Nov 2013 with Greenwich Council

Notes on attendance at the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Royal Borough of Greenwich

19 November 2013

Mary Mills and Ian Blore attended this important Committee and Ian made Fogwoft’s presentation to it, with questions.  These were fielded by two officers who were presenting the Report to the Committee as is usual.  In this case the officers were Mary Ney, CEO and Tim Jackson, Asst Director, Transportation.

Those Q&As are shown below, together with some select Councillor questions.  The discussion ended with a fair consensus that the project failure had been well-investigated and that the process to completion should be closely monitored.

Q. What is the amount of retention fees for all previous contracts and is there an estimate of the negotiated contract fee reclamation from those contracts?

A. With the help of Wilmoth we are in the process of assigning liabilities for costs between the various contractors.  This is a lengthy process but we are advised that it is less costly than litigation.  Until this process is clearer we cannot quantify these monetary amounts.

Q. Are there any audit enquiries into the scheme and, if so, when are they likely to report?

A. The RBG District Auditor has an oversight over the new works but is conducting no enquiry into the earlier works.

Q. Why is Hyder Consulting still retained by the Council on other projects after the report cited 9 serious shortcomings in their design and supervision of this project?

A. Hyder has not been awarded any contract since they were relieved of the tunnel refurb design.  They have some pre-existing work that they are completing.  This is not to say that they may not be considered for work in future.


Q. Does Lakehouse have a contractual incentive to complete the refurbishment work according to the agreed timetable and cost?

A. Ywes.  The contract has both a prescribed scope of works and a clear timetable for progress monitoring, including financial.

Q. Are there any service level agreements to cover the new works?

A. Existing SLAs may be adequate but will be reviewed as work progresses.


Councillors asked some questions and made points.  Those that stood out were:

Drury (Con): What is the total extra cost above the grant for completion?

  1. A.     Very difficult to quantify before costs are reclaimed from contractors

Glover (Con): Was any of the initial grant foregone?

  1. A.     A little in the first year and some survey work is having to be paid for now.

Hayes (Chair, Lab):  Have the internal management weaknesses been fully addressed?

  1. A.     RBG are appointing anew Asst Dir who will oversee large projects and have appointed a Project Board (incl. Wilmoth) to oversee the tunnels refurb.

N. Fletcher (Con):  Should the example [of Fogwoft] of the close involvement of relevant community groups in scrutinising projects be taken as a model?

A. This rather hung in the air.  But it could be the most important point made.