Audit report into Corby Cube delay concern

Corby Cube The Corby Cube is home to the town's theatre, library, register office and council offices

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The length of time taken to publish an audit report into a council's overspend on the £47m Corby Cube project has been called "very disappointing" by a cabinet minister.

Local Government Secretary of State Eric Pickles made the comments in a letter to a Conservative councillor.

The audit investigation was started in the first half of 2012.

Auditors KPMG said views on a draft report were being sought before a final report was published.

Labour-controlled Corby Borough Council's Cube complex was built in November 2010 and is home to the town's theatre, library, register office and council offices.

Transparency

The building, which took two-and-a-half years to construct, was originally supposed to cost about £35m, but eventually cost £47m.

In a letter to Corby councillor Rob McKellar, Mr Pickles said: "In my opinion it is essential that local citizens have relevant and timely information to enable them to hold their council to account, so it is very disappointing to hear that the people of Corby are still waiting for the independent auditor's report."

Mr McKellar said: "Taxpayers have a right to know what is going on behind closed doors when it comes to their money. If I could achieve just one thing as a councillor it would be to bring to an end the secretive, 'back room' attitude which seems to be so deeply engrained within Corby Borough Council.

Eric Pickles Eric Pickles said he was disappointed the audit report had not been published

"A bit of 21st Century transparency is the only solution but I am afraid the council's leadership is stuck in the 1970s."

Leader of the council Tom Beattie said: "Corby Borough Council (CBC) has co-operated fully with the Audit Commission throughout all stages of their investigation. We will continue to do so and will be guided by them and their advice.

"A draft report is precisely that, a draft for comment and clarification. Both opposition leaders on CBC have been briefed on that. I too am keen to have the final report. However, as this is an independent report we have no control over its completion or its release."

A spokesman for auditor KPMG said: "The finalisation of the report needs to follow due process. The draft report has been issued to interested parties for consultation and the consultation process is on-going. A final report will be issued as soon as the auditor is in a position to do so."

He said a draft report had been sent to Corby council.

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