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Audit reveals years of financial chaos

March 8, 2019 10:49 AM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Chris Botten LargeMuch of the depth of Surrey's financial crisis can be tracked back to the chaotic introduction of computer systems which an audit has revealed, among other things:

• The audit team were "unable to find the business case or any supporting paperwork for the Cabinet Member decision to purchase" [the IT system in question]
• The system is not fully utilised which shows an "inefficient use of public money to purchase and pay annual costs for a system that is not fully implemented"
• The improper use of the system "frequently results in parents arranging private support, followed by judicial review in the parents' favour. This in turn leads to increased costs of provision for the council"
• There have been instances of the Council paying a foster carer, or a school, for a child that is no longer being seen to by that specific service.

Cllr Chris Botten, Leader of Surrey County Council Liberal Democrats, said:

"As hard as it is to see a report which is so damning of our children, families and learning care assessment services, I welcome the honesty and hope that this will provide a useful learning tool for the future. It is clear that we need to take more holistic approaches to services, rather than just looking at the individual needs in isolation, so hopefully this will be a positive outcome of the ongoing transformation process.

"While it's encouraging to hear matters are being remedied, and that there was apparently no criminal activity, residents are suffering now from cuts in services, in significant part because of the failures of leadership in this Council over the last five years."

The Children, Families and Learning Care Assessments Internal Audit can be found by clicking here.