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LDA funding row rumbles on

The row between the London Development Agency (LDA) and the London Assembly (LA) over the funding of six cultural projects – including Herzog & de Meuron's 2003 Stirling Prize-winning Laban Centre – has intensified following the issuing of a report into the affair.

The LA's Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism Committee (EDCSTC) had claimed that the LDA had not followed correct procedures when allocating £18.5 million of taxpayers' money to the schemes, which also included Penoyre & Prasad's Rich Mix Cultural Foundation and Adjaye/Associates' Bernie Grant Arts Centre (AJ 17.01.08).

Now, in response to the report carried out by auditor Deloitte, the LDA has claimed: ‘…that the majority of issues originally raised by the Committee are no longer considered weaknesses following the presentation of further evidence.

‘The report also notes that the 2005 procedural guidance issued by the LDA further addresses areas of inconsistency. This is contrary to the Committee's claims that the independent report reinforces their original concerns,’ it added.

However, the report actually states that while ‘significant effort’ had been put into improving processes, there remained ‘an inconsistent approach to monitoring, auditing and evaluation across the project files.'

It added that there was ‘an incomplete adherence with the 2005 guidance on monitoring, evaluation and audit.'

Dee Doocey, chair of the EDCSTC, said: ‘Deloitte’s second – and completely independent – report vindicates the Committee’s serious concerns about the processes used by the LDA to manage and monitor cultural projects it funds to the tune of tens of millions of pounds.'

The LDA retorted: ‘Instead of examining the success of these projects, which is substantial, the Committee has instead chosen to seek to undermine this work by focusing on previous processes in the LDA and measuring them against a set of criteria that had not been introduced by the LDA at the time.'

Read the report here, and the LDA's reponse here.

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