Advantage West Midlands usually use any opportunity to blast out “return on investment” figures with regards to their spending, but today’s Birmingham Mail reports that quango bosses a little shyer about how much their massive £300,000 MIPIM spend brought in.
Mick Laverty, chief executive of AWM, was being questioned by government officials who were also interested to learn more about The Public gallery in West Bromwich, which is amongst the quango’s “investments”.
About the MIPIM property event – usually an opportunity for UK quangos and local authorities to jet to Cannes in the South of France and peacock, throwing parties and hosting dinners at our expense – Laverty said: “It’s very difficult to track exactly what’s happened.”, which obviously fills us all with hope when the man’s in charge of a £330m budget of public cash.
It’s just astonishing that our public bodies justify the MIPIM junket by vehemently protesting that it is value for money, and a prime opportunity to ‘attract inward investment’, and yet here one of the biggest spenders has all but forgotten these cast-iron benefits now they haven’t come to fruition, and seeks to play down the whole event. We’re told that the benefits are ‘qualitative’, but not what they are, and so they seek to pull the wool as usual.
In a transparent system anyone would be able to directly trace the benefits of spending £300,000 on a property fair, and if there weren’t any (which appears to be the case), then the public body would be under pressure not to fritter so much cash in future. Simple. As it stands, these executives will desperately try to disguise bad decisions, hide waste and deliver foggy rhetoric when it comes to extrapolating results – ultimately prioritising the safety of their own hides over the proper use of public funds.