Who will pay for mistakes? Bolsover’s rates to soar

Once again we see an audit of Bolsover District Council reveals their financial processes and management is incompetent.

Worryingly, they failed to conform to tender processes. Criticisms include a failure to advertise for tenders, incomplete bids being accepted, tender outcomes were not reported, incomplete files, overspends and variations, invoices paid before contracts were in place.

A cynic may say this sounds like an open cheque and jobs for the boys.

The Council Leader says there has been no corruption, but if processes have been side stepped, how do we rate payers know if we are getting the best value for money, and how do we know there is no corruption?

Director of Corporate Resources Bryan Mason accepts the council has overpaid locally for services and supplies, but argues the council has still made savings.

“Last year’s external audit gave us a good kicking but this year it’s been about working with auditors to address problems. There is a clear message that we’re sorting our problems out and putting our house in order.”

Last year’s audit also found significant issues, and the council was slapped with a hefty fine of £25,000. What confidence do we have in councillors who have no trouble ignoring a remuneration committee’s advice not to increase their remunerations – but go ahead and award themselves one of the highest in the country?

They vote to sell off and demolish perfectly good purpose-built 15-year-old offices and buy the huge Clowne Campus, which they admit far exceeds the capacity they need.

Then build another office block – totally out of keeping with the surrounding area –which will further despoil Bolsover at a cost of £2.4 million.

They want to sell off Sherwood Lodge a green oasis in Bolsover whose beautiful mature trees dominate the skyline to Morrisons who will chop down hundreds of trees and concrete over this legacy green space bequeathed by a local benefactor to the people of Bolsover. Does any of this add up?

Just wait until the council can start to set rates again - no betting they’ll add up to a lot more to pay for all this incompetency.

Jean Simpson

Bolsover rate payer