Who did know about overspend?

SIR - I was amazed to read of the mess that North Devon District Council has got itself into, with accusations and counter accusations being thrown around by the Tory Leader and his (elected) Tory colleague over the overspend on the Brynsworthy Direct Lab

SIR - I was amazed to read of the mess that North Devon District Council has got itself into, with accusations and counter accusations being thrown around by the Tory Leader and his (elected) Tory colleague over the overspend on the Brynsworthy Direct Labour Unit.

That there is an overspend of such a magnitude (�750,000 against an original budget figure of �5 million - a massive 15 per cent) is one thing and shows either total loss of control or incompetence, but the absolute lack of accountability is another.

The Council Leader seems quite happy to pass the buck onto the Lead Member and tried to get away with a verbal report. Only now does he seem to have grasped the seriousness of the matter and only now is he calling for a detailed report.

The Lead Member for the project claims not to have known about the overspend, which begs the questions, who did know? And why did they not think to tell the relevant Cabinet Member? For how long has the Council Leader known about the developing overspend? What is the extent of the secrecy here and how much more is being hidden from the hard-pressed council tax payer?


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Someone within the political elite at the Council needs to understand the meaning of the words 'with responsibility for' in their title.

As a retired councillor of some 16 years standing in a rural District similar to North Devon and a Cabinet Member with responsibility for Resources (including finances, budgeting and contracting) I would never have dreamt of going to Council without the full facts and without the benefit of a full officer report.

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I like to think I would have had my finger on matters with regular officer meetings during the course of any project. Indeed I like to think the officers would have had the confidence in me to keep me appraised at all stages.

After only two-and-a-half years of Conservative control at North Devon the administration is, in my opinion, clearly in a shambles and the finances are rapidly going down the pan. This does not bode well for the finances at County Hall where the Tories, after only six months in charge, are already planning mass job cuts in vulnerable areas, or at national level should the Tories take outright control and reveal the true nature of their economic plans.

Peter Bradshaw,

Chittlehampton.

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