Study cites mistakes in PFI deal for leisure centre

An independent study has found Rushcliffe councillors did not get enough details of a private finance initiative (PFI) from officers.

The agreement - for the East Leake Leisure Centre - led to the project costing hundreds of thousands of pounds more than planned.

Rushcliffe Borough Council has accepted the study's findings and said lessons had been learnt.

The local authority's cabinet said officers worked "diligently".

Risk analysis

The independent report, carried out by Stewart Dobson, former chief executive of Birmingham City Council, was commissioned by Rushcliffe Borough Council's chief executive and cabinet.

It found members did not have details of a clause which effectively allowed an outside company, Carillion, to ask for an extra £285,000 a year - to cover management costs and heating bills.

Borough council officers negotiated this down to £183,000 per annum.

The report also said the focus had been on providing a pool for East Leake, rather than the wider details of operating a leisure centre.

The study also identified that the whole project "appeared to have been reliant on one key officer."

The council said there had been a change in working practices since then.

Rushcliffe Borough Council's chief executive Allen Graham said: "The way we operate now is that we do do full risk analysis, we have much wider teams.

"So those questions are more likely to be asked. And the members have moved on in that, over seven years, they now are very thorough in the way they ask their questions and various projects we've subsequently done have had those elements in them and they've done that risk analysis."

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