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.


4 Responses to Council’s Finance Procedures Criticised By Audit Commission

  1. Cassandra March 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    If anyone wants to see how far we have got to go on this just watch the webcast of the meeting and see the astonishing ‘handbagging’ poor Richard McCarthy gets for daring to raise the issue of the audit report.

  2. Cassandra March 13, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    I’m really at a loss to understand why this happened. Peter Lawrence is ex Audit Commission so he must know how things should be done and also what’s going to be checked during the audit. The key issue with this is that when auditors find errors they then have to spend time looking for other errors and more time equals more charges to be paid by Islanders.

  3. Mike Brown March 13, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Our council seem to be making more & more mistakes, last time around they were criticised for failing to value Island Home Hardware when they purchased it – an amazing omission!!

    The communities secretary Eric Pickles MP said he wants to mobilise an army of armchair auditors – well said Mr Pickles

  4. Cassandra March 13, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Geez – all those expensive staff in the Council’s finance department and they still can’t get it right!