The long awaited Shapley Heath Audit Report is being kept secret. Apparently, the report is available to members but has not been made public. The discussion about it at next week’s Audit Committee will exclude members of the public.
We must admit that we don’t really understand why it isn’t been made public. Unless of course it contains some material that is embarrassing for either officers or councillors. We think the public ought to be able to see behind the curtain and the report should be published forthwith.
This latest hiccup comes just after it was revealed that they overspent on the Shapley Heath project yet again last year.
The £69K overrun comes despite the project being cancelled last September. It’s quite a feat of management to overspend your budget in only half the planned time.
They have also closed the fund they had set aside for Shapley Heath. They have transferred £367K from reserves earmarked for the New Settlement.
Shapley Heath Audit Report History
The whole idea of auditing the Shapley Heath project has been controversial for some time. Last August, Tim Southern tried to get the Audit Committee to review the project but was rebuffed. In a rambling response, Councillor Axam refused and audit, saying:
I can understand that people might want to look at it in terms of in depth, I don’t think anyone should be worried about that but I am not quite sure you can build it into an audit plan in the way you would normally audit most other things. I just don’t think it, at this stage I don’t think at this stage it lends itself so easily to that…
Unless I am being naive here, everybody who is working on Shapley Heath knows that they have a budget and what it is and they are engaging in going through a process.
We asked questions at Council in September. Initially, the Audit Committee chairman “didn’t recognise our numbers”. However, they relented after we emailed the whole Audit Committee with our evidence. Then, in a remarkable U-turn, CCH sponsored the paper calling for the Internal Audit of Shapley Heath.
Now they seem to be blocking publication. Hopefully, we will be able to see the report in its entirety in due course.