2. The financial performance of the New Millennium Experience Company (NMEC) has not matched the expectations of the Company, the Millennium Commission or Ministers. This Committee has no wish to resile from its previous support for the Dome. We consider some of the reasons for the present difficulties could have been foreseen, but we accept that they were not necessarily foreseen by this Committee, although individual members have voiced their concerns during meetings of this Committee. It is, nevertheless, the duty of this Committee, on behalf of Parliament, to seek to ascertain what went wrong and why. We have also examined what has gone right and the benefits that the Millennium Dome and other capital projects are bringing and may bring in future.
Timetables and administration
15. Public and media criticism of several capital projects has resulted from their failure to meet expected opening deadlines. Consistent themes have emerged about the causes of delay, including difficulties in securing funding, negotiating contracts, finalising design and construction.
Consequently, many projects have instigated a phased opening system. However, although some criticism of the delays is justified, most of the projects are no more than six months behind their original timetable. In 1998, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport stated that 80 per cent of projects should be completed during the year 2000. To date, 72 projects have opened. The Millennium Commission expects that about 150 projects will have opened by the end of this year, which represents about 80 per cent of capital projects. That suggests that concerns about delays may have been exaggerated.
16. The Millennium Commission's administration has received both criticism and praise from the projects that it has funded. Some projects criticised it for the complexity of its bureaucracy and contractual arrangements or for the inexperience...