Bristol City Council’s Audit Committee continues to impress. The committee, that’s supposed to oversee sound finance and good governance at our council, releases its annual report to councillors today for the year the Bundred Report into the council’s latest FINANCIAL SHAMBLES was published.
Among a host of serious management misconduct at Bristol City Council, Bundred’s report detailed how the Audit Committee had been thoroughly MISLED by its own Chief Internal Auditors and senior bosses about their ‘savings programme’ for 2013 – 16. Sometimes through the use of straightforward LIES to the committee and sometimes through the use of “summary reports’ that conveniently LEFT OUT any bad news or actual facts.
This resulted in councillors setting an UNLAWFUL BUDGET for 2015 – 16 that proposed the council spend £30million more than they were legally permitted. So there’s lots to tell councillors and the public in this annual report then?
Or maybe not? As the latest Labour Party mug flailing around totally out-of-his-depth as the Audit Committee Chair, Olly “Meadiocre’ Mead, has delivered a short five page report of remarkable blandness and few recommendations. Indeed, it’s such a load of shite it could only have been written for him by his BENT Internal Audit Service.
Summing up a year of revelations of outright financial CRIMINALITY from his senior staff and auditors and financial ARMAGEDDON for the rest of us, Mediaocre felt his committee needed to focus on just three problems: ‘Maintaining an apolitical/independent approach to meeting agendas and items thereon’; ‘providing robust challenge to determine the effectiveness of Council’s governance framework’; ‘ensuring focused meetings to maximise the Committee impact’.
If anyone can find the part of the Bundred Report criticising ‘politicised’ Audit Committee meetings and a lack of focus at their meetings – do let us know. Otherwise just assume this is a load of wind and irrelevant bollocks from a CRIMINALLY NEGLIGENT Internal Audit Service trying to cover their tracks by, er, misleading councillors (all over again).
Nothing sums up the misleading nature of this report more than the fact that NOWHERE does it mention the pretty important news that the council has appointed a new private sector Interim Chief Internal Auditor – Jonathan Idle of JR Idle Audit Services Ltd – no doubt for the standard annual six figure wedge. The appointment of this new Chief Internal Auditor hasn’t been formally announced to councillors anywhere else either.
Naturally, in order to waste even more of our money, which the Reverend Rees insists is in short supply, they’ve also KEPT their job share pair of USELESS and CORRUPT existing Chief Internal Auditors Melanie “Joe” Henchy-McCarthy and Alison “Mullet” Mullis in post. Although they’re now rebranded as just ‘Head of Internal Audit’ while being paid the same money.
In other words, the council’s response to the TOTAL FAILURE of their Audit Committee, Internal Audit and Chief Internal Auditors is to spend over £100k a year more of our money on a private sector consultant to do the jobs of pair of useless failures – who should be SACKED – who are still raking in excessive salaries they don’t deserve.
Also, NOWHERE in Mediocre’s report, is it mentioned that the Audit Committee has, for the last five years, received report after report from McCarthy and Mullet assuring councillors that finance management and risk at the council has been a story of CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT.
Until – that is – the Bundred Report appeared last year. Now we’re told by Chief Exec Big Wedge, in a separate finance report to Cabinet in May, that “the required Internal Audit Plan is not deliverable within existing resources” because of the “scale of finance improvements required”. Why is this serious AUDIT FAILURE and five year tissue of OUTRIGHT LIES from Internal Auditors not mentioned by Mediocre?
It’s also worth noting that the two ‘independent’ members of the Audit Committee – Brenda “Wise Monkey” McClennan and Ken “Fool” Guy – who mysteriously noticed NOTHING amiss as various financial scandals engulfed the council during their extended eight year tenures – have finally been let go.
Although – as yet – no replacements have been secured. Perhaps because if a normal member of the public sat on this committee listening to the bollocks spouted by the unholy alliance of city council senior bosses and their PATSY AUDITORS they might start asking difficult questions?
What a shambles.