Author Topic: The man from the audit commission says no...  (Read 5022 times)

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Offline Chris Watts

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The man from the audit commission says no...
« on: May 26, 2010, 05:33:19 pm »
Today I received a correspondence for the District Auditor:

Dear Mr Watts,

You contacted me earlier in May 2010 regarding Swindon Borough Council’s loan to Digital City UK Ltd and related matters.

I have now completed my consideration of whether any further action is required by me in relation to this matter. I have taken into account all information available to me, including Internal Audit’s recent report and points mentioned in correspondence from several private individuals, including yours.

I am of the view, based on the information available to me, that no further action is required by me on this issue. This is because I am aware of no evidence of an unlawful item of account and there are no circumstances which would cause me to consider the issue of a report in the public interest. The circumstances surrounding the Council’s decision have already been widely publicised.

I am grateful for the comments and information received and will take these into account in my audit of the Council accounts for the financial years 2009/10 and 20010/11 and in any other work that I might carry out as external auditor.

The individual rights of members of the public are not affected by this decision.

Yours sincerely
Martin Robinson


I can see his point. Naivety, incompetence and negligence are not part of the remit for his investigation and can not be seen as unlawful.


Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2010, 05:52:01 pm »
 
Naivety, incompetence and negligence are not part of the remit for his investigation and can not be seen as unlawful.

Hahaha... ;D

It's official then, Bluh has set his own, low standards for doing business, politics and democracy in Swindon and the Audit Commission has chosen not to find fault with it.

You may as well relax into taking the mickey out of the administration which finally turned Swindon into a Rotten Borough and pisses on each and every one of its inhabitants each and every day.

Shall we run a sweepstake on how much more public money Bluh and his Micro-cabinet will lose on vanity spends and legacy buys before he's made Mayor?

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2010, 09:03:38 pm »
Who Audits the Audit Commission?

It looks like Cllr Bluh was correct all along; "it was within the rules". The council can now carry on regardless of external scrutiny.

I now find myself  having to accept the audit commission's outcome. However it does not rest easy with me and I still believe that it is not the way to do business in public office, regardless of what the Audit Commission has pronounced. 

There must be a better  way of dealing with such matters and I hope that Parliament will do something about changing the process (Going back to the committee structure has been mooted by Condem coalition government). If not I await the day when the council will change its constitution to make the decisions more inclusive. Until then  it will not be possible to easily convince me that this is the best way to serve the public interest.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2010, 10:46:57 pm »
Who Audits the Audit Commission?


Never mind the rules, what is the purpose of an Audit?

Out comes Daddy's Oxford Dictionery - Official examination of accounts; searching examination esp, Day of Judgement: periodical settlement of accounts  between landlord and tenents; plus a whole of stuff about ale .........

Anyway I can remember a set of circumstances that involved the Auditors of one of my employers in the 1970's.  The accounts manager was found to have borrowed money, without permission, and although the money had already been returned it was considered a breach of faith and he was fired on the spot.

Now I cannot see the difference between this and loaning £450,000 of public money to a limited liability company of some five months standing without any guarantees from the Directors.  I have never heard of such a practice in my whole life in business and this was also stated by Councillor Nick Martin, a member of the SBC Audit Committee, whose profession was an Auditor.  Is it not of interest to the Auditor that no bank would facilitate a loan on this basis so why should Swindon Borough Council.  The fact that the kit is offered as a guarantee is irrelevent because it is my understanding that the installation, ie labour, constitutes the majority of the costs involved and the infrastructure itself is only worth what someone will pay for it.

If the Audit Commission needs terms of reference do they in fact fulfil their required function as a public body?

Offline komadori

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2010, 11:48:43 pm »
Today I received a correspondence for the District Auditor:
I received exactly the same email. I'd expected something more substantive, regardless of whether he chose to investigate or not. It would be interesting to know just what would cause him to "issue of a report in the public interest".
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Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2010, 08:58:27 am »
I received exactly the same email. I'd expected something more substantive, regardless of whether he chose to investigate or not. It would be interesting to know just what would cause him to "issue of a report in the public interest".

Like I said who audits the audit commission? Maybe it is something for our conservative MPs to consider taking up, in this new coalition that is we are told more open, free and fairer?  :popcorn:
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Offline Muggins

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2010, 09:12:55 am »
Yet again, I feel that I have to behave in an exemplary manner to get anywhere or any funds out of them, yet they can do exactly what they like with our money without recourse to any justice from anywhere.   What is legal is not always moral - who is the keeper of the nations morals? 

If they are in heaven when I get there (because I've earned my place!) I will know something is really, really wrong.

Again another place that promised a listening ear has come back without a proper and logical explanation for their findings.
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2010, 02:22:50 pm »
Today I received a correspondence for the District Auditor:
I received exactly the same email. I'd expected something more substantive, regardless of whether he chose to investigate or not. It would be interesting to know just what would cause him to "issue of a report in the public interest".

Komadori, I don' believe it, you got the same note? I really thought that there was something between Mr Robinson and I. A spark of empathy, a flutter of sympathy and unbridled compassion as if he were looking deep into my soul and felt my pain. And now I realise that, to him, I am just another NI number that forgot his place. I've been such a fool... :'(

Seriously though, something more substantive like this for example:

http://friendsofoldtownlibrary.co.uk/ombudsman2.htm

That is how to break the bad news to an aggrieved citizen. I may pass this onto Mr Robinson with a "C- could do better" mark for his effort. :-\


Offline Muggins

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2010, 02:26:23 pm »
Does make you wonder why they were sending a young women out to tell all us people how much more reactive the Audit Commission would be and how more often they might drop in and not just wait for problems to go to them.   You are not the only one to have been sucked in to the caring PR, Chris,
Lifes not always fair. Sometimes you can get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow. - Cherralea Morgen

Offline Alex

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2010, 10:12:14 am »
The Ombudsmen in all areas they've been appointed generally seem to have either no teeth or no desire to use them.

 For instance, these letters are worded in very similar terms to the ones from the FSA denying any right of appeal regarding missold endowments which were before some arbitrary date. Rules which no-one had any input into determining other than a small group of people not represented ( I believe) by anyone adversley affected.

It feels like we are all powerless to obtain the things that have been lost to us by people we didn't give permission to do so.

As I have previously said, I think the whole ombusdmen system needs reviewing along with the entire legal, corporate management & financial  systems.  Maybe our PMs can take these whole areas forward too to be re-designed with some intersted parties' input.  ?

Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #10 on: May 28, 2010, 10:29:04 am »
The trouble is that Cameron says he wants to run the country like a local council and at the same time divolve power back locally.

Either way we seem to lose, its absolute piffle to talk about putting power back to the people as on this example it is absolutely meaningless.

Will people ever turn out for elections ever again because it appears whatever you vote it doesn't make any difference?

Have the Labour party died in Swindon, so much to talk about and nothing being said!  Wi-fi for starters, Dial a Ride, Enterprise Works, where is your voice Labour or do you actually agree with Council Policy as it appears?

Come on Des strike up please.

Offline Des Morgan

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #11 on: May 28, 2010, 10:30:52 am »
The reality is that Coun Bluh operated within the clearly defined parameters made available to him by the Borough Solicitor.  Like many of the writers on these pages i think Coun Bluh is a 'dictatorial' leader of the council - his latest offering in the Adver (see his weekly column) confirms his myopic view that everything he says and does is 'right' and that anyone else is simply a 'loud mouth expressing an opinion'.

I believe Steve has a very good point in that the cabinet form of local government is an insult to democratic process and that the only way to ensure decision making is carried out in a transparent manner is to revert to committee scrutiny and process. 

I am sure that in his own 'little world' Coun Bluh really does believe his own hype - his interests are aligned to the betterment of the Town - he subjugates his personal views in the best interests of the people and he has given his all to working for the town - all very admirable but in truth a load of bovine excrement.  Coun Bluh enjoys the thrill of power and the control his position gives him - these two elements comprise an aphrodisiac which beats - well yuo can see what i mean!

 

Offline Ringer

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2010, 06:59:09 pm »
The reality is that Coun Bluh operated within the clearly defined parameters made available to him by the Borough Solicitor.  Like many of the writers on these pages i think Coun Bluh is a 'dictatorial' leader of the council - his latest offering in the Adver (see his weekly column) confirms his myopic view that everything he says and does is 'right' and that anyone else is simply a 'loud mouth expressing an opinion'.

I believe Steve has a very good point in that the cabinet form of local government is an insult to democratic process and that the only way to ensure decision making is carried out in a transparent manner is to revert to committee scrutiny and process. 

I am sure that in his own 'little world' Coun Bluh really does believe his own hype - his interests are aligned to the betterment of the Town - he subjugates his personal views in the best interests of the people and he has given his all to working for the town - all very admirable but in truth a load of bovine excrement.  Coun Bluh enjoys the thrill of power and the control his position gives him - these two elements comprise an aphrodisiac which beats - well yuo can see what i mean!


Des perhaphs you should post the copy of it as it has I believe raised the eyebrow here and there and I could do with a spot of light relief on a wet bank holiday weekend.
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Offline Chris Watts

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2010, 12:27:19 am »

The reality is that Coun Bluh operated within the clearly defined parameters made available to him by the Borough Solicitor. 


Des, I thought it was the case that the Borough Solicitor gave several options to Cllr Bluh with a preferred recommendation as to which option to take and that Cllr Bluh did not take his advice. This was confirmed by Cllr Bluh himself at Scrutiny on the 11th May. This is an excerpt from the minutes:

Councillor Moffatt asked if Councillor Rod Bluh, the Leader of the Council, had sought the advice of the Director of Law and Democratic Services on how to proceed in “reaching a decision regarding the provision of a loan to Digital City and what was that advice”. Councillor Bluh responded that he had asked the Director of Law and Democratic Services for advice regarding the options for determining the matter, recognising the commercial and competitive nature of the proposal and the need to ensure a speedy process that would not jeopardise commercial confidentiality. The Director had gone through the options in detail with Councillor Bluh and Councillor Mark Edwards, Cabinet Member for Finance and Benefits, and had advised that, in his view, the preferred option would be to refer the matter to Cabinet for resolution. Councillor Bluh agreed that this would have been the preferred option “in an ideal world” but he was not convinced that it would have satisfactorily dealt with his concerns regarding the “confidentiality or the speed issues” satisfactorily, given the situation at the time. 

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2010, 05:01:58 am »

Indeed.

Quote
"The Director had gone through the options in detail with Councillor Bluh and Councillor Mark Edwards"

I've noticed that no-one at the civic seems to want to answer questions as to what the 'advice' given  by the Borough Solicitor to Bluh and Edwards actually was.

I'll wager a small sum that whatever that advice was.....

...it wasn't followed, hence the reluctance to disclose it willingly.


Offline Bogomil

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2010, 11:12:33 am »

Indeed.

Quote
"The Director had gone through the options in detail with Councillor Bluh and Councillor Mark Edwards"

I've noticed that no-one at the civic seems to want to answer questions as to what the 'advice' given  by the Borough Solicitor to Bluh and Edwards actually was.

I'll wager a small sum that whatever that advice was.....

...it wasn't followed, hence the reluctance to disclose it willingly.

Pretty certain it would be a safe bet Geoff.

Wifi will continue to meander on no matter how much Bluh & Co want it to go away but I doubt now that there will be any further meaningful debate. I think most of the future debates and discussions will be around the inconsistencies and failure to respond openly to public questions.

Interestingly within the ConDem programme for government there are plans to require all councils to publish items of spending above £500, and to publish contracts and tender documents in full. And there are more than a few who will be glad to see councils allowed to return to the committee system if they wish to.

Quote
Councillor Bluh agreed that this would have been the preferred option “in an ideal world” but he was not convinced that it would have satisfactorily dealt with his concerns regarding the “confidentiality or the speed issues” satisfactorily, given the situation at the time.


I think this is one of the most condemning statements that Bluh made throughout the whole process. In simple terms he did not trust his own cabinet colleagues.

Offline Ringer

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2010, 11:37:34 am »
Bogomil statements? I thought it was his actions that spoke louder than his words during the whole episode? It is not over yet not by a long chalk and Loud mouth opinionated people will carry on shouting out scrutiny scrutiny scrutiny against Rod's infamy, infamy, infamy they've all got it infamy musings in his personal column.

Pleased to see that Eric Pickles has put the kybosh on the £240,000 salary for the head of the Audit Commission from what I can see its effectiveness belies its salary level. Based on what I have seen happen at Swindon the Condem cuts should start with this public department first, it obviously believes its own propaganda about its effectiveness.

Tip for George Osborne. Close down the Stoke  Gifford office first you know it makes sense.
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Offline Richard Symonds

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2010, 03:39:55 pm »
and meanwhile does anyone have an update on what has happened to our £450,000?

Have Digital City increased its customer base from the alleged 13 customers?

Have DC secured any commercial customers now and if so how many?

What is the progress in Highworth and when will it be available anywhere else antime soon?

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2010, 07:05:35 pm »

Yes, no, no, nil & no.

Hope this helps  :)

Offline moley

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #19 on: May 30, 2010, 07:08:11 pm »

Yes, no, no, nil & no.

Hope this helps  :)

Now you've got me curious about the first 'yes'......

Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #20 on: May 30, 2010, 07:25:01 pm »
 
Wifi will continue to meander on no matter how much Bluh & Co want it to go away but I doubt now that there will be any further meaningful debate.

You can't have a meaningful debate with anyone if they're determined to deceive, lie and conceal, so what comes next won't be a debate but it will be meaningful and a lot of fun  :)

Despite Bluh's expectation that we are somehow 'crushed' by Robinsons apparent disinterest in his idiotic, incompetent and nepotistic business 'methods', there hasn't  been a defeat for any of us who've been questioning the process behind and Bluh's involvement in the Wifiasco.

If anyone thought we're about to start doffing caps and wearing hairy shirts,  then they are as wrong as the WiFi decicison and loan still is.

Offline Chav

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #21 on: May 30, 2010, 07:25:22 pm »

Yes, no, no, nil & no.

Hope this helps  :)

Now you've got me curious about the first 'yes'......

I think it means 'Yes' I have and update which is:
No , No, Nil, & No

so I guess that would be a BIG NO then  ;D

Now I have got that bloody tune in my head with all them no's


no no  no no no  no 
no no  no no , no no there's no limit !

what was it called  :-\  ah got it ....... 'No Limit'   (oh those were the days of the rave's) Its taking me back a bit now  :2funny:
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Offline Geoff Reid

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #22 on: May 30, 2010, 07:26:53 pm »

Yes, no, no, nil & no.

Hope this helps  :)

Now you've got me curious about the first 'yes'......

I'll take some advice, (during a meeting tomorrow), before I expand on the 'Yes'  ;)

If I'm correct it won't make happy reading for us taxpayers.


Offline moley

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #23 on: May 30, 2010, 08:00:49 pm »

Yes, no, no, nil & no.

Hope this helps  :)

Now you've got me curious about the first 'yes'......

I'll take some advice, (during a meeting tomorrow), before I expand on the 'Yes'  ;)

If I'm correct it won't make happy reading for us taxpayers.

None of it has so far so that won't be a big change..

Offline Steve Wakefield

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Re: The man from the audit commission says no...
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2010, 02:43:26 pm »
See the C word post for the Swindon advertiser report. Posted Verbatim by Swindonlinkman.

All posts on this forum are my own and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

 

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