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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Who polices the spending police?

Yesterday's Telegraph contains a fairly run of the mill public spending scandal story about the Audit Commission.

The paper reports that the council spending watchdog has been accused of wasting thousands of pounds on vanity photography of drinks parties around London. The paper says that the Audit Commission spent £12,000 on “alumni” events for former staff at five-star hotels around the capital:

Frank Noon, a corporate photographer, was hired to take pictures of a number of events for the commission, including shots of its 25th anniversary celebrations.
His photographs also included images of special “alumni” events organised for current and former staff. Mr Noon took photographs of staff at the BT Tower, Savoy Place, Lancaster House and the Reform Club.

Eric Pickles, the Communities and Local Government Secretary is quoted as saying:

“This is further proof that the Audit Commission has lost its way, and is not fit to be a spending watchdog. It is incredible that taxpayers’ money has been wasted on partying at some of the most expensive venues in London, with a personal photographer in tow.”

It is just as well they are being abolished, though the timing of these latest revelations does seem to be quite convenient.
Not on point, but the Johnson and Johnson hip replacement issue, in the USA thousands are going to recover the cost of replacing defective hip devices; so why is the NHS in Wales going to pay for this? J&J should pay the NHS the cost of hip replacement surgeries. Why is the Welsh Assembly not taking this up? Why is the Minister for Health not on top of this? The failure rate of these hips is 49%; they were not properly tested, so how on earth did NHS Trusts in Wales opt for these defective J&J hip devices? cw
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