“High Speed Rail 2’s chief financial officer has resigned after a report raised questions of unapproved redundancy payouts.
In July, The National Audit Office found HS2 had ignored orders from the Department for Transport and wasted £1.76m of public money on an ‘excessively generous’ redundancy scheme.
Steve Allen, the chief financial officer of HS2, will leave the company at the end of the financial year, HS2 announced on Tuesday.
Allen said in a statement: “The weaknesses highlighted by the NAO report resulted in both the HS2 executive and board being misinformed about the status of critical approvals for redundancies.
“Those assurances were given by teams for which I was responsible and, obviously, I regret that.”
HS2’s chief executive Mark Thurston said he respected Allen’s decision that it was the “right time for him to move on”.
He said the CFO had been “absolutely critical in identifying the ways to rectify” isssues with administrative controls and mechanisms on redundancies agreed by the company.
But, he added, Allen had now done that and allowed him to “build the executive team for the next phase of the project” with his “honourable decision”.
The NAO report found the company has made redundancy commitments of £2.76m, of which an estimated £1.76m comprised unapproved enhancements.
The report said the actions showed “an example of ineffective communication both between the company and the department, and within the company.
“Whilst deriving from a single redundancy scheme, these findings highlight the need for improvements in the company’s general control environment, where the company has itself acknowledged areas of weakness.”