Grant Thornton is under investigation for it’s audits and earlier this year the Chief Executive of Grant Thornton informed the business, energy and industrial strategy committee “we’re not looking for fraud“.
We find this alarming, as this could mean that fraud might be happening in all Council’s in Kent and we’d be none the wiser, as Grant Thornton aren’t looking for it. We just hope the fox is not in the hen house.
At the last Audit & Governance Committee held on the 24 April 2019, KCC Cllr Martin Whybrow (Green) asked for an update on where Grant Thornton are with regards to answering the PFI part of the objection.
Mr Mack informed the committee, openly, that Grant Thornton had met with the National Audit Office in the week of 15th – 19th April 2019, to discuss issues relating to PFI. He hoped that a response to the PFI objection would be ready and prepared for the committee by the next meeting on the 24th July 2019.
So we took the time to contact the National Audit Office, as you do, regarding Mr Mack’s statement, and the NAO came back with the following statement:
Mr Mack’s response to Cllr Whybrow and the Audit & Governance Committee was not a honest one, in our honest opinion. Those at KCC have been kinder, as they deemed it as a “misleading statement“. They could not, nor would not comment any further on the matter.
So we ask you do you feel assured by Mr Mack’s statement bearing, in mind he is the Head of Audit Quality, and Public Services Assurance? We certainly DO NOT we feel assured.
As the NAO say in their statement KCC’s draft minutes for the Audit & Governance Committee on the 24th April 2019, does have a clarification made by Mr Mack. This an almost unprecedented step that KCC have taken, to amend the minutes. The clarification at Para 22 states:
Mr Mack would like to clarify that the meeting was a Briefing Session held by the NAO and attended by a number of audit firms, and not a meeting called to discuss PFI…“
We really do NOT feel assured by the Head of Audit Quality and Public Services Assurance, Mr Andrew Mack’s clarification either.
Moving on Grant Thornton charged KCC the sum of £13,490 pounds to investigate the the LOBO Loans & Double Payment objections, on top of their £156,000 pound annual fee for auditing the accounts. Both objection responses are inadequate, as neither make clear how much work was undertaken on the two objections cited. We would ask Grant Thornton to disclose and itemise what they did to earn the additional fee of £13,490.
The final PFI objection remains outstanding. This has been the case for nearly two years. We hope Grant Thornton do finally answer the objection in July 2019. We would expect the response by Grant Thornton to be 100% honest and NOT “misleading“, like the statement made by Mr Andrew Mack. We would also ask them to itemise the work they undertook to earn any fee which may be paid.
Did Grant Thornton lie to the Audit & Governance Committee on the 24th April 2019? Or did they just mislead them? We’ll leave you to decide that.
The Shepwayvox Team
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