Procurement Card Data 2019/20: Planes, Trains & Automobiles

How! Just how is it possible they don’t understand when the language is so clear and concise?

Are they being deliberately obtuse?

The Local Government Transparency Code 2015 states at Para 28, the following:

Expenditure exceeding £500 (also known as payment to suppliers data)

Local authorities must publish details of each individual item of expenditure that exceeds £500

Now as you can see we have italicized and underlined the last eight words above for a very good reason. But before we explain that, the Transparency Code states at Para 30:

Government Procurement Card transactions (read Credit Cards)

Local authorities must publish details of every transaction on a Government Procurement Card

As you know we’ve written about the Council cocking up the publication of the procurement card data (read credit cards). Not once, not twice, not three times, nor four, but five times. And just yesterday (07.11.22) they added another year 2019/20.

This means there are nearly three complete years of data -2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22 (minus March 22). This leaves five and half years left to publish.

To be clear, the Council have had to publish their procurement card data since 1 April 2014. However the first tranche of data was not published until July 25 2022 – quelle surprise.

It was known in March 2022, that 24 Officers within the Council had use of these procurement cards.

Now back to those eight italicised words – each individual item of expenditure that exceeds £500. In the 2019/20 procurement card data there are 39 payments above £500. These payments come to £37,927. Each of these payments should appear in the payment to supplier data – expenditure exceeding £500, as well as the procurement card data. But of course they do not. We fail to understand how well paid officers cannot understand such clear and concise language which states:

Local authorities must publish details of each individual item of expenditure that exceeds £500

This is regardless of whether it was paid in cash, by bank transfer or on a council procurement card. If it exceeds £500 it must show up on the Council’s payment to suppliers data.

In the 2020/21 and 2021/22 data there are 69 payments above £500. These payments come to £77,252. Each of these payments should appear in the payment to suppliers data – expenditure exceeding £500, as well as the procurement card data. But of course they don’t.

This means the payment to supplier data – expenditure exceeding £500 is incorrect, as a further £115,179 should be added to the total for the three financial years of 2019/20, 2020/21 and 2021/22.

What is also important to note is the Council have failed to add March to to 2021/22 data, and they have not produced the first two quarters for the 2022/23 financial year.

But let’s leave that aside and take a more detailed look at the 2019/20 data.

The Council paid the DVLA, £27,385, between April 2019 and Feb 2022, using their procurement cards. We cannot be sure if this was for Vehicle Excise Duty (Road Tax), or if it was for payments of fines for unclamping non-taxed Council vehicles.

In 2019, just days and weeks after Cllr Georgina Treloar’s (Green) successful Climate & Ecological Change motion was passed by Folkestone & Hythe Council, Council officers climbed onboard British Airways and Easy Jet flights on the same day. Where they departed from and where they flew to is not known yet.  What the £8 and the £7.99 is for is also unclear. What is clear is the flights ran ran contrary to the agreed and approved motion which at point 3 stated:

Ensure that all strategic decisions, policy, budgets, investments, contracts, approaches to planning decisions and the council’s own developments are in line with a shift to zero carbon by 2030.

Then there is travel via train, or rather Eurotunnel to destinations unknown as this moment in time.

And of course payments for cars which is very limited indeed in 2019/20.

What’s clear is the 2019/20 Procurement Card data, as published by Folkestone & Hythe District Council, has been manually manipulated; which makes us naturally suspicious of the data. But what we have, we work with. As one can see in the chart below a well known supermarket’s name has been misspelt. This is the in the data as we found it on the Council’s website. There are other instances of data manipulation which affect the transaction date. This is of great concern as data manipulation of records to disguise the details of a true transaction date shows signs of poor internal controls.

We’ll now put the three years worth of data and analyze that and see what emerges from the Council’s near three year published data. But one must remember that the data presented by them is dirty data, and manipulated data. This should make us all cautious and wary of what the council are trying to tell us with their data. Their data and their manipulation of it can only represent a world they wish you to see, not the world as is. We should all be suspicious of their motives for representing their world, via their dangerous data.

The Shepway Vox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

 

 

 

About shepwayvox (1611 Articles)
Our sole motive is to inform the residents of Shepway - and beyond -as to that which is done in their name. email: shepwayvox@riseup.net

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