A number of people have been asking questions about Regus Kora, the company that has been working with Cambridgeshire County Council on the proposed Cambridge Library Enterprise Centre. After doing some further research, I have some questions too.
My questions concern Roger Perrin, who is described on this LinkedIn page as “Global Managing Director Regus Kora”. Although names of Kora staff have been redacted from the minutes of the meetings between Kora and Cambridgeshire County Council, it seems very likely that Mr Perrin is the “RP” referred to throughout the minutes. Here’s a sample extract, from the meeting of 16 September 2014:
From his LinkedIn page, we can see that Mr Perrin has been involved with a number of different companies during his career. Indeed, he has previous experience of similar projects – here is an article from the Cambridge News in 2009 in which he’s launching an “enterprise hub” called Start Cambridge. I didn’t remember hearing about this before, and it no longer seems to be operating, so I did a little research to see what had happened to it. During the course of this research, I turned up a number of interesting facts.
Firstly, there’s Start Operations Limited, of which Mr Perrin was a director. I say was, because as you can see from the company’s filing history at Companies House, the company was dissolved last year following a liquidation. From the Statement of affairs document filed on 9 February 2009, it seems that it owed its creditors around £1.5 million when it ceased trading.
Secondly, if you go to the Companies House Disqualified Directors Register and enter Mr Perrin’s name, it turns up this record (I’ve redacted Mr Perrin’s address and date of birth):
So it seems from this record that Mr Perrin is just over half way through an eight-year period of being disqualified from acting as a company director. If you click on the reason code, it explains that this is because of section 7 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. The explanatory notes say:
Sections 6 – 8: Disqualification for unfitness to act as company director –
6: Duty of court to disqualify unfit directors of insolvent companies.
7: The Secretary of State may accept a disqualification order where the conditions in section 6(1) are met and it appears to him to be expedient to do so in the public interest.
8: Disqualification after investigation of company, under companies and other legislation.
Company number 03215974, mentioned in the record, is (or rather was) Start Architecture Ltd, which was “dissolved via compulsory strike-off” last year – its filing history is here.
Naturally, this raises a number of questions about the Cambridge Library Enterprise Centre project:
- Did Council officers know about Mr Perrin’s history when they decided to work with Kora on the CLEC project?
- If did know, why didn’t they tell the councillors who were deciding whether the project should go ahead with Kora as a partner?
- If they didn’t know, why not? The information is all on the public record – due diligence should have turned it up.
Cambridge people need to know the answers.
Update: The Cambridge News has an article about this here. As it says, the County Council has issued a statement:
“The highways and community infrastructure committee agreed in principle on Tuesday to approve the proposals for an enterprise centre. No signing of any contracts has yet taken place.
“In light of information that has come to our attention the council’s executive director for economy, transport and environment has following consultation with the committee chairman suspended further work on the project, pending consideration by the committee.”
Second update: I want to make it very clear that I am in no way suggesting that Mr Perrin has done anything illegal. My point is that councillors should have been aware of his background when making decisions about the project.