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DAMESATHOME@YAHOO.CO.UK
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Thursday, 29 January 2015

OPERA HOLLAND PARK REFUSES TO ACT ON INTERNAL AUDIT

If it's not the corrupt and incompetent TMO, it's dodgy dealings at the "Flop Opera' at Holland Park.
According to the Dame's Operatic Correspondent Mr 'Foxy' Volpe is really putting the squeeze on a council who just cannot get him off their backs.
FOXY VOLPE
Now scandal-riddled Opera Holland Park is being ‘let off’ from making essential improvements whilst it is in the process of ‘potential externalisation’. 
The loss-making opera - the only civic opera in the country - has managed to lose us residents a staggering £6.6m since 2001, against revenue expenditure of nearly £30m in the same period, plus capital investment of over £2m. In 2009-10 alone the opera lost the Council nearly £1m. 
Only the current modest annual sponsorship deal brings it just below that figure every year.
The latest outrage has seen Foxy Volpe refusing to implement some improvements that were proposed after an Internal Audit in 2013. 
Auditors gave the organisation a ‘Limited Assurance Report’, demanding that various improvements be made, including: drafting clear procedures and guidance notes; delivering transparent financial accounting; having a transparent tendering process for the residential orchestra and costume suppliers; maintaining an inventory; maintaining a hospitality register stating outcomes and registering resultant donations, plus controlling the use and number of complimentary ticketsagreeing guidance for appropriate use of purchase cards, and retaining full VAT receipts 
It seems that some staff are ineligible to work in the UK and employee contracts need regularising.
The Audit was conducted soon after the Council failed in its first attempt in 2012 to off-load responsibility for the opera by handing it over to a controlling group to run it as a mutual. The current attempt goes a step further, by offering £5m to take it away!

Someone who knows says, "It beggars belief that a non-viable organisation funded and run by the Council has such poor accounting and control systems.It is indefensible and frankly shocking that staff are refusing to implement proper standards demanded by Auditors because they are waiting for a further bail-out. 
No voluntary organisation in receipt of Council funds would get away with such conduct. 
The Council must discard their plan to give a dowry of £5m to off-load this financial black hole. Instead OPH should have a dignified demise use the funds saved to protect frontline services that people so need. 
This would also save the  ‘backroom costs’ that have reached £412,000/year, which is more than the sum the Council says it cannot find to continue to provide Play Services that enable low-income working families to work full-time.’  

23 comments:

  1. We are talking about Council Tax. About £10 million has been put into this ridiculous venture. And now we find there are inadequate accounting controls. What next?

    Wake up Paget-Brown. Get shot of the thing. Volpe has had the time of his life with financial support for a failed Travel Agent to stage his favorite operas at public expense. And your well off mates and Financial institutions have had their jolly. Also at tax payers expense. Now get on and do your job properly and prioritise those in need.

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  2. The Dame is not going to let this scandal go unnoticed. Go for it, girl.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Retired Chief Exeutive29 January 2015 at 22:48

    When Chief Executives are out of control, it ALWAYS ends in a train crash

    ReplyDelete
  4. Kensington Resident30 January 2015 at 08:38

    This saga has been dragging on for far too many years. It would be a soap opera were it not that public resources are being diverted from the poor and vulnerable.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Especially noteworthy is the spin that Fitzpatrick put on the £5m bail-out plan, 'securing the opera's future'. Clever that.

    Dishonest, despicable, but clever.

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  6. Information about the lack of Governance just keeps flowing. A sad comment on the lack of professionalism in Hornton Street.

    Mrs Thatcher was clear about one thing in her mind. Government should keep out of the risk business. Tax payer funding of Holland Park Opera is a classic example of stupid local Tories who never listened.

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    Replies
    1. Chelsea Care all over again. Wake up Paget-Brown! And why is Cabinet Member for finance so suddenly quiet? He was rubbishing on after the Tot Brill report into OHP that "there has to be a finite end to all of this". How many years ago did he say that?

      Lightweight Lightfoot........

      Delete
  7. Another vanity project from disgraced ex Leader Cllr Cockle Cockell continues to fester. Pooter and his endless disasters - throwing away public money to gratify his ego

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    Replies
    1. Paget-Brown is Opera Holland Park's biggest supporter and has been for years.

      Delete
  8. How does one get this Council to pay attention and listen to residents?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Join the protest being organised outside the Opening Night of Holland Park Opera on 2nd June 2015.
      Time to say enough is enough!

      Delete
    2. And after the police have removed you from the park and the toffs have settled down to their opera with champagne, what next?

      Delete
  9. Please ensure that nearer the date the Dame's hordes of admirers are reminded of this important event. The lead in time to start campaigning for hundreds of residents to be in Holland Park on 2nd June - starts in the middle of May, shortly after the general election.

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  10. The time has come for some direct action. Democracy has failed and the Tories have once again attempted to strong arm the electorate with one of Hornton Street's vanity projects. Every year the ruling Group of Conservatives filibuster with one absurd report and debate after another absurd report and debate and then it all fizzles out to allow the opera to continue splurging tax payers money at the expense of the old and needy. Two years ago there was the silly Tot Brill Report to privatise the Opera. Lots of shouting and debating and grand standing by weak and ineffectual Cabinet Members like lighweight Lightfoot and then nothing. This year another absurd report suggesting a payoff of £5 million to get shot of it followed by more empty words. But in the meantime Volpe continues to book acts and spend Council Tax.

    Enough is enough. Its time for the forks and pick axes. And an effigy of disgraced ex Leader Pooter Cockell to be set on fire.

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    Replies
    1. Smoke them out of the tent

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  11. What a silly set of comments. Many residents and visitors of all ages enjoy the magnificent occasion of Opera Holland Park which is a tribute to the determination of the Director and support from the Royal Borough. Long may this continue

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    Replies
    1. Lord Bazza Phelps31 January 2015 at 18:29

      Very third rate stuff, my dear fellow. For those who really don't know the opera..probably a bit like you....

      Delete
  12. The Dame has a short memory. Volpe is continuing in the tradition of his mentor, Pooter Cockell. Use of the Bentley to save taxi fares. First Class flights to New York and Boston and five star hotels for jollies - including weekend breaks for "rest and recreation". All on the tax payer. Its what makes the world go round.

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    Replies
    1. All these old chestnuts again. Labour cannot stand success.

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    2. Pooter a success....you wouldn't know success if it bit you on your arse.
      Pooter has lived off the back of taxpayers for years and never had a proper job-apart from flogging fags. He's a silly little man.

      Delete
  13. Transparency in Kensington and Chelsea?

    Joke

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  14. Volpe is funded for the next n years - the Tories want to keep their toff friends on side

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    Replies
    1. Volpe is def not a toff....he is a failed travel agent!

      Delete

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