MP Helen Jones has demanded answers after finding out that Warrington Borough Council has taken over a project to deliver a community hub at Great Sankey from LiveWire.
The MP said that the minutes of the council’s Executive Board for 10 July showed that an internal audit had applied a category of “minimal assurance” to LiveWire’s project to build a Neighbourhood Hub in Great Sankey and the council had taken over the project.
She said “Once again, we see that LiveWire is incapable of managing a project properly. As we saw with the flawed consultation on libraries, they are a failing organisation.”
Ms Jones says she has written to the council asking a number of questions including:
- Did a report to the Executive Board in July 2016 highlight problems with the project? If so, what action was taken by the council and by LiveWire’s board?
- As the council has now had to borrow to fund the project what is the extra cost to council tax payers including both the cost of interest on the loan the council has taken out and interest foregone from the loan to LiveWire?
- What legal redress does the council have against LiveWire for failing to manage the project properly?
- Is it correct that there were firms or individuals working on site without proper contracts?
- Is the council satisfied that, when LiveWire leases the building, it will have enough money to both pay its rent to the council and keep the building in good repair?
- Will they publish the risk register for this project?
Ms Jones added: “ Once again LiveWire has demonstrated that it is a failing organisation. It receives most of its funds from the council yet it is totally unaccountable. No one, it seems, has resigned over this latest fiasco. Any private company would not be given further contracts after an episode like this yet LiveWire carries on regardless and council tax payers in Warrington pick up the bill.”
“ I remain concerned that the governance review into LiveWire is too limited in its scope and will not investigate issues like their management of the Great Sankey Hub project or why it has been taken off them. The review document does not seem to be concerned with their competence – it should be. “
She also criticised how the council had dealt with the issue saying: “As far as I am aware this failure has not been discussed by the council as a whole. The report to the Executive Board names only the councillors in Great Sankey and Whittle Hall as interested parties yet it says the hub is intended to serve West Warrington. Councillors in Westbrook and Chapelford and Old Hall, part of which is in my constituency, have been excluded.”
A spokesperson from LiveWire said: “LiveWire will continue to use their expertise, in the health and wellbeing sector, to manage a range of services from Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub and will continue to work closely with Warrington & Co on the development of the project leading up to it’s opening.
“This has been a partner led project from the start, involving a range of key agencies from across the town. We will continue to work closely with all key partners involved to ensure the new facility delivers high quality health and wellbeing services that are tailored to the needs of the residents in this area.”