Report slams Welwyn Hatfield Council money men

FINANCE chiefs controlling millions of pounds of taxpayers cash have been defended by borough council leader John Dean, after being officially criticised. Welwyn Hatfield Council s finance department was singled out by the Audit Commission after �25m was

FINANCE chiefs controlling millions of pounds of taxpayers' cash have been defended by borough council leader John Dean, after being officially criticised.

Welwyn Hatfield Council's finance department was singled out by the Audit Commission after �25m was wrongly recorded in the end-of-year accounts.

The annual audit and inspection letter condemned the department, noting significant errors, which resulted in a charge of �27,500 to the taxpayer.

The letter also stated: "Other errors identified by our audit included the valuation of the Hatfield Swim Centre, the format of the capital financing and expenditure note, and the disclosure of developers' contributions." It went on: "The lack of a fully developed medium-term financial strategy meant that the council did not have a sound basis for maintaining its financial integrity over the medium-term." Opposition leader Margaret Birleson said: "I have to say the letter stands out as one of the worst we have received. "Something is going dreadfully wrong with our environment and financial services.


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"All this Tory administration is doing is privatising everything and reducing the staffing levels more and more.

"I believe it is time the administration started to look internally and put back resources into these significant and vitally important areas of work."

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Council leader John Dean spoke to he WHT ahead of Tuesday night's cabinet meeting, where the letter was to be discussed.

He said: "I'm fully aware of the situation and we will make sure one member of staff is dedicated to the improvement plan.

"I have every confidence in the team at Welwyn Hatfield."

* Have your say, email whtimes@archant.co.uk

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