Thousands of pounds of public money are being wasted in Brighton and Hove after the government changed the rules about financial checks.
The costly waste came to light when councillors were told that contributions to teachers’ pensions were no longer required to be covered in the council’s main audit contract.
Brighton and Hove City Council executive director of finance and resources Catherine Vaughan said: “I’m very frustrated about it. It’s a huge waste of money.”
At a meeting at Hove Town Hall, she told the council’s Audit and Standards Committee that she had written to the government about it.
Under the old arrangements the pension contributions were audited with the rest of the council’s accounts at a cost of £1,500.
The council pays a firm of auditors, Ernst and Young, for the annual financial health check but teachers’ pensions no longer need to be included as part of this contract.
It is not regarded as particularly profitable. As a result Ernst and Young quoted £15,000 for the work – a price that prompted the council to find another firm for the work.
Mrs Vaughan said: “We’re now paying £6,500 to a local firm because that’s the best deal we can get.”
The situation is likely to be replicated at several hundred other councils around the country.
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