Auditors slam York Council over contractor probe

Auditors have issued a critical report following complaints about how consultants were recruited during the term of the last Labour administration, which left office in May 2015..

The report will be discussed at a meeting taking place next week next week.

Officials involved in the scandal – and most of the Councillors that they reported to – are no longer with the Authority.

The audit report concerns how a consultant, who was employed in the public relations/culture activity area, was engaged.

The report concludes that there was no evidence of fraud but it says,

“Internal Audit undertook an investigation into the awarding of contracts to an external consultant. The investigation found that there was no evidence to show that written quotations had been received. A number of other breaches of the council’s Financial Regulations and Contract Procedures Rules were also identified including the absence of a signed contract, the failure to include the contract on the council’s contracts register, a payment in advance of the work being completed and inadequate contract monitoring”..

Part of the report is being withheld as it identifies the individuals involved in, what appears to amount to a case of maladministration 

Unfortunately the last Labour administration in York was mired in secrecy. Officials were given too much power and they seem to have exploited this to allocate work to their chums.

A copy of the external Auditors report can be found by clicking here

More recently there has been criticism of the present Council for allocating contracts for work on social care projects with little openness and even less regard for the rights of taxpayers 

The Council will be asked to consider what more can be done to prevent corruption in the future

York Council responds to vested interest criticism

The Council has published details of an interim scheme which it believes will prevent a repetition of the recent scandal over unlawful payments to officials.Top-secret-stamp-006

Ironically the proposal was agreed in another “behind closed doors” decision session earlier today. The background papers were only made public after the decision had been made.

It has published a new code which can be read by clicking here

click to read

click to read

The form that senior officials will have to keep up to date – and publish publicly – can be found by clicking here .

The Code list sevral areas where a potential conflict of interest may occur

The following is a list of situations that may result in a conflict of interests for a member of staff:

  • A planning application or appeal in which the address concerned is the employee’s residence or a neighbouring address;
  • Ownership of land that is subject to a Council decision;
  • School admissions appeals involving a friend or relative;
  • A contract between the Council and another organisation in which the employee has a personal or financial interest(including council-owned or other related parties to the council). Any pay received from related parties must be declared;
  • Processing of Council Tax payments/refunds where the employee is the landlord of the properties concerned;
  • Benefits applications/appeals in which the claimant is a friend/relative or neighbour;
  • Processing of home or residential care cases where the customer is a friend or relative;
  • An audit of an establishment in which the employee has a personal interest (e.g. Elderly Persons’ Home where a relative is a member of staff).
Further refinements to the rules are promised at a later date.