On the 1 August 2022, the public were supposed to have been allowed to inspect Folkestone & Hythe District Council’s accounts, as per s26 of the Local Audit & Accountability Act 2014.
It’s not just the accounts which are an issue.
On 25 July 2022, the Council released twenty three months worth of their Procurement Card Transactions. This twenty three months covered April 1 2020 through to 28 February 2022. Two months and ten days since they published the first tranche of data, the other six years and one month of Council Procurement Card Transactions is yet to be published.
We are currently working to collate our historic data and this will be published as soon as possible.
The Corporate Director responsible for the publication of the accounts and the Council’s Procurement Card Transactions is the s151 Officer, Charlotte Spendley.
On another note, council whistleblowers are now claiming that Council Officers have received holidays for the awarding of contracts. They have also named the companies who have facilitated these holidays. They have not just rocked up and made these claims without supplying the names of the companies, the council officers and the destinations of these claimed holidays. They have provided substantial and reasonable fact based evidence to support their claims as well.
We are currently investigating the evidence they’ve provided. We will publish the results when we have completed our investigations.
The whistleblowers are loathe to approach senior management with their claims as they honestly believe they’ll be made scapegoats. That claim is a reasonable one given the council paid for, and instructed East Kent Audit Partnership (EKAP) to conduct a “Corporate leak investigation” to see if they could discover the whistleblowers within the Council. The report provided no comfort to senior management, as EKAP did not find them.
It is a disciplinary offence for an officer to breach these rules or the financial regulations…
Now we know four officers were suspended, investigated, and all left the building – like Elvis. How is it the officer/s responsible for the spending of the £164,000, has/have not been suspended, which is what the Whistleblowers claim.
This would appear to be hypocrisy of a seismic scale given what happened to the four who recently were forced out of the building for breaching the financial procedure rules and contract standing orders. It would appear that there are different rules for different members of staff. Make of that what you will.
The Shepway Vox Team
Journalism for the People NOT the Powerful