DA slams Corby over regeneration contracts

10 Oct 02
Only months after a damning report on management practices at Corby Borough Council, independent inspectors have again blasted the authority for 'weak' and 'ineffective' oversight of contracts awarded to regenerate the area.

11 October 2002

A public interest report by District Audit, released this week, condemns Corby's 'lack of internal controls' over contracts to reclaim derelict land, concluding that council managers had not followed correct tendering procedures and were 'unable to demonstrate accountability for the stewardship of public funds'.

The report, by auditor Stephen Warren, concentrated on five contracts awarded for land made derelict by the closure of the British Steel Corporation's nearby plant – all of which were subject to police investigations between 1997 and 2000.

Although no charges were brought against the officers or councillors involved in awarding the contracts, for which the council received thousands of pounds in grants, Warren uncovered 'widespread and systematic weaknesses' in the authority's financial processes.

'Whilst I am unable to prove any specific loss to public funds, the council's arrangements were not such that it could demonstrate that best value for money was secured,' he said.

Warren has supplied copies of the report to English Partnerships, the agency that provided the grants, and to the government's East Midlands office.

In March this year, the Audit Commission slammed Corby for 'serious failings' in its overall management systems, which led to 'significant financial difficulties' for the council as a whole.

Warren said that Corby had taken steps to improve its management, but that 'much remains to be done'.

The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister said it was 'closely monitoring the situation'.


Did you enjoy this article?