MARKET FARCES: AN AUDITOR WRITES…

A FORMER INTERNAL AUDITOR GIVES THEIR OPINION ON THE SO-CALLED CITY COUNCIL ‘INVESTIGATION’ INTO THE MARKETS SERVICE…AND IT AIN’T PRETTY

The Markets FileWe have covered the FINANCIAL SCANDAL in Bristol City Council’s Markets Service for a full year.

Many in Shitty Hall attempted to gloss over the whole affair.

But then we received a LEAKED COPY of the council’s own ‘Internal Audit’ report. It made for interesting reading…

But don’t just take our word for it. We passed it on to a FORMER INTERNAL AUDITOR, and asked them to give their opinion on it.

Here is what they said:

Due to the seriousness of allegations and problems within the market, I would query whether this audit should have been carried out by the council’s own internal audit department as it may be considered that they may not be objective or independent.

For what it’s worth, the audit opinion is that “management can place no reliance” on the “weak” internal control of the market, resulting in an audit assessment of “poor – of concern”.

The auditors stated that they could not “form an opinion on the soundness and strength of the allegations or otherwise” because they were not presented with enough objective evidence.

The audit says that: (a) requested documentation was not made available and (b) there was a lack of willingness and urgency from market staff to resolve any issues. How any auditor worth their salt put up with this sort of response is beyond me. Imagine if a professional, independent, outside company had been brought in, only to be presented with a barrage of obstruction and apathy (let’s be honest – this is what it boils down to).

They would have presented a brief, damning report detailing how they had been given the run-around, declaring the market’s management and system unfit for audit and presented them with a large bill for wasting their time.

Some audit findings seem to imply that traders are being charged, ‘adjusted’ or let off on a whim, with no qualifying or traceable paperwork or adherence to any system. It is particularly telling that for some of the corrective action the auditors are suggesting that:

  1. There is a problem
  2. No one in current staffing has ability to correct the situation
  3. Suggests that a fInancial person is appointed to the task
  4. Recommends that they get instructions from the audit department (not management?) prior to implementing the corrective action.

Don’t they trust management to implement the corrective action, even after discussions and receiving the audit report along with all the “findings”?

I have been led to understand that, despite the audit laying down implementation dates for corrective action to be completed (Nov 2012 – Jan 2013) there has not been a follow- up audit to see whether the corrective action identified – and agreed – has been implemented.

“Imperative” and “urgent” are words from the executive summary, yet why still no follow-up audit?

I suppose at least the council has a piece of paper to wave under the noses of the uninitiated to tell them that the problems have been identified and corrective action – where necessary – is being implemented.