Investigation Blocks Release Of School Audit Report

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

Former head teacher Bryce Wilby

The actions of Cornwall Council’s audit team are being investigated after a formal complaint by the former Five Islands school head teacher, Bryce Wilby.

As we have reported, Mr Wilby has questioned the process by Cornwall’s audit team who were hired by the Council of the Isles of Scilly to investigate alleged financial irregularities at the school.

Bryce has also asked Scilly’s council to start complaint proceedings against the Cornwall investigators because they were working on behalf of the islands’ council.

Yesterday Scilly’s council was forced to cancel the release of a censored version of the report, minutes before its planned press conference at the Town Hall.

Bryce wrote to the Council claiming that issuing a press release concerning the contents of the audit, when it is being investigated, showed “extremely poor judgment.”

In his email to Peter Lawrence-Roberts, Mike Hicks and Amanda Martin, Bryce warned the Council that the complaint may go further, to the Local Government Ombudsman.

Peter Lawrence-Roberts told the press yesterday that Bryce’s notification of a formal complaint was only received 27 minutes before the press conference at 10am, and he only opened the email 10 minutes before the planned release of the redacted report.

Local media, however received details of Bryce’s complaint before the weekend.

Peter said the council had no choice but to suspend the release after having sought legal advice. He was uncertain what the complaint was about but told journalists he assumed it was about the auditors’ process.

He wanted to make it clear that the suspension of publication was, “at Bryce’s instigation.”

Both Council chairman and governors’ chairman claim to be disappointed that the report’s partial release has been prevented.

Mike Hicks said: “This delay at the eleventh hour is very unfortunate. There has been a great call in the community for the report to be released, and it is a shame that we have been stopped by the former head teacher from doing this.

“We will ensure a thorough and independent investigation is conducted before making a decision on a new publication date.”

Ben Julian, chairman of the Five Islands School governing body, said: “The recommendations made in the audit report will be discussed by the governing body. However with such public demand to see the audit report, it is obviously disappointing that this roadblock has been put in place to halt its publication.”



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