Auditors Grant Thornton have issued a damning report on the political and leadership failings that have left Robin Hood Energy’s future in the balance.
The Nottingham City Council-owned firm, a not-for-profit organisation, has cumulatively lost £34.4m. The public report states:
- There was an insufficient appreciation within the Council (as a corporate body) of the huge risks involved in ownership of, and investment in, Robin Hood Energy (RHE)
- There was insufficient understanding within the Council of Robin Hood’s financial position, partly due to delays in the provision of information by RHE and the quality and accuracy of that information
- There was insufficient sector (or general commercial) expertise at non-executive Board level
- There was a lack of clarity in relation to roles within the governance structure
- The arrangements did not establish an appropriate and consistent balance between holding to account and allowing the Company freedom to manage, and this worsened as levels of trust decreased and the financial position deteriorated.
The report continues:
“Despite the escalating situation, the Council’s Leadership has only very recently reacted vigorously to the situation and moved away from what had felt to be a determination to continue at any cost. This is not how local authorities should look after large amounts of public money”.
The auditors recommend Nottingham City Council urgently determines the future of the company, and should review its approach to having politicians on the boards of council-owned companies.
See the auditor’s report here.