Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Public Good?

It used to be the case that some people in government argued that public was always good and that private was always bad. The latest report from Audit Scotland seems to put the kybosh on that one.

"Around two-thirds of Scotland's major building projects completed in the last five years came in significantly over budget, with the same number delayed or late in completing, according to a new report. Public spending watchdog Audit Scotland revealed a 13% overspend of £84m on 41 projects from hospitals to motorways totalling £730m, commissioned by the Scottish Government between 2002 and 2007. Of the 25 worse cases, the average overspend was 39%."

Given the fiasco of the cost overruns for the Scottish Parliament building at Holyrood should we really be surprised? Perhaps its time to create an independent public agency utilising the best of private sector experience to oversee and deliver public building projects away from the post contract interference of our elected or non-elected representatives and the oversight of civil servants? That was £730 million of your money and mine.

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