Audit Committee to kick off Borough Council’s NTFC loan review

Published: Wednesday, 13 January 2016

A report by the borough council’s Audit Committee on January 18 will set out the framework for the Committee’s inquiry into the council’s handling of the £10.25million loan to Northampton Town FC.

The Audit Committee will carry out an internal investigation that will look at the policies and procedures followed by Northampton Borough Council when granting and monitoring the loan for the improvement of the of the football club’s stadium and the development of the associated land at Sixfields.

Assisted by the borough council’s internal auditors, Price Waterhouse Cooper, the Audit Committee will then report on their findings, with any recommendations, to full council.

Three separate investigations will take place into the loan to the club. In parallel to this Audit Committee investigation, KPMG LLP, external auditor for the borough council, is carrying out an independent review.

Northamptonshire Police is also carrying out a criminal investigation into alleged financial mismanagement of the funds that were loaned by the council, and that will take primacy. The Audit Committee inquiry will be carried out alongside the police investigation and care will be taken not to compromise it in any way.

Cllr Mary Markham, Leader of Northampton Borough Council, said: “I welcome the fact that the Audit Committee is investigating the circumstances around the loan, the procedures that the borough council followed in considering the proposed loan and the processes used to manage and monitor progress once money was passed to the club.

“I am committed to pursuing the debt of £10.25 million that we lent to the football club under its previous ownership to improve the stand and develop a hotel, but also to looking at how we managed this project and where we could improve so that nothing like this can happen again.”

Through the memorandum of understanding agreed with the club’s new owners, the debt owed to the club by 1st Land Limited transferred across to the borough council. This means the council now has control of the land development and the pursuit of the debt.

The Audit Committee meeting is held in public, at 6pm on Monday 18 January at the Guildhall.