Bolsover District Council hit with £25,000 after accounting problems

Bolsover District Council has been hit with a £25,000 bill for the extra work undertaken by the audit commission due to problems with the accounts it presented for 2010 to 2011.

The commission had to halt its annual audit in September due to 14 administration errors it identified in Bolsover’s financial statements.

At a full council meeting district auditor Sue Sunderland said: “You should take no comfort from this letter. It is the worst letter I have written this year.

“Financial and good governance are important and there are issues here I have been telling you about for three years.”

The auditor said charging an additional £25,000 would not have been necessary if the proper guidelines had been in place.

She added: “You as a council have to show you want to take action so I am not standing here next year saying the same things.”

In her letter to the district council Mrs Sunderland said the most fundamental of the commission’s recommendations were as follows:

l That the council review roles within the accountancy section to ensure staff could cope with the workload

l Officers should be given time to examine accounts in detail before they are submitted for audit

l The council’s audit committee should record the budgeting position more formally and should monitor progress throughout the year to ensure progress was made towards it plans.

Speaking during the meeting Councillor Eoin Watts, leader of Bolsover District Council, said: “We have to be honest with ourselves about where we have gone wrong. We have to accept the reporting processes were not right.

“Just make sure you report so you know where you have got to and where you need to be. If you do not get the processes right you do not get anything else right.

After the meeting Mr Watts said: “£25,000 worth of charges for extra work is disappointing but we put our hands up to it.”

He added: “We have some admin problems. It was all about the presentation of accounts.”

The council leader said Bolsover had suffered badly as a result of central government cuts and was doing its best to meet the new targets.