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Monday, April 25, 2011

Who audits the auditors?

There are of course mechanisms in place to keep an eye on bodies such as the Audit Commission, but one has to question how effective they are when we can read stories such as this about the lavish use of expenses.

The Daily Telegraph reports that senior figures at the Audit Commission, which polices spending at local authorities, NHS trusts and other government bodies, spent almost £20,000 of public money over the past two years on luxury goods and services. This includes using taxpayer-funded credit cards at Michelin-starred restaurants, florists and a gym equipment supplier.

The credit card receipts disclose that Audit Commission executives enjoyed meals costing more than £600 at L’Escargot and Coq d’Argent in London. Hundreds of pounds were also spent at a brasserie owned by Raymond Blanc, the French chef. In total, £11,390 was spent on fine dining in two years.

Executives also made 30 purchases at florists, costing more than £1,300, and also bought goods from HMV and Thorntons, cinema tickets and doughnuts. Other taxpayer-funded credit card expenditure included more than £100 on chocolates, £200 at Next, the clothes shop, and £1,126 on gym equipment.

In the current climate this sort of expenditure cannot be justified. In fact it could not be supported in any climate. The Audit Commission are meant to be setting an example. Somebody should tell them.
I doubt there is the political will to get the individuals invoklved to give money back so bodies like th audit commission and others will keep doing it
Peter - why should they just be told to behave - why aren't they being sacked and, if necessary, prosecuted?

Politicians really don't get it, and need to wake up fast.
I cannot say that I have a full answer to that question however as they are Auditors they are meant to be independent of government and therefore difficult for politicians to sack them. Otherwise they could be sacked as soon as they issued a difficult audit report.

Two things though, there was another article today saying they might be required to pay back the money and I think the Government is in the process of abolishing the audit commission anyway.
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