‘Creative accouting’ accusation in relocation budget

11:00 21 January 2014

The EDDC offices at Knowle in Sidmouth as it is today. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

The EDDC offices at Knowle in Sidmouth as it is today. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 7705-15-12SH To order your copy of this photograph visit www.exmouthjournal.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

District council budget bosses have been accused of ‘creative accounting’ and being unable to justify setting aside £400,000 of taxpayers’ cash for the authority’s relocation from Knowle.

The amount, split over the next two financial years, has been earmarked as a ‘marker’ to show there will be an expense to the mooted move.

But it is unclear exactly how the money will be spent – or what the final figure will be.

Some members said they would not accept such budgeting in their own businesses, but others described it as ‘perfectly sensible’ at a meeting on Wednesday.

A ‘disappointed’ Councillor Roger Giles told colleagues on the overview and scrutiny committee: “It is such a substantial sum of money – what is it going to be used for? What is it going to be spent on?”

Councillor Peter Halse added: “We have already spent a small fortune [on the relocation] and now we are talking about even more money.

“If we approve this it gives us permission to print money we didn’t know we had.

“We have created £400,000 – I don’t like that way of accounting.”

He said that he was not opposed to the relocation if the right offer was made, but said that ‘creative accounting’ is not necessary.

Justifying the move, head of finance Simon Davey said the allocation will not affect the budget’s bottom line.

Committee chairman Tim Wood added that it seems ‘safer’ to flag up the expense before the money is needed than revealing it at a later date and dubbed the move ‘eminently professional’.

Chief executive Mark Williams said there was ‘nothing sinister’ about budgeting for the relocation in this way, and the authority will be seeking advice from experts on how to proceed.

A council spokesman explained that the amount is an ‘educated guess’, included to cover the costs of the initial project, should a site be approved.

He added: “Once members have made a decision on office relocation and have agreed the associated costs and receipts then these more exact costings will be included in the capital programme to replace the estimates previously put in as a marker.”

The authority has pledged to keep the move cost-neutral to taxpayers and is considering taking out a loan of up to £4million to fund it.

0 comments

Other News Stories

Yesterday, 16:29
Paranormal activity or trick of the light? The supposed ‘ghost’ can be seen in the reflection of the mirror as  organist Nigel Ogden speaks.

This haunting image has left concert-goers wondering whether they weren’t the only ones enjoying the music – as a spooky shape resembling a ghost seemingly photo-bombs the shot.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:37
Lion President Ian Skinner presenting cheques to the local winners of the 2nd and 3rd prizes in last Sunday’s main yellow duck race. Mrs Richelle Hull (to the left of Ian) received a cheque for £100, and Mrs Melanie Pugsley (far right in photo, holding daughter Farah) received a £75 cheque.

A range of good causes have received a welcome cash boost thanks to a record breaking year at Sidmouth’s annual duck derby.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:31

Fire crews were called to tackle a major corn field blaze on Sidmouth’s coast path this morning (Friday).

Read more
Yesterday, 12:14
Sidford Brownies at Cookafest 2015, an annual event for all South West Rainbows Brownies and Guides

Girl guiding leaders in the Sid Valley are urgently on the lookout for someone to step in to watch over the area’s groups.

Read more
Yesterday, 11:50
Sidmouth Folkweek sign. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 0636-32-14AW. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on Photo Orders

And we’re off… The sun is shining as the clans gather for the summer holiday festival of 2015 and Sidmouth FolkWeek gets underway.

Read more
Yesterday, 10:38

A ten-month legal wrangle over the release of confidential district council documents came to a close this week, after a judge made a final ruling on the disclosure of classified relocation reports.

Read more
Thu, 12:34

Crews from Sidmouth were called to reports of a property fire in the town this morning (Thursday).

Read more
Thu, 12:00

Paramedics are treating a casualty at the scene in Gold Street

Read more
Wed, 16:37
Sidmouth Lifeboat

Sidmouth Lifeboat launched this afternoon (Wednesday) following concerns for the safety of two adults and five children.

Read more
Wed, 11:48

Gypsies are being blocked from occupying land that adjoins East Devon’s Pebblebed Heaths in an ‘unprecedented’ move to protect the environmentally sensitive area.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 12°C

Most Read News

Great British Life


Great British Life

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition today E-edition


Devon's trusted business finder