Tag Archives: Internal audit

INTERNATIONAL CUTS WATCH

Bristol City Council seems to be avoiding cuts in some areas. Please step forward the Reverend Mayor, Marvin Rees, who’s decided there should be NO CUTS at all in his personal office; his new chief executive’s office or to his senior leadership team. Areas that have all chronically UNDERPERFORMED over the last five years and cost us a lot of money.

Not that the Reverend gives a shit about saving money when it comes to himself, his self-regarding PUBLICLY FUNDED international lifestyle or his personal office team of EGO PAMPERERS on the rates.

Back on November 30 the Reverend SUSPENDED non-essential spending at the council for ordinary staff delivering services. By Tuesday 6 December he was touching down in China, pretending he was on some sort sales mission.

What the fuck was he selling them? CREAKING, underfunded local public services? SUBSIDISED film studio facilities in Hengrove ideal for overblown costume drama? CHEAP tickets for dodgy middle class comedians at the Colston Hall? The USELESS services of the shittest Internal Audit team the world has ever known?

If a pointless ‘trade mission’ to China by a SMALL and FAILING municipal body led by a pompous, preening figurehead isn’t non-essential, what the fuck is?

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?

AUDIT UPDATE

 Promises by our dear old friends on Bristol City Council’s beyond useless Audit Committee to take a long hard look at the finances of the METROBUS PROJECT on our behalf are floundering after just a few months.

At their meeting on 23 September a question from a member of the public on the Metrobus fiasco could not be answered “as there was not a Transport Officer present”. However, the new chair of the committee, Labour’s Olly “Meadiocre” Mead promised a FULL REPORT would be presented at the November meeting.

Come November, however, and much to the surprise of the public and, we’re told, even members of Meadiocre’s own committee, NO REPORT APPEARED. While a glance at the committee’s detailed schedule for the next year revealed any reference to Metrobus had been carefully REMOVED by unknown council bosses.

So don’t expect any information from Meadiocre’s Audit Committee about your money and Metrobus as they appear to have been very crudely NOBBLED by elements in this city who don’t want you knowing how much of your money is being SQUANDERED on some over engineered bus lanes.

Meanwhile the five year old MARKETS SERVICE finance shambles (Bristolian passim) continues to stagger around somewhere in the vicinity of the Audit Committee like an aging drunk high on laughing gas. A promised report on the council’s DEPARTMENT FOR DISAPPEARING CASH was promised in September. This then inexplicably slipped to November. Now we’re promised something in January.

When this report finally appears will it explain the following statement currently doing the rounds in council finance reports regarding this year’s £30m overspend? “There is a £125K FORECAST SHORTFALL in income against the budget target for Markets as a result of an historic revenue target, which has not been met for the last 5 YEARS.”

That’s a cool £0.6million now pissed up against the wall while an army of useless auditors and an oversight committee of gullible councillors sit on their lazy arses.

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?

MARKET FARCES: HOW BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL’S ‘FRAUD-BUSTERS’ BELLYFLOPPED

CAN’T STAND UP TO MANAGERS – CAN’T PROTECT WHISTLEBLOWERS…

The Markets FileBack in mid-January, another meeting of the Bristol City Council’s crap Audit Committee offered up yet more shocking revelations of FINANCIAL MISMANAGEMENT AND SLEAZE in the seedy corridors of corrupt power at Shitty Hall.

The committee’s in-depth fraud reports (which have proved to be a hugely embarrassing feature of the last few meetings), have been quietly ditched. But another report catches the eye. With the unpromising title of ‘Internal Audit Compliance with Public Sector Internal Audit Standards’, it reveals the extent to which our council has operated for the benefit of bent bosses and against the interests of whistleblowers.

The report identifies “a few specific areas…where currently Internal Audit arrangements do not fully conform with the public sector Internal audit standards requirements”. Or, in other words, areas where the committee and its FEEBLE INTERNAL AUDIT TEAM have screwed up.

Top of the list is, “The Chief Internal Auditor should report to an organisation level equal or higher to the corporate management team and must be sufficiently senior and Independent to be able to provide credible constructive challenge to senior management.”

So the Chief Internal Auditor should report directly to the council’s Chief Executive? This has never happened. The Chief Auditor always reports to the Head of Finance – a level below corporate management. Until recently, when he scarpered sharpish, Head of Finance was Freemason Peter Robinson, who SPIKED ANY INVESTIGATION into the Markets Service and did nothing to discourage the victimisation of a whistleblower there.

We know he also once spiked an investigation into the dubious procurement of a fleet of Mercedes vans. On that occasion he victimised – then attempted to sack – an investigator in Internal Audit who uncovered and produced a report on that particular procurement scam.

Chief Internal Auditors have been NEUTERED and left powerless for years – and it’s a fact they admit. Last year in an email to a senior trade unionist the head of Internal Audit’s fraud unit, Andea ‘Chocolate Teapot’ Hobbs, admitted that they “cannot provide any assurances as to how management will respond if a whistleblower makes him/herself known to management as a whistleblower (as happened in the circumstance I believe you are referring to).”

The “circumstance” referred to is the way that Tony Harvey and his bosses responded to whistleblowing by victimising and bullying the whistleblower out of their job – apparently under the nose of Ms Hobbs.

Let’s face it, if you’re unable to stand up to a soppy little Facilities Manager and stop them doing over a whistleblower, or to call that manager out for being unable to account for £165,000, then the idea you can provide “a credible constructive challenge to senior management” is laughable.

The reverse is true. Middle managers have been able to IGNORE Internal Auditors with impunity, stamp on whistleblowers and do whatever they like with our money for years.

What a shambles.

MARKET FARCES: HOW HARVEY OUTED WHISTLEBLOWER TO BOSS!

The Markets FileAn email from 22 May 2012 confirms Facilities Manager Tony Harvey OUTED A WHISTLEBLOWER to their boss, Markets Manager Steve ‘God Botherer’ Morris. This opened the door for Morris to start a campaign of bullying and victimisation against the whistleblower – which Harvey then did nothing to stop.

Oddly, despite outing whistleblowers being ILLEGAL, contravening council policy and being against all good practice guidelines, neither Harvey’s managers nor Internal Audit ever addressed the matter with him.

The whistleblower expressed concerns about VICTIMISATION at a meeting on 12 July 2012 with Andrea ‘Chocolate Teapot’ Hobbs, an Internal Audit manager who was allegedly investigating the markets. Internal Audit is supposed to have responsibility for whistleblowers and their welfare at the council, and should report to politicians on the Audit Committee.

Instead Hobbs attempted to outsource her responsibility for whistleblowers to the council’s Human Resources people – even emailing the whistleblower to say she had contacted H.R. for him but that whistleblowing “is something they are unfamiliar with and do not know how to deal with”! She then told the whistleblower to contact, er … Tony Harvey!

Yes, this really is how a public sector organisation deals with whistleblowers – like LOW-RENT KAFKA… Or what looks very much like an informal policy to victimise whistleblowers.

At least this time one of the bosses running this sick shadow policy topped themselves rather than a whistleblower.