Fenland Council's Cabinet refuses request for external audit to save up to �15,000
SENIOR councillors overturned calls from Fenland District Council s standards committee and decided that a major audit should be carried out internally to save up to �15,000. The council s Cabinet turned down the standards committee s request for up to �1
SENIOR councillors overturned calls from Fenland District Council's standards committee and decided that a major audit should be carried out internally to save up to �15,000.
The council's Cabinet turned down the standards committee's request for up to �15,000 for an external ethical governance audit, when it met yesterday at the Boathouse in Wisbech.
Councillor Ken Mayor, who proposed the internal review, said: "We cannot justify spending �15,000 on an external audit. I suggest that this audit takes place internally by the council.
"We have got an excellent internal audit section that is quite capable of doing this piece of work. I feel it would do just as good a job of it as an external one.
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"Our internal audit section has the capacity to start this review in the New Year. It should be started almost immediately."
In August the standards committee called for the audit for "good house-keeping" but, despite a potential �2million shortfall in the council's budget, wanted an external body to carry it out in this financial year to keep parity with the last one carried out in 2004.
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However, the council claimed in a report to Cabinet that an external audit is likely to exceed �10,000.
Cllr Mayor's call was supported by Councillor Kit Owen, who said: "If we go for an external audit that would be a total waste of taxpayers' money.
"There needs to be some sort of audit of procedures and an internal audit would be entirely appropriate and show any errors."
Councillor Simon King said: "This represents a good opportunity to have a really good look at how we implement the legislation."
The meeting was attended by Independent Councillor Mark Archer, who is a member of the standards committee.
After the meeting he said: "I am very disappointed that they (councillors) have backed down from having an external audit. We asked for it because we wanted to convey a sense of transparency, that we have nothing to hide.
"We were forced to ask for up to �15,000, we were told we had to ask for that. Last time the audit cost �5,000 and this would have been like-for-like.