Diary of a Sutton Councillor

Tuesday 1st April 7.30pm


Main agenda items were the governance of the Stanley Park High School relocation & new build project, and the failure of the council to meet its target of paying 94.5% of undisputed supplier invoices within 30 days.


This was the first time I have had to address the detailed plans for the relocation of Stanley Park High School. My questions focused on the design quality of the new build and the user involvement in that design.


Nigel Simms the project coordinator responded to most of the questions at the meeting and I found his detailed knowledge of all aspects of the project, and considered responses very reassuring. I was pleased to hear of the number of community groups and interested parties who continued to be consulted throughout the project, and to learn that the building is being designed around the planned school curriculum. I also thought that it was important to learn that the building was designed to be flexible to allow for future changes in teaching methods and models.


The co-ordination of the decamp of the PCT and the building works looks to be the first major hurdle and I will be watching to see how this progresses.


My opposition colleagues were mainly concerned with the titles of the relevant project officers and keen to find the one person on who they could pin the blame should the project – as they obviously expect – turn into “a disaster”.


I was less reassured by the report produced by our head of group finance on the reasons for the failure to meet the 30 day target for payment of supplier invoices. All the underlying problems had been identified, but there appeared to be a lack of conviction about addressing these issues. Here Cllr. Scully and I were in agreement.


Although the problems are unlikely to result in any material misstatements in the accounts, they are evidence of internal control weaknesses, and of issues of staff training. I hope that our highlighting of this will result in a strengthened resolve to address these areas.




May 11, 2008 - Posted by | Committee Meeting

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