1. Has an independent investigation into why such a significant and unforeseen problem occurred, already begun?

Yes. An independent review by our Internal Audit Team, who have specialist expertise in contract management has begun.

Ernst Young, our external auditors have also been made aware, and will be consulted throughout the process.

Internal Audit will review how the scheme has been progressed to date, and identify what issues have contributed to the project failings.

The results of this investigation will be reported to Cabinet as soon as it is complete.

  1. When will the A52 roadworks be complete?

We acknowledge that given the serious issues with this project, there will inevitably be an impact on delivery time.

Currently we cannot put a definitive date for completion. The September Cabinet report will include a more accurate forecast on timescales.

  1. What were the reasons for such a significant and unforeseen problem occurring

Senior officers, as well as our audit team are working hard to find out what has gone wrong and how we can best resolve the issues at hand.

And independent review has been commissioned to review the project events to date – please see response to question 1.

  1. Where is the extra money going to come from?

The identified funding shortfall of £7.65m is to be funded from the Council’s budget risk reserve.

A budget risk reserve is a fund set aside for unforeseen project management risks – put simply, it is the project equivalent of keeping a family emergency fund for the proverbial rainy day.

  1. What does the additional forecast cost include and what is it for?

£6.65m additional costs include a range of issues, but the most significant relate to unforeseen ground conditions, night work on the A52, and delays associated with the completion of complex detail designs for the footbridge.

Funding proposals £’m
Original scheme funding 14.906
Highways and Transport 2018/19 capital programme 2.157
Budget risk reserve 7.65
Total funding 24.713

 

6. Why can’t you give a firm final cost at this point?

We are working with our contractor – GallifordTry to re-establish a realistic cost estimate for the scheme, and to control and manage down these costs going forward.

There are a range of complex circumstances surrounding elements of the detailed scheme design still to be completed, that means that a robust estimate is not possible at this stage.

A further report will be brought back to Cabinet in September 2018 with a more accurate, revised forecast.

  1. How do we know you are capable of completing this project?

Internally, we have a new contract manager, and additional capacity in the design team, who are working with the project team on the increased complexities associated with the project going forward.

The team is working closely with the contractor, GallifordTry to identify the most suitable options for delivery.

Additionally, we are in the process of procuring independent technical and contract experts to support the project team and to provide assurance with regard to the future delivery of the scheme.

The cost for this external support has been incorporated into the additional forecast scheme costs.

  1. What are complementary works, and do they offer value for money for taxpayers given the overspend?

This work includes maintenance, safety and junction changes.

Carrying out this work at the same time as the main contract will improve the value for money.

These are works that would be required within the next three to five years, so it makes financial sense to incorporate them within this contract.

  1. What work is actually being done?

Find out more on our A52 scheme FAQ page.