THE time taken to transfer the multi-million pound property assets of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council to a new system has been branded ‘unacceptable’.
Cllr Onnalee Cubitt, a member of the audit and accounts committee, questioned why it has taken so long to get details of the council’s property assets, valued at around £370million, transferred to a new online register.
She pointed to a report to the committee that said the council’s Asset Management Plan goes back to 2011 and “is in need of review and update”.
She told a recent meeting of the committee: “What I don’t understand is how it can take so long to implement a register online of assets that we own and valuations of assets that we own and I can say I find it wholly unacceptable.
“I haven’t had an answer to the reasons for the failure of this plan to be implemented.
“What worries me is not only has it not been implemented, but what are the risks.
“I just worry about the assets that belong to our taxpayers in our borough, and why is there an inability to get the assets from different books into one system.”
Cllr Cubitt added that as a former banker, a prolonged situation such as this “is usually the sign of something very serious that someone doesn’t want to fess up to”.
However, borough council executive director of finance and resources, Kevin Jaquest, said a new system is on the horizon.
He said: “We will be bringing in a more streamlined system for recording how the properties directly owned by the council are maintained.
“Currently a range of processes are used and, while this is an adequate way of storing information, moving to a single electronic property system will make it more efficient for our occupiers and less time intensive for our staff.
“The process of introducing this has been slower than we would have liked as it has taken time to secure the right system.
“Significant progress is now being made on the implementation of the new system.”