Capital projects poorly run

| 05/07/2012

clifton hunter (239x300).jpg(CNS): In his latest report the auditor general has raised concerns about how government manages major capital projects. Alastair Swarbrick used the new Government Office Administration Building (GOAB) and the high school projects as case studies and found a number of problems, from a lack business cases and undefined roles for politicians and administrative staff to problems with financial management practices and standards for how these projects should be built. He pointed to a waste of scarce resources and lack of accountability, though he did note some good practices during the construction of the GOAB.

“While there are problems with the government’s management framework for major capital projects, we found good practices used in the building of the Government Administration Building,” Swarbrick said on Thursday as his report was revealed to the public. “The government may wish to consider these for standard practice for the management of all future major capital projects.”

But with significant gaps and weaknesses in how government manages its spending on capital projects on the whole, he said the public was not getting value for money. The high school projects came in for considerable criticism by Swarbrick, who said his team found significant problems with project management.

The public auditor said the construction of the high schools was handed over to the Ministry of Education to build when it did not have the management expertise or experience to execute such a project. The lack of an experienced project manager together with the involvement of politicians in the conceptual design phase resulted in the projects being poorly managed and controlled.

“Government needs to ensure that effective and robust practices are in place across the public service to manage these significant capital projects to demonstrate due regard for value-for-money. We found it is left up to the individual ministries to determine how it is done,” he noted.

The auditor did find, however, that the procurement process was followed and in both cases the process was fair and transparent. But the company selected to construct the third high school in West Bay began work before a contract was signed, which ultimately resulted in significant costs to government when it was forced to stop the project as the economic downturn hit.

For more on the auditor general’s view of these key controversial projects and a full copy of the report check back to CNS later.

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Category: Politics

Comments (20)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Government fails by not hiring a qualified Project Engineer for eachmajor project

    The Project Engineer is the most important person on any project, because  ir is his job to coordinate all aspects of the project. He represents the owner, in this case the Government and therefore must have the knowledge and experience to  watch out for, and prevent the owner fromfalling into traps.

    Prominent among the traps are the need for change orders simply because the project's engineering and drawings overlooked critical areas which should have been discovered before the contract was let.

    Skimping on the cost to hire a capable project engineer is the worst kind of pound foolishness, and one Government seems to fall into time after time.


    • Anonymous says:

      Cayman Government fails by not having any qualifications other than being Caymanian. Your top man has a 5th grade education and acts accordingly.  Very few if any of the managers have any training or experiance in what they manage with the usual outcome of poor work if any done.  In this kind of enviroment skill and experiance is not welcomed.  So instead of the best and brightest doing good work you have Caymankind.  Which is the opposite.

      Unfortunately what you have for leadership is dug in like a tickand the people of Cayman are so divided and unfocused that this is the best you will ever have unless the UK steps up to spank the little boys club and make them follow the rules.  Then you will hear crying and blaming like you have never heard it before.

  2. Libertarian says:

    Even the Auditor General acknowledges PPM's Pandoras Box which UDP failed to closed on time. He picks no sides. See link – , and learn that the more we move away from representing a party to representing our own people, the better it is for us. That is why the "One Person One Vote" is a step in the right direction.

    • cayman stew says:

      Thatwas the plan. The plan was to get the country in debt so UDP would be blamed for it. Then when they are voted out, during another four years, spend alot again on projects. The plan was to make one party UDP into the clean-up party and PPM into the party of action, which means spending big. No party wants to be the party that does nothing on their term. No party wants to be the party that implements austere measures during their term. So UDP will fuss and fight about it, but I think it is a victory for PPM because everybody is blaming UDP for not fixing the debt problem. Next term PPM will start newer things or projects for UDP to finish and clean up after them. They want the praise for the schools and new building. They want more praise and so long they keep UDP busy on paying off what they stated, they can look forward getting in another term. That is what you call party politics. Lib, since we had it, Cayman has never been the same. Watch and see 

  3. Anonymous says:

    another great day for the civil service!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Did the Auditor General note that the new Government building is still almost 1/2  empty while many Government departments that were supposed to move in to save monye have not. Certain commercial buildings that have kept their government tenants must have the right prorperty consultants.

  5. Anonymous says:

    no kidding…. education was offered assistance from many cig portfolios, but chose to do the projects on their own…

  6. Anonymous says:

    Government poorly run.

  7. anonymous says:

    Those schools were silly idea from start. $6m in consulting fees sent to Chicago and then turned over to a single unqualified person in Department of Education to run. Poor desisions from start now documented in black and white.

    Cant wait to see if UDP will support this report that points finger directly at Alden and PPM or will they still call the AG a "hit man". Can't wait to see.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Is this report in the public domain yet CNS?  If so, are you able to get a copy for us to see?


    CNS: The OAG has already posted it on their site

  9. Anonymous says:

    May be late nights and hangovers , dont cut the mustard when dealing with the public purse.


  10. Anonymous says:

    Government needs to have a PROPER STRATEGIC PLANNING UNIT which is charged with envisioning, and developing proper plans for the future of the country. Politicians need to stop thinking about the next four years and leave planning to such experts.


    This is different from TOWN Planning which is our present government Planning Dept.

    • Anonymous says:

      great, another bloated govt "unit" 

      • Anonymous says:

        The problem is everyone who comes to the Cayman Islands wants to create their own empire. Something that they could'nt do where they came from. I have never seen a people who don't believe in their own.

    • Anonymous says:

      Unless it's under the Governor or someone that can't be fired or interfered with by politicians you can forget it.  Planning?  lol! Don't get me started on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      And have well qualified people as project managers.

      So we are now in 2012, and the government of the worlds 5th largest financial centre does not have their own centralised Programme Management office for the country's major projects, and the monitoring of projects in general.

      There are so many under utilised talents in the Government.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes we could transfer experts like Leonard Dilbert and Ken Jefferson to that new unit.