Council’s Finance Procedures Criticised By Audit Commission

Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence

The Council’s Finance Department has been criticised by the Audit Commission for failing to follow correct procedures when submitting claims to the Government.

The report by the Audit Commission, which was issued in January of this year and covers the 2010/11 budget period, lists a catalogue of problems including incorrect evidence being provided and claims being submitted on the wrong forms.

In his report, the auditor says, “with the exception of the Housing and Council Tax benefit claim, all claims and returns I received had incomplete and/or incorrect supporting documentation.”

The auditor also said the Council had made an incorrect calculation of small business rate relief in six of the ten cases looked at.

In defending the report at the recent Full Council meeting, Head of Finance, Iain McCulloch, said the department had now put in place all of the recommendations raised by the Audit Commission and are moving forward with a “much better system.”

Director of Finance, Peter Lawrence, said it was worth remembering that, “any error, even a rounding error of one penny is noted” adding “the significant issues are being addressed.”

The work of the Audit Commission has to be paid for from Council budgets and in his report, the auditor says that “following the correct protocols will take less time and with a lower fee for the Council.”

The total cost of the 2010/11 returns audit was £22,541.


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