Thousands of pounds of waste uncovered in Conwy's accounts

August 07, 2012 6:19 PM

The BBC reports that Gary Willetts, a Conwy Council taxpayer, has lodged a total of nineteen objections to his council’s 2009-10 and 2010-11 accounts with the auditors.

Taxpayers have the legal right to inspect and query their council’s accounts before they are signed off by an independent auditor. They have a right to question or challenge accounts and raise concerns when there are irregularities or where it is clear that there is waste and inefficiency.

From his scrutiny of Conwy’s accounts, Willetts reckoned that the local authority had overspent by almost £1 million on a project to rebuild Maesdo Bridge in Llandudno. The council had also paid a bill of £10,000 twice for moving a cable. Some of Mr Willetts’s other queries involved small sums of money such as spending on office furniture and council credit cards but as Mr Willetts put it - ‘it wasn't one big hole that sank the Titanic, it was loads of small ones’.

His findings have cost £30,000 in legal fees and investigations, a sum which has been criticised by members of Conwy’s Audit Committee. It's a lot of money of course, but considering some of Mr Willets' discoveries, the council should be ashamed and more apologetic it didn't do more initially to stop the wasteful spending

Conwy Council can avoid expensive investigations in the future by proactively publishing all spending information, but more importantly by taking much more care with taxpayers' money in the first place.The BBC reports that Gary Willetts, a Conwy Council taxpayer, has lodged a total of nineteen objections to his council’s 2009-10 and 2010-11 accounts with the auditors.

Taxpayers have the legal right to inspect and query their council’s accounts before they are signed off by an independent auditor. They have a right to question or challenge accounts and raise concerns when there are irregularities or where it is clear that there is waste and inefficiency.

From his scrutiny of Conwy’s accounts, Willetts reckoned that the local authority had overspent by almost £1 million on a project to rebuild Maesdo Bridge in Llandudno. The council had also paid a bill of £10,000 twice for moving a cable. Some of Mr Willetts’s other queries involved small sums of money such as spending on office furniture and council credit cards but as Mr Willetts put it - ‘it wasn't one big hole that sank the Titanic, it was loads of small ones’.

His findings have cost £30,000 in legal fees and investigations, a sum which has been criticised by members of Conwy’s Audit Committee. It's a lot of money of course, but considering some of Mr Willets' discoveries, the council should be ashamed and more apologetic it didn't do more initially to stop the wasteful spending

Conwy Council can avoid expensive investigations in the future by proactively publishing all spending information, but more importantly by taking much more care with taxpayers' money in the first place.

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