EventsACT is adamant that the upcoming Floriade will not have to be pruned or downgraded after a review of a $1.2 million overspend on last year’s event revealed significant deficiencies in financial management.
The $1,254,971 overspend came to light when invoices started coming in and an independent review was ordered to get to the bottom of it.
The review, conducted by Protiviti, found a lack of appropriate procurement activities and controls, inadequate contract management controls, and weaknesses in budget development, documentation and approval processes.
It found that a contract register had not been maintained, there were lack of contracts in place for significant expenditure, there were payments of amounts outside of contract amounts and some contracts were unsigned.
It also found a lack of event specific financial reporting and that reconciliation and review of revenue sources were missing.
The review noted that there were possible calculation errors made in a budget spreadsheet that could have also contributed to the overspend.
It made a number of recommendations relating to financial controls, including reviews of procurement processes and transactions, and value for money assessments of major contracts.
But Protiviti noted that there had been an almost complete change in staffing within EventsACT since Floriade 2017, significant changes made in the financial management controls and procurement training of staff.
EventsACT Acting Director Jo Verden told ABC radio that there would not be any cuts to this year’s Floriade and that measures had been put in place to ensure there was strong financial management, strong controls around procurement and contract management to avoid a repeat of last year’s overspend.
As well as this, leadership of the event has been outsourced, with an experienced executive producer brought in to work closely with the Floriade team.
Ms Verden was loathed to criticise last year’s team which was solely responsible for the event, saying the different approach was a result of the Major Events Strategy released in September last year.
“That was to enable us to take a more strategic approach and bring in high-level expertise to assist with the delivery of those events. It allows our team to then focus on other specific aspects of running events in the city,” she said.
Ms Verden said that with measures in place, tighter controls, new staff, and a very experienced and skilled executive producer working with the team, Floriade would continue to be a high-quality event.
“I am confident we’ve got the right people focusing on delivering the right outcome for this year’s event,” she said.
EventsACT was able to recover some of the overspend through revenue from other events including Enlighten.
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