A catalogue of project management failings and other problems were behind the soaring costs of a Leeds school building scheme that has left the council forking out an extra £1.6m, a report has revealed.
Bankside Primary School in Harehills, which was completed last year, was expected to cost £9.1m but the final bill has come in at just under £10.7m.
Now the council’s executive board is being asked to approve the extra spending and the report says lessons have been learned to ensure the issues that led to the overspend and delays do not happen again.
Work on the new school was scheduled to start in May 2009 and be finished by July 2010. The scheme got under way in July 2009 and was completed in September last year.
Failings identified include:
* Insufficient clarity with regard to the membership, constitution and remit of the project board overseeing the scheme.
* The role of the project manager was not fully understood.
* Roles and responsibilities were unclear throughout the project team
* Insufficient check and challenge by the board at the end of important stages. The report says that the skills were not always available in the council’s architectural design service (ADS), which resulted in information not being coordinated to the required quality “or in a timely manner”.
It adds: “Relationships between ADS and Education Leeds were less than ideal from the outset of the project.
“There were concerns regarding the appropriateness and accuracy of design information, drawing version control, tender and contractual information and minutes of meetings. ADS should have had adequate management systems in place to deal with these issues.”
Christine Addison, the council’s chief regeneration officer, said: “The report makes the extent of the problems with this particular project very clear.
“We’ve put considerable effort into investigating the issues and have made changes ... to ensure that decisions are made at the right time, based on right information and that we’re working to realistic deadlines. The council’s new design joint venture with Norfolk Property Services will help with these improvements.
Our focus is now on ensuring these lessons are learned.”