LDA culture of spending taxpayers’ money ‘endemic’

Staff at the London
Development Agency
(LDA) competed with each other to spend taxpayers’ money,
Patience Wheatcroft, leader of the mayor’s forensic audit panel, told the London
Assembly’s budget committee.

She said that, until recently no project to which less than £6m was granted
came before board members and the panel also found some of the former mayor’s
advisers told staff at the agency about projects they wanted funded in an
‘enthusiastic manner’, the Guardian reports.

‘I don’t believe that governance at the LDA was of the highest quality. The
culture of spending was endemic there,’ Wheatcroft told the London Assembly’s
budget committee. ‘There is an impetus to get the money spent by the end of the
year. At the LDA they took it to extremes.’

‘I am told teams competed to be the ones that did not underspend and in order
to do that there seems to have been a determination to actually find projects to
back and the monitoring was not as regular as one might have expected. It
doesn’t seem to have been measured until all the money had been handed over.
Very little actually came to the attention of the board.’

Further reading:

Auditor ‘horrified’ at LDA’s affairs

Audit panel to investigate GLA and LDA

the Guardian story

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