Cheltenham Borough Council
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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Pittville Room, Municipal Offices

Contact: Beverly Thomas, Democracy Officer 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

There were no apologies

2.

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

None

3.

Public Questions

These must be received no later than 12 noon on the fourth working day before the date of the meeting (Wednesday 16 September)

Minutes:

There were no public questions.

4.

Art Gallery and Museum Overspend pdf icon PDF 79 KB

Report of the Head of Audit Cotswolds

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Audit Cotswolds, Rob Milford, gave members a presentation on the review undertaken to establish why the Art Gallery and Museum project overspends occurred. The slides of the presentation are attached to these minutes for information.

 

Members discussed the issues and the following points were addressed :

 

·         When asked why this report had taken so long to be submitted to Audit Committee, the Head of Audit Cotswolds explained that as he wished to present a report in the public domain it required significant review from One Legal and HR as it addressed personal sensitive information. This had taken some time.

·         Members noted that the removal of the Board had been critical in terms of its significant impact on the outturn thus far. They asked how the council would address this in other significant projects they were undertaking. In response the Head of Audit Cotswolds referred members to the first recommendation in the report which stated that projects of significant size must now ensure a top board is appointed to oversee all aspects of the project. It was noted that the process for scoping roles and responsibilities within Project Initiation Documents (PID’s) for monitoring and reporting had already been improved. Members agreed that it was important that workstreams were brought together and thus silo thinking culture avoided.

·         A member suggested that the role of councillors on the Board should be defined in a protocol as their role was key in acting as a “critical friend”, i.e. someone who was outside of the project structure who could ask challenging questions about the project. In response officers confirmed that a protocol for this would be developed, in addition to training for both members and officers. The Corporate Governance, Risk and Compliance Officer added that subsequent to the Grant Thornton report PIDs for Key projects would now be submitted to Overview and Scrutiny for review. In addition project management procedures were being reviewed on a live basis with the cemetery and crematorium project and subsequent to this meeting there would be a lessons learned session internally to examine the issues raised from the Art Gallery and Museum project.

·         Poor communication issue was highlighted. The Chief Executive commented that it was important to understand that two of the three governance silos (teams) identified in the report were populated by the same people i.e. they were in the management structure but had also taken positions in the project structure appropriate for their level. As he saw it, the way people were operating meant that conversations in the management structure were not relayed into the project hierarchy and thus not shared in the relevant meetings taking place. This culture meant that at times “common sense” did not always prevail and due to the overall workload of those concerned and also a lack of understanding of roles and importance, repercussions were inevitable. He highlighted therefore that whilst systems were important to have in place, it was ultimately people who had not acted as they should have.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Date of next meeting

23 September 2015

Minutes:

Wednesday 23 September 2015.