The story published in today’s Times newspaper (18/7/17) ‘Police memorial charity spends £640,000 on private consultants’ is open to misinterpretation.
As the project is time limited, the Trust decided from the outset that employing staff was unrealistic and that a single, coordinated contract and point of accountability would be both essential and most effective.
Of the £640,000 spent over the last three years on project management, the majority of the expenditure has gone towards paying for specialists to manage the delivery of the various parts of the UK Police Memorial. The work they have undertaken has included writing technical briefs; managing the design process and contractors; overseeing planning applications; obtaining relevant permissions; scoping, developing and delivering the digital Memorial; developing the education programme; and undertaking consultation with stakeholders and partner agencies. Since 2014 only £300k (£100k per year) has been spent on required support functions such as governance, communication and engagement, fundraising, marketing and PR.
Ninety percent of the £4million budgeted for this project will go towards core charitable activities including the fees for the design, construction and maintenance of the physical memorial, development and maintenance of the digital Memorial and education programme and creation of the Living Memorial fund. By the completion of the project, expected by early 2019, only 10 per cent of the £4million (some £400k) would have been spent on fees for the essential support functions. Such low management costs are unheard of on a project of this scale.
Recognising that similar projects have encountered serious problems and after undertaking a thorough risk assessment, the Trustees decided to retain professional project managers with relevant experience and knowledge, to manage, control and oversee the development and delivery of all aspects of the UK Police Memorial.
Their performance and value for money is regularly reviewed by the Trustees and, as services are provided at cost, the fees paid are commensurate with or less than what management and support costs would have been had the Trust employed staff to deliver this project.