Posted by: westlancashirerecord | July 11, 2016

And While We’re At It, Governance Failure That Is!

When the proverbial hits the fan for where the Beacon Park Golf Course landfill royalties are and what they have achieved for the golf course so far 9hole23, there are facts that can be established from WLBC Leisure statements. Bear in mind the shock revelation at the West Lancashire Community Leisure Limited Annual General Meeting that no landfill royalties were paid to the Trust and shown in the Leisure Trust Accounts as they should have been. You could hardly find a worse example of governance failure amounting to maladministration than this.

So we have to think about the partnership, the “invincible trio” as they are becoming known, the Leisure Trust, Serco Leisure Operating Ltd, and Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd. Of the three, only Leisure Trust accounts are open to public scrutiny in respect of their Beacon Park Golf operation. Ergo, don’t put the landfill royalties there, so they aren’t!

WLBC Leisure documents taken at face value indicate “The Leisure Trust are expecting further royalties payment which will take it close to this figure for this element of the phased work” which implies the Leisure Trust already DID have some but hadn’t accounted for them. Or perhaps they too were in the coffers of Serco Leisure Operating Limited, hidden from public view under “Commercial in Confidence” restrictions?

“Contractors started on site in November 2013. The first sections of topsoil were moved back and deliveries of the inert materials commenced at the end of November 2013. The information regarding number of deliveries is not available.

“Footgolf is one of the proposals for the Beacon, the course operator was looking at incorporating this into the redevelopment work for the driving range rubbleandsteel and not the 18 hole or 9 hole course. WLBC is not a shareholder, the operation of the course and the facilities provided are for the course operator to determine. The Council will benefit from a split of one third of any operating surplus. WLBC do not have a contract with Oakland and would not be part of any verification or competency assessment of the company. This assessment was undertaken by Serco Leisure Operating Limited.

“The Borough Council has leased the Beacon Golf Course facilities to West Lancashire Community Leisure Limited westlancscomleis  the lease/licence to allows the works on the golf course to be undertaken. The authority was contained in the Cabinet report dated 15th November 2011 and confirmed in the Council report dated 14th December 2011 minute number 65; this provides authority to include the obtaining of all necessary consents, providing for all requisite notices and the entering into all necessary licences, leases and agreements/documentation.

“West Lancashire Community Leisure Limited (Leisure Trust) has a partnership agreement with Serco Leisure Operating Limited to deliver services on their behalf. Serco have entered contractual arrangements with Oakland Golf and Leisure Limited to deliver the scheme on behalf of West Lancashire Community Leisure. Serco underwrite the operations and have indemnified the Leisure Trust for the operations at the five trust sites, including Beacon Golf course, with regard to any operating losses and provide a parent company guarantee and insurance cover for the operation of facilities including the work at the Beacon.

“9 November 2015. The Borough Council are not party to the agreement with Oakland to deliver the scheme and are not part of the monitoring of the contract. The Council’s legal department were not involved or provided advice regarding the agreement between Oakland and West Lancashire Community Leisure/Serco. The information regarding the number of HGV deliveries has not been made available directly to the Borough Council. The monitoring of the loads is undertaken by Oakland, each load is recorded and this information is monitored by the Environment Agency. Royalties to the Leisure Trust are paid per cubic meter and not per load, the Leisure Trust/Serco receive information regarding the volume/cubic meters delivered to site. [How could the Leisure Trust receive information on landfill delivered while not receiving details of income generated on what WAS delivered?]

“9 November 2015. The total volume expected on site for all 4 phases was 187,000m3 the amount anticipated for the 9 hole course was 65,000m3. I have been informed that royalties payment up to this limit have not yet been reached, however the Leisure Trust are expecting further royalties payment which will take it close to this figure for this element of the phased work. [The same Leisure Trust that has no royalties in its accounts!] An amount of 35,000m3 has been assessed for the work to the driving range. The deliveries have not been consistent over the last two years, for a significant period the site was not accepting any deliveries and the access road closed. It is for this reason that the work has taken longer than expected and one of the principal reasons why the Leisure Trust/Serco no longer proposes to undertake the work to the remaining 2 phases on the golf course. This would have seen a further 87,000m3 being deposited on six holes across the course.

“Regarding your request for the information to be made public I will ask the Leisure Trust if they would be willing to publish the total volume of cubic meters delivered to site as part of the production of the new 9 hole course. The volume of infill material for the nine hole is expected to be close to 65,000 m3, the trust operators are waiting for the final confirmation of the last loads delivered to site. There were no deliveries to site between April and October 2014. In addition I am advised that in the two months prior to the April 2014 date the deliveries were intermittent and had slowed down.

“I have been advised that the current deliveries dustylorry to the 9 hole course are close to the maximum allowed for this area 65,000 m3. The contractors have started to bringing material to site ready for the access to the driving range to be provided. The driving range will then accommodate up to 35,000m3. The work proposed to the main course will not now go ahead. The current charges for golfers were reduced to take account of the disruption to the course. I understand that the charges will be reinstated back to the original price structure. The leisure trust has improved the course with maintenance work that was not completed under the last years of the previous provider”.

Figures show that 890,000 people missed the January 31 deadline for completing their income tax self-assessments. Even those who filed a day late were charged a £100 fine. The sole director of the now liquidated UK Sports Parks Limited was (Oakland Golf and Leisure Ltd sole director) Jonathan Russell Snellgrove who was referred by the liquidator for disqualification as a company director as the company owed £102,500 in VAT and Corporation Tax and also misused £5,000 that he repaid to the liquidator. It’s been revealed that “after considering the report and all known information the Insolvency Service concluded that it was not in the public interest to commence disqualification proceedings”. Further information about it can be sought by writing directly to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Fines for not meeting tax deadlines are more important than VAT and Corporation Tax debt!

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