Greenwich Council rapped over consultant's bills

In Cabinet papers published last week, the District Auditor agreed that payments to a consultant had broken European Union laws.  Sherlock Consultancy is run by Peter Sherlock and has helped the Council manage a range of building projects including the Eltham Centre and Charlton School.

 

The core findings of fault with the Council included:-

 

  • Breaching its own rules (standing orders) by not properly authorising the payments of more than £100,000 to Sherlock Consultancy.
  • Failing to publish a proper contract notice to allow other companies to bid for work in two years where the payments to Sherlock Consultancy exceeded £1.5m.
  • There were gaps in the documentation which dealt with employing Sherlock Consultancy.

 

The Sherlock Consultancy was paid almost £2m each year from 2005 to 2008 although there is no evidence of any competitive tendering in his original employment. 

 

Although the District Auditor concludes that the ‘item of account could be unlawful’ he suggests that Council has now rectified the problems which lead to the illegality. 

 

Leader of Greenwich Conservatives Cllr Spencer Drury said “The Council’s disorganisation in this case means that someone who has received £7.9m of taxpayer’s money since 2003 cannot be proved to be giving us value for money.  I can only take my hat off to the residents of Charlton who have tracked down this illegal spending of taxpayer’s money and kept objecting to the Council’s accounts until the District Auditor had to admit publicly that EU regulations had been broken.”