Hertfordshire County Council’s �21million accounting error

HERTFORDSHIRE County Council has been slammed after it was revealed it had made accounting errors of almost �21million.

Councillors sitting on the county’s audit committee were presented last week with the Audit Commission’s Interim Annual Governance Report, in which it was revealed auditors uncovered “significant problems due to incomplete and inadequate working papers and responses to audit queries”.

The report explains that the council’s accounts had been received back in June, and contained “a significant error which overstated the general fund balance by �21 million.”

The error has subsequently been identified as a double counting of a fixed asset impairment of �21 million.

This week, Lib Dem councillors were quick to criticise the Conservative-led council for the gaffe.


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Cllr Paul Goggins called the error “a shambles”.

“One would expect this kind of mess from poorly run councils – this council is supposed to be a well run council,” he said.

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Cllr Allan Siao Ming Witherick, who sits on the Audit Committee added: “This report makes uncomfortable reading for the Tory administration.

“For members of the public it is horrifying. They pay their council tax in good faith. They trust the administration to look after it. But this is no longer happening at County Hall.’

A county council spokeswoman said: “The �21m over-estimation on our draft accounts resulted from a presentational error, where a figure was placed in the wrong area of the balance sheet.

“This has no financial consequence – it does not impact on council tax.

“The Audit Commission identified the source of this error and we are currently working with the auditors to correct this.

“Our final accounts will be published and audited by the end of October.”

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