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THE OPERATION AND WIND UP OF TEESSIDE DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION

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John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, has published his report on the operation and wind up of Teesside De...
John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, has published his report on the operation and wind up of Teesside Development Corporation. The comptroller and auditor general's report is in response to concerns raised with him by three members of parliament for the North East of England and a former contractor of the corporation. During its 11 year life the corporation, which was wound up in March 1998, achieved a great deal in regenerating an area that was suffering from long term industrial and economic decline.

Sir John highlights the points arising from this case that are relevant to departments' oversight of sponsored bodies more generally. In particular he emphasises the importance of:

- boards of sponsored bodies having an appropriate range of skills and mix of personalities to provide sufficient checks and balances within the Board, and effective oversight of senior operational staff;

- board members being provided with an adequate understanding of their responsibilities, and in particular, the financial management and reporting requirements of public sector bodies; and

- departments focusing their oversight on those bodies which pose the greatest risk, based on a periodic risk assessment of bodies under their sponsorship.

An executive summary of the report is available here.

Notes

1. Teesside Development Corporation was one of 12 urban development corporations set up in England between 1981 and 1993 as limited life bodies to achieve the physical, environmental and economic regeneration of urban areas experiencing long-term decline. Teesside Development Corporation was one of the largest corporations, covering some 12,000 acres in the North East of England. The corporation was set up in 1987 and wound up on 31 March 1998. The corporations were accountable to parliament through the secretary of state at the then DoE (now the DTLR).

2. The three members of parliament for constituencies in the North East of England were Frank Cook, MP for Stockton North, Ashok Kumar, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, and Dari Taylor, MP for Stockton South.

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