No glaring errors in handling of Portsmouth council money say auditors

Iain Duncan Smith speaking during a visit to Portsmouth

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AUDITORS say they have found nothing improper in the way Portsmouth City Council spends money.

An annual audit report highlighted management were in a ‘position to perpetrate fraud’ because of its ability to ‘manipulate accounting records directly or indirectly,’ and prepare fraudulent financial statements by ‘overriding controls that otherwise appear to be operating effectively.’

The same dossier highlighted a ‘significant risk’ in relation to the council’s ability to realise savings required in the years ahead.

Auditors Ernst & Young LLP carried out some work after raising concerns and are now happy that risks have been minimised.

After obtaining a full list of journals documenting spending, the team says it has not identified ‘instances of inappropriate judgements being applied; or any other transactions ‘which appeared unusual, or outside the council’s normal course of business.’

A findings document adds: ‘From our testing of additions to property, plant and equipment, we found that items were capitalised appropriately. Our testing did not identify any expenditure which had been inappropriately capitalised.’ The findings will be discussed by council members at a meeting on Friday.