Back in December, the authority’s ineffectual Internal Audit service dished up their FIFTH report in THREE YEARS about the service for the benefit of their gormless councillor overseers on the Audit Committee.
This time around, as well as the usual bland assurance that everything was improving, we got a wholesale REWRITING OF HISTORY. “An audit review of Markets operations was undertaken in November 2012,” they bluster.
And “Control weaknesses were particularly associated with two factors – the dominance of CASH COLLECTIONS, and utilisation of a dedicated and separate Markets ACCOUNTING SYSTEM which did not interface with the main finance system,” they blow.
An interesting theory … although unfortunately it’s total NONSENSE! Because the briefest glance at their audit opinion in 2012 says no such thing. It actually says that “a lack of urgency and willingness from MARKETS STAFF to quickly resolve all issues that were brought to their attention” was the problem.
Along with management’s “FAILURE TO EXHIBIT OWNERSHIP of errors that contributed to the poor manual and electronic recording of financial and commercial transactions.”
In other words the problem was dodgy management and their criminally incompetent oversight of the service, especially its finances, not the “dominance of cash” or any technical issues with the accounting system.
The next paragraph of the latest report then blithely explains, “The Council’s debtors section is in the process of WRITING OFF HISTORICAL DEBT which is considered NON RECOVERABLE.”
In other words, money that simply disappeared without explanation due to the inexplicable actions of the OLD management is being quietly written off by the NEW management. Note also that the Internal Audit service have forgotten to tell us how much of our money is being written off.
In their last report they invented a so-say “DEBT“, apparently owed by no one, of £40k. Although the figure written into the council’s accounts in 2012 as “UNCOLLECTED LICENCE FEES” when they did their original investigation was as much as £165k.
So how much of our money have these clowns inexplicably lost and secretly written off? And why are they being so coy about it?