Shepway District Council use procurement cards, so it would appear from their payment to suppliers data. A procurement card is a form of company charge card that allows goods and services to be procured (bought) without using a traditional purchasing process.
Procurement card’s are usually issued to employees who are expected to follow their organization’s policies and procedures related to P-Card use, including reviewing and approving transactions according to a set schedule (at least once per month).
It is not currently known how many senior members of Shepway DC’s staff have access to Procurement Cards
The six months of Shepway DC’s payment data between April and September 2016 contain 2,652 transactions with 6 digit references beginning with 38 and 39 (totalling £16.3 million), and just eleven transactions with 5 digit references – all beginning with 2 (totalling £1.8 million). While some of the 6 figure transactions contain multiple lines, e.g. where the expense is split between different cost centres or different account codes, 6 of the 11 five digit references are split over many lines with many different suppliers sharing the same transaction reference (see below). Of those (with white background), all but the payment to the Local Government Association (LGA) look as though they may have originated from procurement cards, or been imported in multi-line journals. The remaining five single line references are of interest because the question arises as to what distinguishes them from the bulk of 6 digit references. The stand out payment is the £1.743 million to Kent County Council with the description “Pensions Back Funding”.
Purchase Orders: April to September 2016
While the accounts were open for the public to inspect earlier this year. Tim Madden Shepway DC’s finance officer & s151 officer; whose Salary Band is £77,746 – £89,450, refused to allow our public face and other ‘armchair auditors’ access to purchase orders. Then Mr Madden eventually gave way and allowed us to view five Purchase Orders(PO). It was pointed out to him that ALL purchase orders above £5000 must be published according to the Local Government Transparency Code and that this had been the case since 2014. But of course Shepway DC were not compling with the Transparency Code. We still do not know the answer to why it took Shepway DC nigh on two years to full comply with the code. Perhaps you the taxpayer might get a better answer. We suggest that the best person to ask is Shepway DC’s Principal Solicitor, Amandeep Khroud, as it is she who must ensure Shepway DC comply with the laws of the land.
Anyway, that aside here is the data regarding Shepway DC’s purchase order data.
and as a graph it looks like this
To end two persons have objected to the accounts Shepway DC provided for 2015/16. They did so on the following Grounds
1 The Accounts themselves
2 Governance (eg the procedures)
3 Best ‘Value for Money)
SDC’s Audit & Governance Committee have dismissed No1 & No 3 and are investigating procedural issues. The Auditor, Grant Thornton, is currently investigating No 2 – Governance Issues, and the objectors have been waiting for a response since prior to August 11th 2016.
It is important to understand that there are certain legal procedural steps Shepway DC must take, when procuring (buying) items they require, eg Advice from Barristers, or reports from Consultants.
So for the amounts between £0 – £9999 Shepway DC need 1 quote/tender. From £10,000 to £99,999, Shepway DC must get 3 quotes, tenders. It is reported that Shepway DC are buying the service first then getting the quote/tenders. This obviously should be done round the other way. This potentially leaves the system open to abuse.
Shepway DC’s governance controls look very weak to the armchair auditors who are objecting to Shepway’s accounts for 2015/16.
We await the Auditor’s – Grant Thornton – report with great interest