£25,000 bill for damning report

sp63412'Exterior of Bolsover District Council Offices
sp63412'Exterior of Bolsover District Council Offices

COUNCIL chiefs have vowed to move on following the publication of a damning audit report.

Bolsover District Council has been slapped with a hefty £25,000 bill from the Audit Commission over poor accounting.

Speaking after a debate on the issue last week, Cllr Eion Watts, leader of the Labour-run authority, said: “We’re disappointed with this fee and we’d like not to have to pay the money but the rules are the rules.

“We’re not skint and we’re not failing to balance the books – we’ve had some administrative errors and we won’t run away from that.

“We’re confident it’ll be a completely different story next year,” he added.

The commission imposed the £25,000 fee because it faced “significant difficulties” in carrying out the council’s audit between 2010 and 2011.

In a report presented to councillors at last Thursday’s debate, Sue Sunderland, district auditor, explained the authority handed in accounts which contained serious errors – so they had to be resubmitted.

She said: “We had to withdraw from the audit during September to allow your finance staff time to address the errors and issues identified.

“These issues could have and should have been identified by your own internal review processes before the accounts were presented for audit.”

Despite the bill, Mrs Sunderland said the council – which needs to save nearly £7m by 2014 – was addressing its financial challenges and highlighted cost-saving schemes including the strategic alliance between Bolsover and NE Derbyshire district councils.

She added: “The authority must develop its arrangements further.”

Cllr Graham Parkin said: “We are going in the right direction – we are responsible and we are a good council.”

Mrs Sunderland put forward a number of recommendations – including improving financial reporting to members – which were accepted by councillors.

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