Public sector watchdog tipped to launch Dome finance probe

Tory MP Richard Page has written to comptroller and auditor general Sir John Bourn calling for a probe into ‘management failure’ in the project in Greenwich, South London.

Sir John and the NAO are now considering whether to launch an in-depth ‘value for money audit’ into the scheme.

Any such special investigation would come in on top of the NAO’s routine scrutiny of the Dome as part of it’s annual audit of the Millennium Commission which distributes lottery money to year 2000 project.

In addition it would almost certainly lead to a second enquiry by the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, Parliament main financial watchdog, which would hold public hearings to grill Ministers and officials.

Senior sources said the NAO was considering an investigation and that the Dome was a ‘likely runner’ for such a probe.

The chances of an inquiry are increased by Mr page?s recent membership of the PAC and the reaction of the committee’s current chairman David Davis to the idea.

He said: ‘If the NAO investigates this and writes a report on this , I think it’s almost certain the committee will look at it.

It’s a large sum of money and there have been comments about the way its been run.’

Page, a former Tory minister, said ‘to have spent millions of pounds and to have proceeded with the Dome with no knowledge of what you were going to use it for afterwards is to me a serious management failure. The fact is that so much money has been thrown at so little.’

Any investigation by the NAO and PAC would come on top of an existing enquiry by the Commons Culture Committee and would focus on whether the Dome had been effectively managed and whether the lottery cash had been competently spent.


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