Thursday, March 26, 2009

Lambeth Conference mismangement due to incompetence?

The report is in and sadly, it's a doozy. The appendixes are a doozy as well. Here's a short excerpt from the Church of England Newspaper.
POOR PLANNING, inexperienced management, and weak financial controls contributed to a £288,000 deficit for the 2008 Lambeth Conference, a report released last week by the Archbishops' Council and the Church Commissioners has concluded.

The management team, conference structure and business practices were not up to the job, the report found, stating that the “arrangements in place for the 2008 conference were less robust than they needed to be.”

The conference's opaque management structure had left no one in charge, with the result that there had been a “disconnect between design on the one hand, and capacity and execution on the other.” The lack of clear lines of authority had led to cost overruns, with the financial team “not always aware” of the commitments made by conference management staff. Two examples cited by the report were the “failure to recognise a commitment for expenditure of £411,000 on the Big Top” the blue tent that served as the principle venue for conference meetings, and IT support.

The conference finance director “did not know” about the Big Top bill, while the conference “organiser did not know it was not in the budget.” Rather than charging a flat fee for internet usage by conference goers, the University of Kent changed the conference for individual log-ons, leading to a bill of £80,576---over £65,000 over budget.
I remember we were each given individually unique logins rather than a set login for everyone, which must have been how the University tracked the expenditures. Once you had a login, though, you could get online even at other University campuses in Canterbury. So the structures of the internet connections must be based on the University organizations where each student is charged individually, only in the case of the Lambeth Conference the conference was charged individually (just imagine how many individual charges there were) - no group rate! It was like an open bar which each single drink got charged to the palace. The worse place to get an internet connection, by the way, was actually in the newsroom. That should have been a clue.

What also makes the report fascinating is to see how the structure works (or didn't work) in understanding the management of the Anglican Communion Office. Those documents are here.

UPDATE: Read the entire article here.

From the Church of England newspaper (to subscribe for the entire article click here). Official Report is
here. Appendixes are here.


Floridian said...

SO - how does Rowan Williams have the credibility to be invited over here to the US to preach and teach on economics?

tjmcmahon said...

411,000 pounds sterling for a tent??? That sounds like they must have bought it from a US defense contractor and had it flown over in chartered B-52 and then erected on site by a group of PhD engineers. What happened to the gold plated tent after the "show" was over?

Steven in Falls Church said...

How is it that you manage to run a deficit on a conference that was intentionally structured to accomplish nothing and boycotted by almost half the expected attendees?

Pageamtmaster said...

Just as well the ABC gave them all the 'Cross of St Augustine before this report came out. BTW interesting to see how little support TEC gave the finances, considering it was largely organised by RW to save their bacon.

Anything touched by the Archbishop ends up being run by Widow Twanky.

Ah well!

Pageantmaster said...

You will see if you read Appendix F that far from the ABC receiving US funds that the conference was largely financed by the Church of England, its investment managers, dioceses and parishes. Money that is needed urgently for our clergy pensions, churches and mission.

But Rowan Williams is not worried. After all - it is not his money.

Allen said...

THAT tent was ridiculous from the start and only a clown would have wanted it to stage a meeting. Weren't there enough edifices around? THAT would have been the #1 veto on my list if I had managed the thing....and maybe I should have, because NOBODY did!

Pageantmaster said...

As far as I know there were some air conditioning issues and they all cooked in the big top.

Trust Canterbury to invent the boil-in-a-bag bishop!