Birds of a Feather
- an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, drawing readers’ attention to a rather damning indictment of our local authority’s auditors.
Allow me to introduce readers to an organisation with which they (and, I suspect, our elected members) may, perhaps, be unfamiliar – the Financial Reporting Council – whose Mission Statement reads as follows:
“We regulate auditors, accountants and actuaries, and we set the UK’s Corporate Governance and Stewardship Codes. We promote transparency and integrity in business. Our work is aimed at investors and others who rely on company reports, audit and high-quality risk management.”
In simple terms, the FRC is the body that holds the internal and external auditors of public bodies to account.
I wonder how many Councillors have read and digested the FRC’s most recent (October 2020) Annual ‘Audit Quality Inspection’ Report?
I wonder whether or not SBC’s Director of Finance and s.151 Officer Mr Nick EDWARDS has read and digested the Report?
I wonder whether or not our inglorious Leader has read and digested the Report?
I wonder whether or not the Council’s ‘new broom’ Chief Executive Officer Mr Mike GREENE has read and digested the Report?
For their (and readers’) convenience of reference, I reproduce the FRC Annual Report below, in its entirety.
However, for those who are too busy (or have little interest in such matters), allow me to draw particular attention to Page 17, drawn to my attention by a former Finance Officer (of another Council), whose opinion it is that the FRC has identified the fact the Scarborough Borough Council Auditors MAZARS (best known to readers for a farcical report on the MARRIOTT corruption allegations) is (and I quote) “INCOMPETENT” – and has been, for (at least) the past five years:
MAZARS, readers will recall. is the firm that has found itself unable to sign off the Scarborough Borough Council accounts for the last five years – during which it has been officially rated:
- 2015/16 – Improvements required
- 2016/17 – Significant improvements required
- 2017/18 – Improvements required
- 2018/19 – Significant improvements required
- 2019/20 – Significant improvements required
Perhaps one of our more diligent Councillors will raise these matter at Full Council.
- Where is the ‘Value for Money’?
- Who appointed MAZARS?
- Was due diligence pursued?
- Will the Council be retaining MAZARS for future audits?
If I might venture an opinion, the only appropriate time to hire cowboys is when one needs to round up cattle.