|Social housing RBK&C style|
From time to time we dip into the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelseas' excellent From the Hornets Nest Blog. It seems the toffs have a VIVACITY type problem -
The blog is written by 'The Dame' in between and during trips to her vintage yacht moored somewhere on the south coast of France. From the email source it seems her Dameship is already on board, knocking back the G&T's.
Apart from the comedic value, there is a real lesson for our own Peterborough Vivacity outfit and as we don't have a proper financial director in the shape of the Peterborough Council Chief Executive - she is a solicitor - some of the financial moves outlined below can be applied to our own financial black hole aka Vivacity.
WE say comedic value as our own pizza loving, Council 'Dear Leader' Marco Cereste was at one time negotiating not only to import trainloads of Kensingtons social housing tenants (frees up the RBK&C social housing property stock -see above- for gentrification) but also to have the Opera Holland Park set up their tents on our own cherished embankment. (Ideally during the Beer festival - next to the music tent).
Posted: 29 Jan 2015 02:19 PM PST
If it's not the corrupt and incompetent TMO, it's dodgy dealings at the "Flop Opera' at Holland Park.
According to the Dame's Operatic Correspondent Mr 'Foxy' Volpe is really putting the squeeze on a council who just cannot get him off their backs.
Now scandal-riddled Opera Holland Park is being ‘let off’ from making essential improvements whilst it is in the process of ‘potential externalisation’. The loss-making opera - the only civic opera in the country - has managed to lose us residents a staggering £6.6m since 2001, against revenue expenditure of nearly £30m in the same period, plus capital investment of over £2m. In 2009-10 alone the opera lost the Council nearly £1m.
Only the current modest annual sponsorship deal brings it just below that figure every year.
The latest outrage has seen Foxy Volpe refusing to implement some improvements that were proposed after an Internal Audit in 2013. Auditors gave the organisation a ‘Limited Assurance Report’, demanding that various improvements be made, including: drafting clear procedures and guidance notes; delivering transparent financial accounting; having a transparent tendering process for the residential orchestra and costume suppliers; maintaining an inventory; maintaining a hospitality register stating outcomes and registering resultant donations, plus controlling the use and number of complimentary tickets; agreeing guidance for appropriate use of purchase cards, and retaining full VAT receipts
It seems that some staff are ineligible to work in the UK and employee contracts need regularising.
The Audit was conducted soon after the Council failed in its first attempt in 2012 to off-load responsibility for the opera by handing it over to a controlling group to run it as a mutual. The current attempt goes a step further, by offering £5m to take it away!
Someone who knows says, "It beggars belief that a non-viable organisation funded and run by the Council has such poor accounting and control systems.It is indefensible and frankly shocking that staff are refusing to implement proper standards demanded by Auditors because they are waiting for a further bail-out.
No voluntary organisation in receipt of Council funds would get away with such conduct.
The Council must discard their plan to give a dowry of £5m to off-load this financial black hole. Instead OPH should have a dignified demise use the funds saved to protect frontline services that people so need.
This would also save the ‘backroom costs’ that have reached £412,000/year, which is more than the sum the Council says it cannot find to continue to provide Play Services that enable low-income working families to work full-time.’
| FTHN: From the Hornets Nest |
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