn't cllrs/officers read the specs of the contracts signed and understand the significance! Where is the loss coming from, reserves. increased council tax, increase in officers wages or cllrs allowances? Anyone know. cgpc Rob

6:06pm Thu 27 Feb 14

martin grant says...

This beggars belief. What major qualifications have the majority of senior officers

By going down this road will alleviate the blame from the ruling Lib/Dem Councillors from future `financial distress` project.

`Have the lunatics taken over the asylum`?




Have the lunatics taken over the asylum`

This beggars belief after the William Penn farce?

As Oliver Cromwell said ` you have sat here too long`. Be gone















?

Future developements which may go into `financial distress`
This beggars belief. What major qualifications have the majority of senior officers By going down this road will alleviate the blame from the ruling Lib/Dem Councillors from future `financial distress` project. `Have the lunatics taken over the asylum`? Have the lunatics taken over the asylum` This beggars belief after the William Penn farce? As Oliver Cromwell said ` you have sat here too long`. Be gone ? Future developements which may go into `financial distress` martin grant

10:24pm Thu 27 Feb 14

cgpc Rob says...

It could be the same at all levels of councils, undertaking tasks that they aren't up to

A little one from CGPC as an example

They decided to hold a local producers market, two cllrs lead the event, hardly any reporting if any at all back to council, advert taken for £140 in local news mag advertising the time/date of market, still nothing at council, attended a full council meeting on the Thurs before the event on the Sat.

Nothing said at that meeting, went home, looked on parish website, announcement, LPM cancelled, no announcement at all to cllrs attending meeting, eventually they stated that they had expected about 25 stall holders, only had three confirmed, yet they still went ahead and still took out advert, posters etc etc, didn't happen.

Is it only the economy of scale thats different from between councils!
It could be the same at all levels of councils, undertaking tasks that they aren't up to A little one from CGPC as an example They decided to hold a local producers market, two cllrs lead the event, hardly any reporting if any at all back to council, advert taken for £140 in local news mag advertising the time/date of market, still nothing at council, attended a full council meeting on the Thurs before the event on the Sat. Nothing said at that meeting, went home, looked on parish website, announcement, LPM cancelled, no announcement at all to cllrs attending meeting, eventually they stated that they had expected about 25 stall holders, only had three confirmed, yet they still went ahead and still took out advert, posters etc etc, didn't happen. Is it only the economy of scale thats different from between councils! cgpc Rob

12:24am Fri 28 Feb 14

LSC says...

So the council have now decided to employ professionals in future to do multi-million pound projects. I suppose it is a step forward.

Before we know it bins will be emptied on the right day and roads gritted when it snows!
So the council have now decided to employ professionals in future to do multi-million pound projects. I suppose it is a step forward. Before we know it bins will be emptied on the right day and roads gritted when it snows! LSC

8:03am Fri 28 Feb 14

Hampermill-Mike says...

As TRDC won't have any money next year it won't be a problem. You cannot run projects with no dosh.
As TRDC won't have any money next year it won't be a problem. You cannot run projects with no dosh. Hampermill-Mike

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