Council chiefs ‘misled by cyclo-cross event officer’

Councillor Catriona Morris
Councillor Catriona Morris

A council officer was sacked for overspending on the city’s World Cup Cyclo-Cross event by more than £300,000.

The event in Campbell Park made cycling history for being the first of its kind to start in Britain – but unbeknown to visitors, MK Council considered cancelling the event.

It only went ahead because the council’s reputation was at risk – and the price to cancel the event was more costly than continuing, it has been revealed.

This week a thorough report investigating the organisation of the event was published – 10 months on from it taking place.

It found that the officer was “ill-equpped” to manage an event of its scale – and misled bosses over financial commitments that had been made.

Council chiefs had “misplaced trust” in the officer, which led to “weak supervision”, the report said.

In the end extra resources and funding ensured the event went ahead – attracting 12,000 people to the city last November.

In light of the mess-up, new management and supervision processes have been put into place to avoid future mistakes.

The officer was sacked for gross misconduct.

Councillor Catriona Morris said: “It is concerning how long it has taken for the report to get to the audit committee.

“I hope lessons were learnt early enough so that the council avoided another similar situation in the time it took to write the report. Thankfully the event was a huge success for Milton Keynes.”