Council criticised by inquiry

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The Independent Online
SPORTS POLITICS The Sports Council was strongly criticised yesterday by the all- party Committee of Public Accounts for mishandling publicly funded assets and services.

The main source of income for the Council is the Department of National Heritage. Since 1989, the Council has made a number of changes designed to strengthen their commercial activities.

The inquiry set out to discover the relationship between the Sports Council, the commercial and charitable companies associated with it, the council's former director general, and the Department of National Heritage.

The Committee strongly criticised the time taken for the Council to instigate proper arrangements to account clearly for public funds. They also said they were "disquieted to learn the real conflicts of interest that arose which disadvantaged the Councilfinancially in contractual arrangements with Sportspartner Ltd", a charitable company created to enable the Council to manage funds more efficiently.

They were particularly concerned to learn that the former director general and the former finance director had conflicts of interest. The director general had resigned as a director of Sportspartner when the conflicts of interest were brought to his attention, but he remained as a director of a subsidiary.

The Committee also attacked the complex structure of charitable and trading companies "beyond the control" of the Department of National Heritage.

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