New Deal post mortem

Story: Ian Clifford

On 11th June, the Council’s Scrutiny Board met for a final post-mortem into what went wrong with the Council’s Accountable Body role with Burngreave New Deal and what could be learnt for the future.

Senior Council Officer Evelyn Milne admitted that mistakes had been made and the Council needed to learn from these. Evelyn explained that Burngreave residents distrusted the Council at the start of New Deal and the national programme philosophy was that Councils were poor at serving poorer areas. This context made it difficult for the Council to have a ‘hands-on’ approach to the Accountable Body role.

Evelyn said ultimately the Council, Government Office and the New Deal Board all took their eyes off the ball and failed to properly scrutinise the programme’s spend.

Particularly alarming was the admission that Council projects had not been audited properly for several years as New Deal funded Council activity had not been properly separated from other activity. Councillors present seemed to have a poor grip of the issues, but this was made up for by questions from Burngreave residents. The Messenger pointed out that the Council, as Accountable Body, had all the audit certificates from projects, yet seemed unable to add up a row of figures to establish that the programme was overspent.

Jennifer Booth pointed out the Council was paid £15,000 for its accountable body role and asked for this money to be returned to the community as the Council had clearly failed in this role.

When asked why the Council had been so unchallenging to Burngreave New Deal given that they knew some senior managers were incompetent, Evelyn Milne accepted there were issues of incompetence but said she had encouraged previous New Deal Chief Executive, John Clark, to manage certain people tightly.

Recommendations from the Scrutiny Board will go to the Council’s Cabinet. For an update of how projects are coping without New Deal funding and details of what New Deal spent its money on, go to

This document was last modified on 2009-07-16 20:14:09.