Big­ger news story be­hind ‘Wall­gate’

The Press and Journal (Inverness) - - FEATURES -

SIR, – I re­fer to your “Wall­gate” story (Press and Jour­nal, Septem­ber 27) where it was re­ported that the coun­cil was minded to offer an apol­ogy to for­mer coun­cil­lor Wil­lie Young for wrongly iden­ti­fy­ing him as the landowner.

As in­ter­est­ing as that may be, it is noth­ing com­pared with the real story; that the coun­cil was forced to re­port that their project man­age­ment pro­cesses are not fit for pur­pose, what pro­cesses they had were not fol­lowed, and that their of­fi­cers lacked the re­quired skills and train­ing to deal with this spe­cific project.

But there have been a plethora of poor cap­i­tal in­vest­ment de­ci­sions and projects be­ing de­liv­ered late and sig­nif­i­cantly over-bud­get by Aberdeen City Coun­cil; Marischal Square, Broad Street, the Town­house, the Di­a­mond Bridge, the art hub and the art gallery to name a few. The Welling­ton Brae saga has forced se­nior of­fi­cials to fi­nally re­veal that the coun­cil’s project man­age­ment of­fice is not fit for pur­pose.

Time will tell whether or not their claim to have ini­ti­ated a pro­gramme of process im­prove­ments and of­fi­cer train­ing will be ef­fec­tive. In the mean­time, I believe it would be ben­e­fi­cial to con­duct a thor­ough and ro­bust process au­dit on all of the projects men­tioned above in order to in­form the coun­cil as to where process im­prove­ments and train­ing are re­ally needed and that those au­dit re­ports should be made pub­lic in a spirit of open­ness and trans­parency.

The au­dits should be car­ried out not by Au­dit Scot­land but by a team of truly in­de­pen­dent au­di­tors. Fur­ther­more, in view of these rev­e­la­tions, it would be pru­dent for the coun­cil to call a mora­to­rium on the ini­ti­a­tion and ap­proval of new projects and in par­tic­u­lar, re­assess their in­vest­ment, and plan­ning, de­ci­sion to pro­ceed with the En­ergy from Waste Incin­er­a­tor project as the same in­ad­e­quate pro­cesses will have led to its ap­proval.

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