Wednesday, 14 August 2013

An error in the accounts

A slightly late but rather surprising response arrived this morning to my Freedom of Information request concerning a staff member listed in the Council's Statement of Accounts as earning over £150,000. The Council is required to name and give details of anyone in this bracket (listed as between £155,000 and £159,999) and I was puzzled by this mystery high earner and more particularly their job title.

Anyway, according to the response it seems the Council have admitted they'd made an 'error', let's just hope there aren't any more;

'We have now been able to look into this matter and can confirm that there is an error in the notes to the Statement of Accounts.  The actual remuneration received by the individual in question was not in excess of £150k as reported.
We are therefore grateful that you have brought this to our attention via your request as this has enabled us to identify this error, which will be raised with our external auditors'.

The response also politely points out to me the difference between 'salary' and 'remuneration', which I am aware of. Let's hope then, as a result of FOI, it has been politely pointed out to them the difference between getting the accounts right, and getting them wrong...

The full thread of the request can be seen on the What Do They Know website. 


Anonymous said...

"The actual remuneration received by the individual in question was not in excess of £150k as reported." OK, so are we entitled to know how much REMUNERATION he/she received? If so, then why did they not provide that information.

caebrwyn said...

I think that's all we're going to get.

Anonymous said...

I think you are right Caebrwyn! CCC have a habit of treating residents like mushrooms by keeping them in the dark and feeding them manure.

The thing that puzzles me now, is that it would appear that this error has been overlooked by several people, not least the external auditor. According to the link below, the annual return is a document that has several purposes. One of which is "to record that the external auditor has fulfilled his/her statutory responsibility."

caebrwyn said...

I think it's been overlooked for sometime. The figures supplied by the council to the Taxpayer's Alliance Town Hall Rich List, which was published in May, also contains this 'error'. £157,500 as 'salary'.
(approx page 55/56)

Anonymous said...

It's just one thing after another with CCC and it all stinks. I do so admire your persistence Caebrywn and I sincerely thank you for everything you do on everyone's behalf to bring to our attention the machinations of this weasel-wordy council.

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear anon 08:39.

Anonymous said...

ask the wales audit office to investigate the competence [incompetence?] of the external auditors?

why were the accounts certified as correct when they clearly are not?

why did Carmarthen CC misrepresent their accounts. Companies/directors are called to book for false accounting and the auditors would have to be re voted/reappointed at the AGM.

who decides which auditors to use?

numerous questions come out of this?

caebrwyn said...

Anon 10.34
The Statement of Accounts are published, it says, 'subject to audit' but is not described as such on the council website. The council itself has an extensive internal audit procedure which clearly needs to improve if such basic errors are being made in published accounts and information released to third parties. How far the Wales Audit Office, their 'external auditors', have been involved so far is not clear. Last year the WAO discovered that one senior salary had been completely missed from the accounts.
The WAO needs to have a much closer look at Carmarthenshire Council on a variety of issues and not worry about upsetting their clients.