PROFITS at the council-owned company Seascapes are down nearly 50 per cent year on year, documents have shown. 

Seascape Group’s net profit after tax for 2022/23 was £57,000 – a drop from the recorded profits of £106,000 for the financial year before. 

The company, made up of Seascape South and Seascape Homes and Property, posted a pre-tax profit of £76K against a budgeted profit of £106K. 

Gross profits were up from £364k to £394k however so were administrative expenses, rising from £230k to £315k. 

A five-year plan set out by cabinet in 2020 aimed to make Seascape South the “contractor of choice” for disabled facility grant (DFG) work that would achieve a 50 per cent market share. 

DFG is a government-funded scheme which is given to disabled people to make home improvements and life easier. 

Bournemouth Echo: Seascape helps the homelessSeascape helps the homeless

Bournemouth Echo: Seascape helped build the Durley Chine environmental hubSeascape helped build the Durley Chine environmental hub (Image: Daily Echo)

Seascape Homes and Property aims to build homeless lets and 90 private and rental homes by 2025. 

Set up in 2016, Seascape Homes and Properties allows the authority operate as a private sector landlord and issue assured shorthold tenancies - which local authorities cannot do with social housing.  

As of April 2023, Seascape Homes and Properties holds leases on 160 properties, 93 of which are for the homeless. 

To date, Seascape’s directors are council leader and deputy leader Vikki Slade and Millie Earl, Cllr David d’Orton-Gibson and Paul Whittles, BCP Council’s finance manager. 

As reported, BCP Council is expected to review all the companies it owns, including Seascape, to ensure “lessons are learned” following the controversies around in-house regeneration company FuturePlaces.  

This includes adopting a best practice model, which would ensure the companies comply with good governance, whether the reasons why BCP Council still has the companies are valid and if it is right for delivering its policies. 

An independent auditor’s report, written by accountant Hixsons, considered “potential financial or other pressures, opportunity and motivations for fraud”. 

The report said: “We did not identify any key audit matters relating to irregularities, including fraud.” 

Seascape says it is managed by “experienced construction professionals”, giving the company a “reliable and trusted basis from which it can deliver high-quality services”.