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COUNCIL ACCOUNT BROUGHT TO BOOK

10-02-2010

Birmingham City Council has admitted that its accounts have been “qualified” (ie given a “yellow card”) by the District Auditor – as predicted yesterday by The Stirrer - but precise details of their failings remain hard to come by.

Our enquiries were greeted with a reference to a fortnight old press release which highlights failures in the local authority’s financial systems.

The accounts should have been signed off last September, and the delay has saddled taxpayers with an additional £60,000 bill.

Weakenesses highlighted including the over-valuing of buildings and land, double payment of invoices, and under-estimating the cost of Council services.

Auditor Mark Stocks ranked their overall financial performance as “adequate”, but given that the year in question coincides with the introduction of the much vaunted Voyager ledger system – part of the controversial Business Transformation – this can only be classed as a huge embarrassment.

Director of Resources, Paul Dransfield, said – in a statement issued a fortnight ago - “We have been on a journey of radically improving our financial systems and structures for a number of years now, and so welcome the more rigorous approach taken by our new external auditor to help us continue to drive through these improvements as a matter of urgency.

“Building on good practice, and challenging bad practice, we have for example already put a team in place to improve the way we record and value our assets, which we are confident will ensure our fixed asset register is in a ‘best of breed’ state for next year’s audit.”

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