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.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.
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.
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.