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Holyrood report exposed problems five years ago

A secret report warned the Scottish authorities five years ago that a number of regulations were broken in the procurement of Enric Miralles' Holyrood parliament building, a controversial MSP has revealed.

Rebel MSP Margo MacDonald has used the Freedom of Information Act to force parliamentary authorities to publish the report by quantity surveyor Gardiner & Theobald.

The Scottish Executive has come under fire for refusing to act on the report's conclusions and take control of the cost escalations, which rose from an original estimate of £40 million to a staggering £430 million.

The report - written in 2000 - warned that there were problems with fee calculations, the wider procurement of the construction programme and the project's value engineering.

It also predicted that the construction and design teams would find it hard to achieve the extremely difficult cost targets.

The report says: 'It is a disappointment that so many guidelines, rules and procedures set by the Scottish Executive, the treasury and the EC have been so blatantly ignored/broken. This project ought to have been a model of good practice - it clearly is not.

'We have identified inconsistencies and irregularities in the procurement process for the construction manager and quantity surveyor, incorrect fee calculations and unfulfilled obligations in the service of the quantity surveyor.

'It is our belief that all of these items have had an adverse impact on the cost of the project. In conclusion, the budget and programme are tight and the teams will not find it easy to achieve the targets, ' it adds.

MacDonald told the AJ that the report proves that, if the action had been taken, the parliament fiasco could have been eased.

'This report shows that the experts were very worried indeed about what was happening, as far back as five years ago, ' she said. 'I asked for this report to be made public in 2003 and it was not, and there was no good reason given.

'With the report remaining secret it meant that nobody could question the procurement methods and the length of the project.

'This is still a very relevant issue because it is about governance, about taxpayers' money and the behaviour of some very senior civil servants, ' she added.

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