19/02/2017

Regional Performance Centre for Sport

Last week at the council's Policy & Resources Committee a report was considered which contained the latest update the plans for the Regional Performance Centre for Sport  planned for Caird Park.  There has been a lot of controversy about this proposal.  The report was not about planning issues. During the debate Councillor Jimmy Black spoke about the need for more openness and transparency on the whole I agree with Councillor Black on much of this.

There was much talk about openness and transparency during the debate on the Regional Performance Centre.  In the spirit of openness and transparency as a member of the Project Board I felt the need to make my views known about the lack of openness and transparency on the Project Board.  Whilst the Project Board is not the decision making body, that is the Policy & Resources Committee, items are reported to the Project Board after decisions or actions have been taken.  I feel that the lessons from the McClelland Review have not been learnt.  There is an unwillingness to have meaningful discussions at the Project Board which include all of its members.  It appears that decisions have been made elsewhere prior to the meeting, whether these decisions have been made in the SNP Group or by Senior Officers is not clear to me.

Campaigning for the National Performance
 Centre for Sport to be in Dundee
In December it was reported to the Project Board that Dundee FC were pulling out of the project and we were told that this was confidential and that much of what was discussed was confidential and would be reported to the council in an appropriate manner.  That an official press release covering most of what was discussed at the meeting was then issued immediately after the meeting was astonishing.  This demonstrated a lack of good faith, and a lack of commitment to openness and transparency.

I have raised my concerns with officers of the council and I hope that they have listened to me.  I also want to make clear that whilst not expressing any opinion on any future planning application that I support the investment which the regional performance centre represents.  I campaigned for the National Performance Centre to come to Dundee and was disappointed that Dundee missed out, yet again, on Scottish Government investment.

I do worry about an addiction to secrecy prevalent in the council.  I worry that the lessons that should have been learnt from the debacle around costs at the V & A have not been learnt.  The McClelland Review was meant to change things I fear that we are back to business as usual.  If officers and the SNP Administration are convinced of the case for the Regional Performance Centre then they should have nothing to fear from openness and transparency.