Wednesday, August 22, 2012

City Council Scrutiny Committee

This afternoon, I participated in the City Council's Scrutiny Committee.

In many respects, the substantive report was in relation to the misappropriation of income and cash from Baldragon Academy.  Although the report before committee today was appropriate in its content, covering remedial action taken as a result of the investigation into the theft and a summary of review work undertaken planned to be undertaken by the City Council's Internal Audit Service, the committee and Chief Officers agreed to my request for a follow-up report covering audit arrangements and spot-checks at council establishments where there is cash-handling.    

This was a very serious misappropriation of school funds and it is important that not only are the proper procedures in place at all City Council establishments; it is also vital that the council is satisfied that these are being administered correctly.

At the Scrutiny Committee, I also:

  • Questioned the reasons behind sickness absence performance figures that show a deterioration in the situation.
  • Queried the deterioration in library visiting numbers (particularly at the Central Library) - although it does have to be said that Dundee's libraries continue to perform particularly well in footfall terms in relation to libraries across Scotland generally.   The Director of Leisure & Communities gave a very comprehensive and helpful response and it is clear that much effort is being made to ensure our libraries continue to attract a large following from the people of Dundee.   There is a Library Festival planned for the city and I warmly welcomed this.
  • I also queried administrative arrangements where employees leave the City Council's employment, to ensure there are no salary overpayments.