We've been having a look at the somewhat murky status of the various payments made to Mr Harold Tinworth, murky because no-one has ever seemed to have formally agreed the expenditure to pay for his services and there is no formal record of what he actually does.
The District Auditor has now completed an investigation into the matter and, while the total lack of any sanction is hardly going to be much of a disincentive against frittering away £111k of public money with no records kept again in the future, NCC have now been told to formalise the arrangement and to issue a proper tender for the work required that is compliant with NCC's financial regulations. I thought I'd get in quick and ask for a copy of the tender under the Freedom of Info Act.
The reasons why the DA decided not to look further into this matter are somewhat disappointing. She says that her remit is limited to investigating years that haven't yet been subject to full audit. Because of this restriction as far as she is concerned the amount of money at stake is negligible. 'Negligible' in as much as it would have paid for a social worker for the best part of a year that is. Essentially, what is being said here is that if you can keep your skullduggery under wraps for long enough, you have a much better chance of not being investigated.
Of course, we might do well to remind ourselves that the person at the centre of this is the leader of the council Jon Collins. The invoices all said that the work charged for was 'services to the leader' and Collins seemed to be the only person who knew what Tinworth was up to.
This is the second time that a Collins scheme has escaped proper scrutiny. He was at the centre of the Radford Unity Complex debacle which the District Auditor was looking into, before abandoning the investigation when the sale fell through.