Tag Archives: Audit Committee

WE’RE CRAP CONFIRM AUDITORS

More exciting news on the Rev Rees’s efforts to support WHISTLEBLOWERS at Bristol City Council.

We learn that the Rev’s hapless pair of CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS have investigated the state of whistleblowing at Bristol City Council and have discovered – after all these years – that there’s “a lack of co-ordination, no central or comprehensive recording of whistleblowing reports and no governance or review of the process.”

Well, we could have told them that. Remember the whistleblowers who were unceremoniously REMOVED from the council’s Markets Service in 2012 while in the care of Internal Auditors so that middle-ranking council bosses could spend 18 months COVERING-UP a comprehensive rip-off of the public?

And who was responsible for these useless whistleblowing arrangements at Bristol City Council?  Please step forward, er,  Bristol City Council’s CHIEF INTERNAL AUDITORS Alison “Mullet” Mullis and Melanie “Joe” Henchy-McCarthy who have been regularly reporting absolute bullshit about whistleblowing matters to the council’s Audit Committee  for years.

Now – presumably to keep their ineffective whistleblowing merry-go-round spinning aimlessly – the Chief Internal Auditors have announced they’re developing a NEW whistleblowing process for themselves and they’ll present an annual review of their work to the Audit Committee (as they have, in theory, always done). Plus ca change?

What whistleblower in their right mind would trust this pair of dubious chief auditors reporting – yet again – to the same soft-headed council committee of the gullible?

AUDIT UPDATE: BUNDRED EXPOSES BENT CHIEF AUDITORS

We don’t like to say that we told you so, but … We told you so! That staggering pair of arseholes, Alison “Mullet” Mullis and Melanie “Joe” Henchy-McCarthy, Bristol City Council’s Chief Internal Auditors – who are supposed to protect our money at the council – have been EXPOSED as BENT and USELESS by the council’s ‘Bundred Report’ into its dodgy finance reporting.

According to independent investigator Steve “Sticky” Bundred, the pair of idiot auditors gave the basketcase ‘Single Change Programme’ – that was supposed to deliver £64 million worth of corporate savings to the council by March 2017 and didn’t  – a clean bill of health and a ‘GOOD‘ rating in July 2015. Although it was plainly apparent, even then, to anyone allowed to look that it wasn’t delivering the savings that it should.

While the two auditors researched their report in the summer of 2015, Sticky Bundred tells us that the man in charge of the savings, strategic director Max Wide “Boy”, had “developed SERIOUS DOUBTS about the achievability of the planned savings …   as [his] Directorate was clearly failing to deliver savings expected from investment in commercial property.”

Bundred also says, “These CONCERNS were apparently expressed by [Wide Boy] to the then City Director [Nicola “Lady Gaga” Yates] in a one to one meeting on 13 July 2015 and again in a presentation to an SLT (senior leadership team) awayday.”

Bundred further notes, “on 11 June 2015 the Service Director, HR [Richard Billingham] and the Service Director, Business Change and ICT  [Paul “Arrogant” Arrigoni] met with the then City Director [Gaga] and the Strategic Director, Business Change [Wide Boy] to express concerns that benefits from the Change Programme were “DRIFTING“.”

So how did these two audit experts and super-sleuths employed by us to protect our money miss these OBVIOUS signs of a big problem in a programme they were investigating and manage to rate it as ‘GOOD‘ to councillors on the Audit Committee instead? Who knows? Because the Reverend Rees, so far, can’t be arsed to find out and neither can his Audit Committee.

Our intrepid auditors then went on to do a further investigation, specifically into the financial benefits of the ‘Single Change Programme’ in August 2015. Their draft report was issued to Wide Boy and his Single Change managers in November 2015. This draft report correctly identified cost reductions through a high-profile redundancy scheme in 2014 had NOT BEEN ACHIEVED.

Sticky Bundred explains, “Auditors believed posts were being deleted that had been vacant for a long time so there was NO ACTUAL SAVING and when actual people were released they were often replaced by interims/contractors or casual staff. In consequence, the draft [auditors] report identified RED RISKS in several areas.”

However, by November 2015, says Sticky, the Chief Internal Auditors had allowed the bosses in charge of the underachieving ‘Single Change Programme’ [Wide Boy, Arrogant and the Change Services Manager] to REWRITE their report for them!

The honest pair of auditors then proceeded to tell councillors on the Audit Committee in January 2016 via a ‘summary’ of their full report  that the Single Change Programme was operating at an ‘ACCEPTABLE‘ level without a ‘Red Risk’ in sight! When in fact it was FAILING to the tune of £29 million as all the bosses and both Chief Internal Auditors knew perfectly well.

This is straightforward LYING to our elected representatives. Why the fuck are this pair of bent audit bosses still in post and not at the Job Centre or, even, in a police cell?

BUNDRED REPORT: PANIC AT THE TOP?

A sense of DISARRAY and PANIC at the top of Bristol City Council is emerging as public anger and a determined effort to rid ourselves of the THIRTY bosses who hid a £30m budget black hole from the Bristolian public and their councillors in 2016 grows by the day.

The latest tactic from Bristol City Council’s CRIMINAL gang of Strategic and Service Directors – who presented a set of bent accounts to the public just prior to thieving a 20 per cent pay rise for themselves on the basis of their ‘talent’ – is to IGNORE their correspondence and AVOID replying to Freedom of Information requests.

A recent Freedom of Information request asking that the council supply the minutes of their CHANGE BOARD – where the £30 million scam was cooked-up – has been deliberately delayed. Because, claim panicking bosses, of the “COMPLEXITY” of the request.

What a load of bollocks. Retrieving files from a computer system and supplying them to the public involves no complexity whatsoever. IT’S A SIMPLE TASK. How can a £3 million a year high talent management team not be able to complete this simple task in a month and, instead, resort to weeping about the complexity of it all?

No wonder they struggle with traffic management and house building if obtaining files off a computer is too difficult for them. They are beyond PATHETIC and useless LIARS to boot.

Meanwhile, why is Shahzia “Dim” Daya – the council’s legal boss and Monitoring Officer right at the centre of the corruption scandal – IGNORING the straightforward request published below? Why’s she so bothered about involving external auditors? What could possibly be her problem with that?

From: steven norman <>
Sent: 17 February 2017 12:04
To: shahzia.daya@bristol.gov.uk
Subject: RE: RIGGING OF 2016 LOCAL & MAYORAL ELECTION BY 30 OFFICERS

Ms Daya

Perhaps someone could confirm whether Bristol City Council will be formally requesting that their external auditors conduct a Public Interest Investigation into the following:

– the 30 senior officers/Change Board that withheld information from councillors and the S151 officer that resulted in a material misstatement in the 2015 – 16 accounts and material misstatements in the budget for 2016 – 17 agreed by Full Council in February 2016.

– The Chief Internal Auditors who, in April 2015, found the Change Programme governance arrangements to be ‘good’. A perverse conclusion entirely at odds with the Bundred Report.

– The Chief Internal Auditors over a further Internal Audit report produced in November 2015 and finally published in December 2015 – ‘Change Programme: Financial Benefits Realisation” – that reported ‘acceptable’ levels of control across all areas of the Change Programme after the report was altered by the following officers – Change Services Manager, Service Director, Business Change & ICT, and Strategic Director, Business Change.

– The Chief Internal Auditors presenting the December 2015 report above to the Audit Committee in summary form and with no indication it had been substantially rewritten by officers/managers running the failing Change Programme.

Only it appears to me that an attempt was being made to rig the election by 30 officers who knowingly withheld vital and important information from elected officials and the general public

Kindest Regards

Mr Stephen Norman

If Bristol City Council’s sleazy management scum are avoiding answering these simple questions to DELIBERATELY avoid bringing in the external auditors as they are legally required to do, then they need to quit now so some bosses can come in who are prepared to OBEY THE LAW.

AUDIT WATCH

Brain

Ironic Name Brain in action

Our dear old friends at the council’s in-house financial watchdog, the AUDIT COMMITTEE, managed to excel even themselves in the totally-fucking-useless-and-incompetent stakes at their meeting in March to look at Green Capital spending.

Long touted as the moment that Bristolians would get the answers to their questions about what happened to the £8M OF PUBLIC MONEY spent on a year long jolly for the city’s ultra-privileged and their mates, the meeting was ineptly chaired by Labour’s Mark “Ironic Name” Brain. A man who increasingly resembles some sort of special needs case rather than a senior local politician.

Under Ironic Name Brain’s careful stewardship, members of the public were invited to ask their Green Capital questions to THIN AIR while direct questions from councillors on how public money was spent by the Green Capital’s private company, Bristol 2015 Ltd, also went UNANSWERED. Because nobody from Green Capital bothered to turn up for the first hour and a half of the agenda item!

However,Bristol 2015 Ltd chief exec, Nicola “LADY GAGA” Yates did finally put in an appearance but only after Deputy Mayor Geoff “Cods” Gollop admitted to our feisty and fearless independent financial watchdogs that he had personally undermined their authority and had instructed Bristol 2015 Ltd NOT TO ATTEND the meeting that he was only an invited guest at!

This blatant SABOTAGE by the mayor’s office of an independent committee of councillors did result in a mild rebuke to Gollop from Ironic Name. Although the obvious action of halting the DERANGED, HALF-ARSED MEETING immediately and arranging a proper public bollocking for Gollop and a proper meeting to investigate Bristol 2015 Ltd appeared way beyond Ironic Name’s abilities. Instead he ploughed on. Overseeing a farce.

Gaga’s performance, once she turned up, was undoubtedly the STAR COMIC TURN. The £192k a year council chief deciding to insist that she was only attending as Chief Exec of Bristol 2015 Ltd and couldn’t possibly answer any questions about the council she’s in charge of. Instead she redirected questions about the council to a HAPLESS MINION.

Meanwhile any questions directed by councillors to Gaga about Bristol 2015 Ltd were BATTED AWAY. “I don’t hold the data in my head,” she waffled. Neither did she have any data on a piece of paper, because, she claimed, she didn’t know about the meeting in advance and had only decided to pop in after seeing the meeting being webcast!

This RIDICULOUS CHARADE, performed under their noses by their most highly paid boss, passed without comment from the half-wits on the Audit Committee. And, after around two hours of aimless fucking about, the committee blandly concluded that “LESSONS NEEDED TO BE LEARNED“. Although what lessons or how the council will learn them is anybody’s guess as they didn’t bother to say.

All this meeting really demonstrated is that the only bigger waste of time and money than Bristol’s Green Capital is Bristol City Council’s Audit Committee. What are these wankers for?

MARKET FARCES: ‘REASONABLE’ LOSSES?

MarketsElsewhere in the latest markets report we’re assured that the OLD BENT MANAGEMENT of the service has now been moved on in favour of a new, young all-singing, all dancing team.

So how are the new team getting on? Well, a careful read of the report reveals they have managed to collect just 73 PER CENT of their total income for the year so far. This means over a quarter of the service’s income is going uncollected.

We calculate this amounts to a figure not unadjacent to £100K A YEAR that new bosses have failed to bank on our behalf.

Meanwhile Internal Audit assure us – after three years of constant work – that, “Controls are operating at an ACCEPTABLE level and management can take REASONABLE assurance that MANY of the risks to the service are effectively managed.”

Hardly fills you with confidence does it? Meet the new boss, same as the old boss!

MARKET FARCES: A WRITE OFF?

MarketsOur endless trudge through the city council’s farcically bent MARKETS SERVICE continues into another year …

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?

 

MARKETS: THE PERSISTENCE OF UNEXPLAINED AMOUNTS OF MISSING CASH

The Markets FileThe City Council’s Audit Committee chair MARK “NO” BRAIN’s presentation of his yearly report to Full Council in July proved to be hugely entertaining for public and councillors.

Sporting a dazzling Salvador Dali tie, perhaps to highlight the surrealism of it all, a visibly wriggling, flustered and confused No Brain finally had to come up – publicly – with an explanation as to what’s been going in the council’s MARKET SERVICE for the last three years and what his committee’s done about it. And what a gem of an explanation we got!

No Brain confirmed that at least £41k was indeed MISSING from the service. Although he creatively upcycled and rebranded this embarrassing and inexplicable disappearance of cash from his description last month of it as “A DEBT” (owed by no one) to a “NOT QUITE A LOSS“!

He then claimed – WITHOUT ANY EVIDENCE – that the money definitely hadn’t been “misappropriated” and this “not-quite-a-loss” was the result of “mismanagement and bad accounting”.

Raising the immediate question of what the hell is “BAD ACCOUNTING” and how does it make £41k disappear into thin air?

Can we all do that? Or is it only city council middle managers who are allowed to run a set of accounts so shite that CASH CAN JUST RANDOMLY DISAPPEAR without any explanation and then get formally explained away by an idiot in a Salvador Dali tie as a “not-quite-a-loss”?

At least we’ve all now learned how to rip cash off the council. Just generally fuck up your accounts by inaccurately recording any cash going into those accounts; pocket the cash; forget to reconcile cash in the bank with your accounts and wait for the council’s Internal Auditors to formally sign it off as a “not-quite-a- loss” due to “mismanagement”!

This is all a change of tune from April, however, when finance bosses led by their Service Director Peter “What Crisis?” Gillett told No Brain and his committee of gullibles that the missing cash was “NOT thought to be the result of misappropriation or BAD MANAGEMENT

What’s changed since April? When did they decide that it was the fault of BAD MANAGEMENT? Are we seeing the wheels slowly coming off a poorly executed cover-up here as the excuses run out?

There’s plenty more questions to ask about all this too. Why are the council announcing this “not-quite-a-loss” now while a formal, FORENSIC AUDIT, announced in April, is still taking place? Until this audit is complete can the scale of their “not-quite-a-loss” really be officially confirmed?

So are council bosses still conspiring? This time to disguise any potentially bigger “not-quite-a-losses” from us?

An explanation is also needed about formal statements made on this matter over the summer of 2013 when both Mayor Bent Accounting and his sidekick Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty publically insisted NO MONEY WAS MISSING from the Market Service.

Another, further, outright lie came in 2012 when the BBC were assured ON THE RECORD by the council’s PR department that NO MONEY WAS MISSING in markets and the whole episode was entirely down to an “antiquated” accounting system (even though the system was only a few years old!)

Council PR boss, Tim “Zombie” Borrett then briefed this exact same LIE to the Nazi Post in March 2014 when the bent little fucker bravely tried to blame The BRISTOLIAN for the suicide of his dubious colleague, Facilities boss Tony Harvey. The man DIRECTLY ACCOUNTABLE for the accuracy and coherence of the Market Service’s accounts.

At that time Zombie Borett was PEDDLING A LINE for shadowy senior council bosses and the mayor that butter wouldn’t melt in the mouths of any Market Service managers. They were poor innocents and unfortunates who had been horribly hounded by unscrupulous forces on the internet!

Zombie Borett also “forgot” to mention during his briefing to the Post that any money had gone missing in the Market Service. Now the very same markets bosses Zombie was aggressively defending are being fingered by senior figures within the council for “MISMANAGEMENT” and “BAD ACCOUNTING“.

It’s all slowly coming out isn’t it?

That Mark “No Brain” explanation of missing Markets money to Full Council on 21 July 2015 in full:

The issue of markets has been of some public interest in, er, some quarters.

Um (pause). Basically (pause). Um, er, we had an issue around management in the markets and the, er, loss, er, or not quite the loss (pause). The fact that £41,000 of marketing money. Er, rather markets money was unaccounted for.

Um (pause). Internal audit have investigated. They are of the view they will never find the £41,000. Um, er. They are of the view it hasn’t been misappropriated. It was just mismangement and bad accounting and that’s the reason we can’t find it. Rather than it’s actually been stolen … um.

 

 

MARKETS: THE LATEST LIE

Web ExclusiveIt’s the story that never dies! Minutes finally published in late June for a meeting that took place on 24 April reveal that the council have discovered £41k in CASH is MISSING from their Markets Service. Just like The BRISTOLIAN’s been saying all along!

But how can this be? Didn’t Mayor Cover-Up and his trusty sidekick, Sir Gus Hoyty-Toyty, publicly assure us all in 2013 that NO MONEY WAS MISSING from Markets and that the Bristolian needed to stop making unsubstantiated insinuations? !


Well, that’s now officially a load of bollocks – and not at all – according to Mayor Foot-in-Mouth’s own Audit Committee. They heard ADMISSIONS from the council’s over-promoted bog cleaner-in-chief Charlie “Gutbucket” Harding, the Chief Internal Auditors and the council’s finance boss, Peter “What Crisis?” Gillet, that, despite strenuous DENIALS stretching back over three years, at least £41k of CASH has in fact gone astray.

Not that sensitive council bosses put it quite as crudely as that. Instead they referred to “A DEBT” of £41k. Albeit a rather unusual cash “debt” that was authorised by no one and is owed by no one!

Indeed, most of us would say that this money is “unaccounted for” or “missing” or, even, “STOLEN”. But what’s some deliberately misleading SEMANTICS between senior council finance managers covering arse and councillors?

This motley collection of expert finance bosses, who have taken just three years to uncover a “debt” that was first pointed out to them by a whistleblower all that time ago, were also quick to assure councillors that the “debt” was “not thought to be the result of MISAPPROPRIATION or BAD MANAGEMENT“.

Really? So how did the cash disappear then? Did it float out of a safe and up to heaven one day? Did it spontaneously combust somewhere in St Nicks Market? Or perhaps their Market safe is a portal to another dimension and our money now lies safely beyond everyone’s reach?

These latest excuses from council bosses are RIDICULOUS. How the fuck can £41k of public money not be accounted for and it not be the fault of anyone? Do they take us all for fools?

Indeed, when pressed, the council’s USELESS pair of Chief Internal Auditors were forced to admit that they were “not able to determine what had happened to the money”! So quite how the pair of COVER-UP merchants can then state categorically that it’s nothing to do with “misappropriation or bad management” is anyone’s guess. Mainly theirs!

Mayor Cash Loss’s Tory cabinet finance chief, Geoff “Cods” Gollop, was even forced to wade in at the meeting. Blustering that “accounting systems have been changed to ensure that this situation is rectified for the future”. But what “situation” is he referring to? How exactly do you rectify an INEXPLICABLE OCCURRENCE?

At least councillors on the Audit Committee, after spending three years staring gormlessly into space listening to increasingly WILD EXPLANATIONS from finance bosses while their Markets Service was ripped off, may have finally woken up.

They’ve demanded a further report from their BENT finance chiefs by the autumn and demanded an update on the so-called “debt” for their next meeting.

But what happens next? Will anyone call the POLICE to investigate where our money is as it’s obvious our council has either no idea or is covering up what’s happened to it?

MARKET FARCES: WELCOME TO THE THIRD YEAR

The Markets FileJust two and a half years after serious issues were first raised by staff and over two years since any investigation was cynically SPIKED by council facilities boss Tony Harvey, the city council’s AUDIT COMMITTEE has finally woken up and requested a report into the crackpot finances at their Markets Service.

The committee requested the report in September although nothing appeared at their November meeting. Presumably it will appear at their meeting in January then? Unless more INEXPLICABLE DELAYS occur.

What’s the harm in a few more months of dodgy council bosses pissing about after over thirty months out in the long grass anyway? We note the report will be presented to the committee by the council’s overpromoted bog cleaner (surely senior facilities manager? Ed.) CHARLIE “DIRTBUSTER” HARDING.

Surely not the same Dirtbuster Harding we find listed as the chair of a recruitment panel for a wholly unnecessary Markets Service reorganisation devised on the back of an envelope by former Facilities boss Tony Harding back in the summer of 2012 right in the middle of a major audit investigation?

Indeed it is one and the same. Dirtbuster was even joined on this BIZARRE reorganisation and recruitment escapade by his old mate, Markets boss Steve Morris. Presumably taking some time away from DELETING £32k from his dodgy departmental accounts in the middle of the audit investigation that he didn’t bother cooperating with?

Morris, incidentally, was also at the centre of serious MISCONDUCT allegations by the very people he was interviewing. And according to our extensive files, Harding’s panel conveniently failed to reappoint any Markets Service complainants and whistleblowers to their own jobs. Who’d have guessed that?

Although the gormless duo, along with their idiot boss Harvey, later had to fork out PUBLIC MONEY in compensation to these same staff to avoid ending up at an employment tribunal and having to explain away their transparently bent recruitment process.

 It’ll be interesting to see if any of these facts make it into Dirtbuster’s independent report won’t it?

ABANDON SHIP AT THE ARNOLFINI AS ‘PHONEY WAR CONTINUES!

Never more than one overpriced, underperforming art installation away from self-inflicted disaster, the elitist arty-farties of Harbourside’s ‘contemporary art’ gallery ARNOLFINI really have been surpassing themselves over the last year or so.

Not only did they manage to lose an entire ‘Executive Team’ in the space of a month, but their tenants – spread over three voluminous floors of their prestigious, cash-generating Bush House headquarters – all quit. If that wasn’t enough, they then uncovered a large black hole in the finances of around £360K – and promptly FIRED THEIR OWN AUDITORS, Grant Thornton!

Meanwhile, a deranged “recovery plan” to convert the top three floors of the Bush House bunker – at public expense! – into an “art hotel” predictably flopped.

At the height of last autumn’s crisis, the place had to be run by a sub-committee of posh twits from the Analphoney board of trustees. That was because centre director TOM TREVOR was frogmarched off the premises in October so that he could, er, “pursue a number of international curatorial projects”! Presumably he didn’t have a family to “spend more time with”, then?

Trevor was escorted out the door right after the other half of the “executive team”, finance chief and our old friend BRENDA ‘WISE MONKEY’ MCLENNAN, was herself ‘disappeared’ from the organisation without explanation last August.

Brenda, you may recall, is currently vice-chair of Bristol City Council’s financial watchdog, the Audit Committee. So despite an organisation apparently sinking faster than the Titanic on her watch, she got a job overseeing sound financial practice at the council! (But then again, between 2009-2013 she notched up a not-to-be-sniffed-at £1,958.53 in expenses from the council, which suggests a certain amount of flair…)

You may recall that Brenda – she of the £800k Clifton Wood mansion – was a candidate at the last election for George Ferguson’s INDYREDPANTS PARTY, promising that she was going “to shake things up” at the Council House. Well, she’s certainly managed to shake things up at the ‘Phoney!

Other victims of the mass clear out include colourfully-named former chair LOVEDAY SHEWELL. She quietly left after six years in the post in July 2012. Although oddly, despite the UK’s arty-fartie-bore-in-chief Sir Nicolas Serota describing the ‘Phoney as “one of a handful of the most significant cultural centres in Europe,” Ms Shewell has mysteriously left her time with the gallery off her extensive CV. Why could that be?

Meanwhile, that renowned patron of the arts, business genius and financial whiz – MAYOR FERGO himself – hastily quit his post on the board of trustees in December 2012.

Demonstrating, yet again, that George’s instinct for survival outstrips his business acumen by some way.