Monday, 16 July 2012

Thanet District Council’s Accounts, Thanet’s Population Explosion and it’s all Torch Torch Torch


Having contacted the council, last week, to tell them that their Olympic Torch Relay leaflet contained a map showing the wrong route. I wasn’t entirely unsurprised when a council employee delivered one to my shop today completely oblivious to the fact that the information it contained was wrong.

I guess that is the problem with local government, there comes a point where the only solution is to ignore the elephant in the room and carry on regardless.

The new census results are out and the population of Thanet has risen from 123,800 in 2001 to 134,200 in 2011 I think that is a rise of 5.8%  

The councils accounts are now available as a pdf file http://www.thanet.gov.uk/pdf/Draft_Statement_of_Accounts_11to12.pdf and as one would expect they explain the issue of senior offices pay and exit packages (redundancy payouts in detail) page 74 on.

I mention this specifically because of previous comment here saying this information has been withheld by the council. 


Page 102 seems to be saying that the council has acquired £620,000 worth of fairground rides. This was one of the few lighter moments in the chore of reading their accounts.



I will probably ramble on here.

10 comments:

  1. From the accounts the previous chief exec left within 2 month of the financial year starting but was paid £28K.Works out at least £168K a year. Nice work if you can get it.

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  2. Aside from Richard Samuel, Brian White's salary and payoff would be interesting too.

    Annual accounts have to be published - the payslips, contracts etc are usually witheld (although they shouldn't be) making the accounts a very brief summary at best. Or illegal as with 0% payrises.

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    Replies
    1. 7.08 both officers severance payment figures are published on page 76 £98,000 and £76,000.

      I guess if the council were to publish details of every officers payslips, all of the council’s invoices and recipts, none of us would be able to extrapolate the information for all the figures.

      This is why the council uses an approved auditor to check the totals are correct.

      Delete
    2. You can request payslips - and any other documents. It is public funds.

      The 0% issue was the previous year - this years payslips would refer to the increased figure.

      Not quite right on the auditor: it's an Audit Commission civil servant in this instance not an audit firm. Whichever costs they doublecheck - if any - is down to them and their report. They're disbanded later this year for being toothless as with say the FSA.

      On the two severance payments (I can't open the PDF) these are separate to salary and pension ie a lump sum each of about a years salary - and pensions on top?

      Sounds not quite a bargain.

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    3. It's about 2 or 3 years of running costs for say the Maritime Museum spent in a year on payoffs.

      Interestingly KCC's annual cost over 4 years would be the same as the Olympics.

      Delete
    4. 9.50 I think you have got a bit confused here you can’t request, you need to go to the council offices and inspect them.

      Members of the public and local government electors have certain rights in the audit process:
      · From 9 July 2012 to 3 August 2012 between 9.00 am and 4.30 pm each weekday any person may inspect the accounts of the Council for the year ended 31 March 2012 and certain related documents (comprising books, deeds, contracts, bills, vouchers and receipts) Thanet District Council, Cecil Street, Margate. They may also make copies of the accounts and documents.
      · From 10am on 6 August 2012 until the conclusion of the audit process, a local government elector for the area of the Council, or his/her representative, may ask the auditor questions about the accounts.

      From 10am on 6 August 2012 until the conclusion of the audit process, a local government elector for the area of the Council, or his/her representative, may object to the Council’s accounts asking that the auditor issue a report in the public interest (under section 8 of the Audit Commission Act 1998) and/or apply to the court for a declaration that an item in the accounts is contrary to law (under section 17 of the Audit Commission Act 1998).

      The Council’s accounts are subject to external audit by Andy Mack, Audit Manager, Audit Practice, Audit Commission, 1st Floor, Millbank Tower, Millbank, London SW1P 4HQ.

      Audit Practice is the Audit Commissions in house firm and subject to annual inspection by the Audit Inspection unit, like the other firms the audit commission use to conduct audits.

      This year’s and previous years council accounts are available on the council’s website, you need to download one of the free pdf viewers to open them.

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    5. No 9:50 is spot on. All documents are available all year round under FOI. And to be provided to you.

      You can start a court case over fraudulent payments etc any time you like.

      The once a month system (also still available) was in operation before that although semi-secretive. Again these should be provided to you. You could be stood there for hours if you wanted to view say company car contracts or whatever.

      As well as of January 2012 all costs over £500 are supposed to be routinely pubished each month.

      Audit Practice is presumably the Audit Commission inhouse name for the audit dept but it's still civil servants not an external firm say PWC etc.

      Of course none of this happens at all at TDC as we know.

      Try it though with TDC and Andy Mack eg Pleasurama contracts, 0% Payslips, pollution etc etc. See how you do.

      Similarly KCC refused to detail the CE payoff as long as possible.

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  3. Seems like a £1.17 millions underspend on the year. The interest on that alone if invested will do to keep Ramsgate Museum going for ever even though a former cabinet member says TDC cant afford it. Very supprising that TDC have already purchase £620,000 of fairground rides. They must have jumped the gun in thinking that Pleasurama will be returned to a fairground. Silly me, they are intended for Margate even though they dont own a site.

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  4. Is there any way of getting a breakdown of the figure for the purchase of fairground rides? People close to the industry have suggested that the items being accumulated for Dreamland are cast-offs from other fairgrounds, in which case it is difficult to see how such a huge expenditure can have been made. That, of course, is assuming that Dreamland is their intended destination.

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  5. So if you want to raise a comment on the accounts do you do it to Andy Mack ?

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