Directors at the North West Development Agency have been left red-faced after losing contractual documents relating to the creation of the region's £185m venture capital loan fund.
In a report to the NWDA board, Tim Sheward, director of economic development at the agency, explained that auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers had found some key documents but had "been unable to find other historic documents which were held electronically pre-dating [NWDA's] current systems."
Sheward's report went on: "A detailed action plan was in place to find the remaining documents, with a weekly report to the executive management board. The risks were regarded as low due to the historic nature of the procurement process."
Sheward said the documents were later found. Sheward told Place on Monday afternoon: "All the key documents in relation to the North West Fund were successfully transferred to government in October."
Sheward said the board report, written in early September, came midway through the PwC audit at a time when they were looking for hard copy and had not worked through all the electronic documents yet. The North West Fund transferred to BIS on 10 October.
The £185m venture capital fund, trading as the North West Fund, was launched in December 2010 and has invested around £10m to date. The funding was provided jointly by the European Investment Bank and European Regional Development Fund. The fund provides debt and equity from £50,000 to £2m to small and medium sized enterprises based in, or relocating to, the North West.
A spokesman for the North West Fund said there were 350 deals in the pipeline, with a combined value of £120m, at the end of October.
The NWDA has now handed over control of the fund to central government, where it resides in the Capital for Enterprise department. The NWDA will close at the end of March 2012.