Archive for the 'Audit Commission' Category



09
Mar
09

the audit commission gives council top marks for losing £10 million

'Rewarding failure'

'Rewarding failure'

Council leader Iain Malcolm Miss Piggy and the borough’s Dominatrix, Irene Lucas might want to put their celebrations on hold following last week’s announcement by the Audit Commission that South Tyneside Council is rated a 4 star authority.

Mr Monkey has learned that the Audit Commission and it’s inspectors have become a laughing stock after they announced that Cambridge City Council won top marks for sound financial management and value for money – despite investing £9 million in Icelandic banks and a potential loss of £618,000 on Cambridge Folk Festival ticket sales.

The top score of four marks was awarded by the Audit Commission for the council’s use of resources and it was one of the 13 top performers in the country.

The award focused on strategic financial management, sound governance, effective financial reporting and giving taxpayers value for money.

Council leader Cllr Ian Nimmo-Smith said: “The Audit Commission is aware of the financial issues in relation to the Icelandic deposits, which affect many councils, and the Folk Festival tickets. I can’t say to what extent they have been taken into account.”

He added: “I’m very pleased the successful way which we run things in Cambridge has been recognised by the Audit Commission. This endorses the recent survey results that showed that residents in Cambridge rated the city council as providing value for- money services at a higher level than other districts in the county.”

At the recent budget setting meeting, Cllr Lewis Herbert, Labour group leader, likened the Liberal Democrats’ management of council finances to a “road crash” with Cllr Nimmo- Smith at the wheel.

He said the Icelandic investment and Folk Festival losses, after an internet ticket sales company went into liquidation, were “self-inflicted”. He said he was surprised the council still received a four-star rating.

He added: “Losing £9 million in Icelandic investments and over £1 million in interest and the Folk Festival tickets represents a shocking failure of the council’s control systems.”

For the second year running, the finance and value for money element of the inspection gave the county council the top score of four.

Cllr John Reynolds, cabinet member for corporate services, said: “I am delighted that our inspection found that the way we manage our budget and spend council taxpayers’ money is of the highest order. We continue to work within an extremely tight financial climate but this score shows we are among the best councils in the country when it comes to financial management.”

These weaknesses are now most evident. For a Council to be declared “excellent” in the same week that it cuts services and raises taxes, and in the same year that it slashes staff pay, is crazy.

The Council have released a special issue of their staff newsletter to congratulate everyone on the achievement.

At the top of the list of high performing services are the Revenues and Benefits service, who deal with Council Tax payments and the administration of benefits to the needy. They too have received a top 4 star rating and yet a mixture of bad laws, bad government and crazy local decision making has seen many of the staff in that department lose a crushingly large proportion of their salary this year.

There’s nothing about this in the congratulatory press releases issued by the Council, the Audit Commission and the government.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering what South Tyneside is hiding?

05
Mar
09

a 4* star con

'Another stage managed picture - but was the inspection?'

'Another stage managed picture - but was the inspection?'

Miss Piggy aka, council leader Iain Malcolm and the borough’s dominatrix, aka council chief executive Irene Lucas are no doubt celebrating their apparent success at being awarded 4* star status following the CPA inspection.

There’s bound to be loads of back slapping and self congratulation and no doubt Miss Piggy will arrange a few freebies for his little piglets at the the public’s expense of course.

Apparently the Audit Commission doesn’t give stars for hospitality at the tax payers expense – if it did Mr Monkey reckons South Tyneside council would be the only authority in the UK with a 7 star rating.

Mr Monkey will be posting an alternative view to the arse licking version in today’s Gazette Malcolm Fanzine and bloggers can be certain it will contain a few home truths.

Keep an eye on Mr Monkeys Blog for what promises to be an interesting post.

20
Feb
09

Twat of the week

'Casanova shares the Twat of The Week award with the Audit Commission'

'Casanova shares the Twat of The Week award with the Audit Commission'

This week Mr Monkey has taken the unusual step of splitting the The Twat of The Week award between two worthy winners – councillor Michael Clare and the Audit Commission

Bloggers will know that South Tyneside Council loves picking up worthless awards and accolades and then force feeding the public a diet of shit by telling us all how good they are.

Apparently council services are regularly audited by the Audit Commission so that government can check on performance and value for money.

Some people believe the Audit Commission is a toothless wonder that’s in the pocket of government and reguarly fails to detect poor financial management and bad practise.

Here in South Tyneside, it was the Audit Commission who failed to spot an £11 million plus black hole in the council finances and then couldn’t explain why they had signed off the council’s accounts.

Today Mr Monkey has learned that this inept organisation has revealed that South Tyneside has among the ‘best pavements’ in the region and the second best in North East England.

Mr Monkey reckons the inspectors that visited the borough must have been blind. Either that or The Dominatrix, aka Irene Lucas the chief executive of South Tyneside Council stage managed the visit?

This chimp reckons there’s no way the inspectors would have reached this conclusion by wandering round the streets of Horsley Hill, Biddick Hall, Jarrow, Hebburn, Whiteleas or Simonside and Rekendyke.

But what’s really depressing about this latest ‘award’ con is that councillor Michael Clare actually believes the shite being spewed out by the council’s press office.

Cum on Casanova (more of this later) everyone except the fuckwits in the cabinet and chief executive’s office knows that the borough’s pavements are in a terrible state – just ask the council’s insurance company who are increasingly being asked to pick up the tab when people sue!

06
Nov
08

Pressure Grows On Malcolm

Council leader Iain Malcolm’s role in the murky financial dealings at Newcastle Airport is coming under increased scrutiny.

Peter Atkinson, the Conservative MP for Hexham is now calling on the Government and the Audit Commission to probe the out of court settlement, CLICK HERE. Mr Atkinson is the second MP to demand answers.

So far David Miliband, MP for South Shields and Stephen Hepburn, MP for Jarrow have remained tight lipped about the controversial deal which resulted in two former employees recieveing a massive £8.5 million pay day. The deal which was approved by Iain Malcolm and South Tyneside Council has since been renegotiated in an out of court settlement, but both South Tyneside Council and Iain Malcolm have steadfastly refused to comment using commercial sensitivity and confidentiality as the basis for the silence.

The calls for an independent investigation continue to grow and Mr Monkey predicts that one of the first tasks for the new Conservative Government will be to order an enquiry in to this murky affair, especially if a certain David Miliband becomes the Labour leader.

Could this be the beginning of the end for councillor Iain Malcolm? Lets hope so, the borough would be a much better place without him!

04
Oct
08

South Tyneside Homes Joins The Friday Night Freebie Club

Not to be outdone in the Friday Night Freebie stakes it seems senor management at South Tyneside Homes have taken a leaf out of the Iain Malcolm’s the Mayor’s book and organised thier own Friday Night Freebie.

Apparently on Friday 26th September all South Tyneside Homes staff were invited to a free nosh up at Temple Park Leisure Centre in what management billed as the ‘Star Awards’ which was a party to celebrate South Tyneside Homes being awarded two stars.

Mr Monkey can’t help wondering that the celebration was was in bad taste especially when the borough’s housing stock remains amongst some of the worst in England.

If that wasn’t eneough management decided to issue ultimatum to it’s painters on the same day asking for voluntary redundancies or they would issue redundancy notices.

Surely even known Labour arse lickers such as Unison’s Merv Butler can’t condone this one can they?

26
Sep
08

CPA Inspectors Would Like To Hear From You

Over the last two weeks South Tyneside Council has been undergoing a Comprehensive Performance Assessment Inspection by a team of inspectors from the Audit Commission. 

Some of the inspectors work as ‘self employedconsultants’ for the Audit Commission (jobs for the boys) and go around the country inspecting local councils before submitting a report about their findings and recommending a star rating and something called the direction of travel.

Mr Monkey has been looking into the background of some of the inspectors and has uncovered a few interesting facts not least of which is that one of them is councillor Jon Collins, the Labour Leader of Nottingham City Council CLICK HERE and works as a consultant .. that should guarantee his impartiality and objectivity then!

Mr Monkey thought that residents of the borough might appreciate the contact details of some of the inspectors rather than wait for an invitation from the council – you’ll never get one because you can’t be trusted to keep your mouth shut.

Perhaps there’s also an officer of the council out there who would like to blow the whistle on something that has been bothering them, well now’s your chance.

You never know there might even be an odd councillor out there who might take the opportunity to have a confidential chat about what really goes on behind closed doors, assuming they’ve got the balls to do it, that should rule most of them out then!

If you’d like to get in touch with councillor Jon Collins you can e-mail him on: jon.collins@nottinghamcity.gov.uk

Alternatively you can contact Michael Hudson, one of the other inspectors who is currently the Director of Corporate Resources at Hull City Council, he can be contacted at:

The Guildhall
Alfred Gelder Street
Hull
HU1 2AA

Tel: (01482) 300 300

Mr Monkey would like to remind anyone thinking of contacting an inspector to do so now, whilst the inspection is still live.