Forgetful councillors investigated for possible fraud

Southend's Civic Centre

Southend's Civic Centre

First published in Southend

FIVE councillors have been investigated for fraud - because they forgot to fill in a form.

The unnamed members of Southend Council were scrutinised by auditing firm PKF after failing to declare their links to private companies or bodies.

All five councillors ignored the initial form and then two reminder letters, prompting the auditor to launch an investigation into their backgrounds.

A spokesman for PKF said: “There is a risk that a related party transaction may not be disclosed in the related party note in the financial statements.

“To mitigate this risk, we have a completed a company search on these councillors to identify any potential relationships with companies that may need to be disclosed in the financial statements.”

Councillors are required to complete a form every year detailing their connections to private firms or community groups which do business with or receive grants from the council.

The process is designed to ensure no politicians are unfairly siphoning cash from the authority.

Councillors are allowed to have links with outside bodies and even make money from the council through private businesses.

However, they must declare the links clearly so they can be scrutinised by auditors to ensure taxpayers’ money is being spent prudently.

None of the five councillors investigated by PKF were found to have any dubious links, but the auditor slapped their wrists for sparking the doubt in the first place.

The PKF spokesman added: “The council should endeavour to ensure that declaration forms are received from all councillors in the future.”

One councillor, who did not want to be named, criticised the “foolishness” of colleagues.

The councillor said: “We do get a lot of paperwork to fill in, so it is easy to miss some.

“But it’s more important than ever at the moment to ensure the council is seen to be acting correctly with people’s money.

“To not act despite two reminder letters is pretty foolish.”

Comments (18)

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1:31pm Tue 8 Jan 13

alongtheway says...

So who are those five councillors. They should be named and shamed
So who are those five councillors. They should be named and shamed alongtheway
  • Score: 0

3:12pm Tue 8 Jan 13

siddymint says...

I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load
Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that.
But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me.
The problem is working out which are which
I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that. But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me. The problem is working out which are which siddymint
  • Score: 0

3:14pm Tue 8 Jan 13

maxell says...

I see the echo once again are doing a good job of protecting the guilty, just report enough not to raise to much suspition, Ok they may have may forget !!! to fill in forms, but what have they received that will go undisclosed, full public inquiry, so that the council can be seen to be transparent. as this could be seen has back handers, lets just think what big company would need favours from the council, give you a clue A-----T
I see the echo once again are doing a good job of protecting the guilty, just report enough not to raise to much suspition, Ok they may have may forget !!! to fill in forms, but what have they received that will go undisclosed, full public inquiry, so that the council can be seen to be transparent. as this could be seen has back handers, lets just think what big company would need favours from the council, give you a clue A-----T maxell
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Tue 8 Jan 13

jolllyboy says...

Slap their wrists? naughty boys/girls. that'll tell them - NOT.
We pay for honesty, transparency - now we cannot believe them. Good on your auditors.
I agree that the Echo does seem to be biased in favour of councillors and southend council - maybe they have shares in the company because normally local papers will speak more for the residents of a town.
Slap their wrists? naughty boys/girls. that'll tell them - NOT. We pay for honesty, transparency - now we cannot believe them. Good on your auditors. I agree that the Echo does seem to be biased in favour of councillors and southend council - maybe they have shares in the company because normally local papers will speak more for the residents of a town. jolllyboy
  • Score: 0

4:54pm Tue 8 Jan 13

leigh-my-town says...

That's like reporting give bananas have avoided the fruit bowl! Name the guilty shame the criminals.
That's like reporting give bananas have avoided the fruit bowl! Name the guilty shame the criminals. leigh-my-town
  • Score: 0

5:33pm Tue 8 Jan 13

John T Pharro says...

Funny how they seem to miss the obvious, like they have links to private companies ignored the form and two reminders. Wonder if they forget to fill in their claim forms.
Funny how they seem to miss the obvious, like they have links to private companies ignored the form and two reminders. Wonder if they forget to fill in their claim forms. John T Pharro
  • Score: 0

6:52pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Max 269 says...

Selective memory how convenient.
It shows a level of deviancy.
Replace immediately. 60 hours a week for £50 they will be glad to go.
Selective memory how convenient. It shows a level of deviancy. Replace immediately. 60 hours a week for £50 they will be glad to go. Max 269
  • Score: 0

8:20pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Shoebury_Cyclist says...

If these were benefit claimants just 'forgetting' to fill in required forms you can bet the Echo would be splashing their names all over the place. That the Echo isn't suggests to me these are councillors of the blue persuasion.
If these were benefit claimants just 'forgetting' to fill in required forms you can bet the Echo would be splashing their names all over the place. That the Echo isn't suggests to me these are councillors of the blue persuasion. Shoebury_Cyclist
  • Score: 0

9:02pm Tue 8 Jan 13

Devils Advocate says...

Has anyone of our readers been sent a letter from the council? I have on two occasions, and on both of those I received such a nasty and threatening letter, you would have I had raped their virgin mothers. I hasten to add that both of those letters were sent due to a stupid mistake on the council's part.
I would also say that when I complained, the people I saw both blamed the councillors for the actual wording of those letters.

If they are of that mind, how come they can actually all do the very thing they accused me of doing? AND break the rules whilst so doing!

Sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander in this right wing world!
Has anyone of our readers been sent a letter from the council? I have on two occasions, and on both of those I received such a nasty and threatening letter, you would have I had raped their virgin mothers. I hasten to add that both of those letters were sent due to a stupid mistake on the council's part. I would also say that when I complained, the people I saw both blamed the councillors for the actual wording of those letters. If they are of that mind, how come they can actually all do the very thing they accused me of doing? AND break the rules whilst so doing! Sauce for the goose is definitely not sauce for the gander in this right wing world! Devils Advocate
  • Score: 0

9:42pm Tue 8 Jan 13

southchurch bob says...

siddymint wrote:
I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load
Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that.
But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me.
The problem is working out which are which
My heart bleeds for them, lets be honest here they did have TWO reminders with all the controversay regarding expenses recently why did they forget ? to fill in the forms?
,
[quote][p][bold]siddymint[/bold] wrote: I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that. But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me. The problem is working out which are which[/p][/quote]My heart bleeds for them, lets be honest here they did have TWO reminders with all the controversay regarding expenses recently why did they forget ? to fill in the forms? , southchurch bob
  • Score: 0

9:46pm Tue 8 Jan 13

southchurch bob says...

leigh-my-town wrote:
That's like reporting give bananas have avoided the fruit bowl! Name the guilty shame the criminals.
Exactly !!!!








1
[quote][p][bold]leigh-my-town[/bold] wrote: That's like reporting give bananas have avoided the fruit bowl! Name the guilty shame the criminals.[/p][/quote]Exactly !!!! 1 southchurch bob
  • Score: 0

10:10pm Tue 8 Jan 13

jayman says...

If it where labour or independent councillors the echo would have printed there name, star sign, worst nightmare and pets favourite food.
If it where labour or independent councillors the echo would have printed there name, star sign, worst nightmare and pets favourite food. jayman
  • Score: 0

10:28pm Tue 8 Jan 13

marshman says...

Is it the same form they have to use to declare if they're a Freemason?
Is it the same form they have to use to declare if they're a Freemason? marshman
  • Score: 0

10:51pm Tue 8 Jan 13

jayman says...

http://www.southends
tandard.co.uk/news/8
232625.Councillors__
__expenses_are____ir
regular__not_fraudul
ent___/

reminiscent...
http://www.southends tandard.co.uk/news/8 232625.Councillors__ __expenses_are____ir regular__not_fraudul ent___/ reminiscent... jayman
  • Score: 0

5:22am Wed 9 Jan 13

Brunning999 says...

Really ?

I am sure this cannot be true!!!
Really ? I am sure this cannot be true!!! Brunning999
  • Score: 0

8:28am Wed 9 Jan 13

siddymint says...

southchurch bob says...
9:42pm Tue 8 Jan 13

siddymint wrote:
I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load
Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that.
But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me.
The problem is working out which are which
My heart bleeds for them, lets be honest here they did have TWO reminders with all the controversay regarding expenses recently why did they forget ? to fill in the forms?


Then

jayman says...
10:10pm Tue 8 Jan 13

If it where labour or independent councillors the echo would have printed there name, star sign, worst nightmare and pets favourite food.

yes two reminders, my orginal comment was wrong
if any of us got just one reminder from the council, then threatened with court action.
So name them.
southchurch bob says... 9:42pm Tue 8 Jan 13 siddymint wrote: I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that. But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me. The problem is working out which are which My heart bleeds for them, lets be honest here they did have TWO reminders with all the controversay regarding expenses recently why did they forget ? to fill in the forms? Then jayman says... 10:10pm Tue 8 Jan 13 If it where labour or independent councillors the echo would have printed there name, star sign, worst nightmare and pets favourite food. yes two reminders, my orginal comment was wrong if any of us got just one reminder from the council, then threatened with court action. So name them. siddymint
  • Score: 0

2:29pm Wed 9 Jan 13

The__Truth says...

siddymint wrote:
I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load
Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that.
But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me.
The problem is working out which are which
Siddymint. As a current Councillor you appear to have forgotten to declare an interest in this conversation. :-)
[quote][p][bold]siddymint[/bold] wrote: I diagree if there was no problem leave it at that coucnillors have forms and forms and forms to fill in as well as a work load Some are very hard working putting in 60 hours a week for after deductions £50 yes fifty pounds a week then there is petrol etc to come out of that. But some are only there for bisciuts and look at me. The problem is working out which are which[/p][/quote]Siddymint. As a current Councillor you appear to have forgotten to declare an interest in this conversation. :-) The__Truth
  • Score: 0

4:50pm Wed 9 Jan 13

siddymint says...

Siddymint. As a current Councillor you appear to have forgotten to declare an interest in this conversation. :-)


??????? not me
Siddymint. As a current Councillor you appear to have forgotten to declare an interest in this conversation. :-) ??????? not me siddymint
  • Score: 0

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