Having watched the last televised meeting of the City of Edinburgh Council’s governance, best value and risk committee, I was deeply concerned about the quality of the questions from the committee members and poor standard of reply. On the basis of this performance, I doubt that this committee will ever be able to fulfil its brief of quantifying risk and instilling effective governance in council business.
For example, the associated papers for the Edinburgh tram project were deemed confidential and withheld, but the verbal report stated that, to 30 June, 2013, £751 million of the £776m budget had been spent and only £3m of the contingency funding remained. However, £22m is committed for the off-road section alone and Turner Townsend predicts a completion date of May 2014.
Given the history of the project, it would not have been unreasonable to expect the committee to ask, at the very least, where the money is coming from to fund this project to next May at the earliest, or how much is this comedy of errors actually going to cost to complete. Regrettably, there was virtually no scrutiny of what little information was provided, let alone any challenge to the statement that the project remained “on time and on budget”.
John R T Carson