A COUNCIL’S failure to properly balance its books is set to cost at least £25,000.
This year’s report by the Audit Commission into the financial governance of Bolsover District Council revealed “fundamental errors” in the calculations made by the council with regards to its spending, including discrepancies to the tune of £176,000 in council tax debts and £157,000 in housing benefit overpayments.
Inaccuracies on the asset register – which documents all material assets the council owns – included recording 1,586 lock-up garages, when there are only 800.
The report brought to the council said: “A fundamental error is that the total comprehensive income and expenditure for the year did not equal the movement in net assets between the balance sheets,” and quoted a £25,000 fee for the extra time needed for the council to produce more coherent accounts.
A spokesperson for the council said they could not comment on the report until it had been discussed by the council in December.
But Coun Duncan Kerr, a lone Green party member on the Labour-controlled council, said of the report: “For the third year in a row it puts Bolsover at the back of the class. It has no fewer than 17 recommendations, 13 adjudged to be of high importance and concludes that the council has important weaknesses in internal control.
“Probably most damning of all is the observation that although the council needs to make savings of £6.5m over the next three years, it would appear that all council members have not yet received a comprehensive overview of the progress in delivering the agreed level of savings.”
Bolsover resident, Steve Mirl, said: “This report tells us that this council doesn’t know the value of what it owns, doesn’t know what the salary total is of its staff and invents figures for the balance sheet when it can’t find a value.”
The audit report will be brought back to the Council on 14th December.