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Monday, 12 December 2016

Margate Dreamland Overspend. Public Inquiry Not Internal Whitewash

On Tuesday evening (13th December) TDCs Overview and Scrutiny Panel will be discussing a report which identifies widespread managerial incompetence as a cause of the flagship Margate Dreamland project overspending by an astronomic £2,255,500. Produced by TDCs internal auditors the report singles out poor record keeping, weaknesses in project management, risk evaluation, and  financial management, as being the causes  of delays, disorganisation, and unforeseen and rising costs which led to the massive overspend.  The report also identifies high staff turnover leading to increased pressure of work in team responsible for delivering the Dreamland project, as another contributory factor which resulted in the major overspend.

The report covers Phase 1 of the Dreamland project,  up until shortly after the opening of the  Dreamland Amusement Park  in  mid- 2015. It also raises serious questions about how Thanet Council selected the Dreamland Park operator, Sands Heritage Limited, stating  that  “fledgling companies with no track record or accounts, set up for a particular purpose carry a greater risk than is being acknowledged through the due diligence checks being undertaken by these multi-disciplinary groups of officers and members”. Sands Heritage is now in administration owing it creditors over £14million and has a charge on its (( year lease agreement with Thanet Council   by an offshore, Cayman Island’s registered hedge fund.

Although I welcome this report it doesn’t go nearly far enough. Serious mistakes have been made by politicians and council bosses and the overspends and losses to the taxpayers will eventually be much, much  greater than the reported £2.25 million, especially when the outstanding compulsory purchase compensation claim is settled with the  former owners. I’m also concerned that this report has been an internal production  which means that the council was investigating itself. Self-investigation of major public sector incompetence and failure, such as this are seldom objective and truthful and often result  in cover ups, allowing senior managers and politicians to avoid responsibility for actions.

This is why there should be an independent public inquiry into what went wrong at Dreamland, who was responsible for it and what lessons can be learned.
 
 
 

 

 

 

2 comments:

  1. You better be good at New Years wishes Ian. That is the only strategy left for Thanet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. TDC are useless - why do we pay for these criminals

    ReplyDelete