Call to release major audits

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A LONG-AWAITED audit of five major construction projects in Frankston may see the light of day if councillors vote this month to publicly release a report by Frankston Council’s internal auditor.

Council CEO Dennis Hovenden announced last month that a report by internal auditor Pitcher Partners found “project management processes to be of a satisfactory standard” but the report has been kept in-house at council.

Councillors in the previous council voted in June last year to conduct audits on the five projects.

Pitcher Partners analysed works carried out on an upgrade to Wells St, the construction of a new war memorial at Beauty Park, the refurbishment of the Frankston Yacht Club, the building of the Frankston Football Club Function Centre and a clubhouse extension for the Frankston Bombers at Baxter Reserve.

Cr Glenn Aitken, who denied directing contractors to make changes to the Wells St upgrade without consulting council, will ask fellow councillors to vote to release the audit report at this month’s council meeting.

“To me, if an audit is done of council assets which the public pay for then the public is entitled to see the result of that,” Cr Aitken said last week.

Spending on new street furniture, lighting and paving along Wells St came in at about $5 million against an initial estimate of $3.5 million before work began on the project.

“Any weaknesses identified present opportunities to implement improvements that will assist in process effectiveness and efficiencies, particularly around project scope management and control, along with records management,” Mr Hovenden said in a statement last month.

“Some changes to council’s project management have already taken place, including the development of a new project management manual to guide officers and ensure a consistent and comprehensive approach to project management.”

Despite the “satisfactory” audit outcome announced last month, Mr Hovenden noted there will be “learnings” from the Pitcher Partners report including a need to improve project scoping to include more detail and record keeping.

First published in the Frankston Times – 7 August 2017

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