The report by the Auditor General for Wales said that the Welsh Assembly Government did a good job overall in managing the risks it faced as a key funder and that the construction phase was managed well, but it was not on top of the continuing risks once the WMC had opened.
The report, published yesterday, said the Welsh Assembly Government was not fully alert to the risks until the WMC reached a financial crisis and requested additional public funds. In late 2006, the WMC reported that it was running at a loss. In November 2007, the Assembly Government agreed to pay off the WMC’s loan, which had risen to £13.5 million, and to increase its annual revenue funding from £750,000 to £3.7 million.
In all, the project cost just over £109 million and has required more public money than originally expected.
The Wales Millennium Centre was opened in November 2004 and is situated in Cardiff Bay. It is an iconic building, clad in local slate and houses seven resident organisations including the Welsh National Opera.
The Auditor General for Wales, Jeremy Colman, said:
"The Wales Millennium Centre was a high risk, complex, project and, although the public bodies funding it followed good practice in many areas - particularly through joint monitoring - there were some fundamental weaknesses. The project would have been better served if the Welsh Assembly Government had paid equal attention to addressing the risks involved in funding a successful business as they did to addressing the risks in funding the construction, and my recommendations focus on these areas."