Independent investigation reveals catalogue of Lib Dem mismanage

Maghull Town Hall
 
An independent investigation into the refurbishment of Maghull Town Hall roof has found a catalogue of Liberal Democrat mismanagement of a £1/2million building programme at Maghull Town Hall.


Since taking control of Maghull Town Council in May last year, the Labour Group immediately conducted a detailed review into the council's expenditure and found that the Liberal Democrats had saddled Maghull's council tax payers with a debt of £500,000.

The Labour Group called in Sefton MBC audit department to conduct an independent review into the formal tendering and commissioning process behind the roof project and the function suite refurbishment.

The report found substantial and systematic failures in procurement practice and lack of transparency in the process.

Auditors also found no evidence had been unearthed to show that the construction of the roof needed to have taken place at all.

They also found that there was no evidence to show that simple repairs to the roof rather than a new roof would have sufficed.

In addition to significant failures in the process, that should have been overseen by councillors, there were also fundamental breaches of financial regulations and standing orders by the town council itself throughout the period before Labour took control.

And there had been a lack of evidence to demonstrate value for money.

Cllr Esterson said: "I am horrified by just how damning this report is into the Liberal Democrats' management of the Town Hall roof project.

"They signed the loan contract the day before the election last year meaning they saddled each and every one of us with an additional debt of £500,000 in the dying hours of a failed Lib Dem administration.

"We still have some unanswered questions in relation to this very expensive project. Questions which we hope in the coming weeks and months we will get to the bottom of.

"One of the most basic of which will be why original quotes for a £13,000 repair of the roof mushroomed to become a £500,000 project? We have been asking this question of the LibDems since May and they simply refuse to answer it so when the auditors cannot find any documentation to support the spend, the very least taxpayers should expect is an explanation.

"We also need to know if this scheme was to make the Town Hall more environmentally friendly, why a new roof was installed without insulation? The installation of insulation is at the very least the most basic way in which you make a building more eco friendly. This scheme involved the installation of no insulation whatsoever."