The Committee considered the report of the
Head of Internal Audit on the lessons learnt.
The Chairman had requested that the item be
put on the agenda in order that there could be scrutiny of the work
undertaken by contractors and consultants appointed to the
Sansome Walk decommissioning project
and any steps that the Council might consider over the abortive
works and associated costs to date. It
was noted that this report sat alongside the lessons learned report
of Internal Audit.
Councillor Johnson was in attendance and he
spoke with the Chairman’s consent. It was noted he was the
relevant Cabinet Member during the decommissioning period.
The Chairman highlighted that there was an
exempt appendix to this report. Members noted that they wished to
have as much discussion as possible on the lessons learned before
excluding members of the public from the meeting.
The Deputy Director - Governance introduced
the report and provided an overview. She clarified that the exempt
appendix was confined to legal advice. She confirmed that, for the
public minutes, a number of the lessons learned were identified
which related to the Council’s capacity to manage the
complexity of the project and how it had been set up involving
multiple contractors and advisors.
The Head of Internal Audit then presented the
Lessons Learnt report and commented in detail on the findings.
Committee Members proceeded to ask questions
and Officers responded.
The main points raised were in summary as
Officers explained the difference between the capital and asset
management framework and the asset management strategy. The
framework sets out strategic principles governing the
Council’s approach to asset management. The strategy process
focusses on how those strategic principles will be delivered and
includes performance measures. This approach will help to ensure
the Council is in a stronger position to continue to achieve
successful project outcomes.
It was noted that there were two projects – the new
development at Perdiswell and the
consequent redundant building at Sansome Walk. The Sansome Walk building had operated safely whilst it
was open to the public. In response to a question about the date on
which the decision was taken to decommission, the Committee were
advised that the Cabinet decision in December 2016 to commence
demolition was by default a decision to decommission.
With regard to the number of parties involved and the finding of a
lack of clarity on ownership, Officers advised that Place
Partnership were managing the project on the Council’s
behalf, with a number of partners. Property management had now been
brought back in-house. It was evident that there should have been
greater clarity and awareness as to issues and emerging risks
associated with the demolition project. Officers gave assurance
that arrangements had been put in place to resolve this issue.
It was noted that there had been a number of changes in both senior
management and in political control during the timeline of the
project, and Members expressed the view that a lack of continuity
has interrupted the process. ...
view the full minutes text for item 34.