Disappointment over wait for auditor’s report

Corby councillor Rob McKellar
Corby councillor Rob McKellar

A Corby councillor has written to Government minister Eric Pickles expressing his disappointment that a report by the Audit Commission into projects in the town has not yet been made public.

Conservative councillor Rob McKellar wrote to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government who has replied saying he is unable to intervene in the matter.

Corby Council is working with the Audit Commission, now KPMG UK, on the investigation into the financial management of the Cube, which cost £47.5m, £12m over budget.

It is understood the sale of land for the new Tesco store and a revamp of Rockingham Triangle are also under scrutiny.

In his reply Mr Pickles said: “As the auditor is independent of Government I have no powers to intervene to speed up the process, but I am sure the auditor will ensure the people of Corby are informed of their findings as soon as possible.

“In my opinion it is essential that local citizens have relevant and timely information to enable them to hold their council to account, so it is very disappointing to hear that the people of Corby are still waiting for the independent auditor’s report.”

A draft report has been issued to interested parties on the borough council.

A spokesman for KPMG said: “The finalisation of the report needs to follow due process. The draft report has been issued to interested parties for consultation and the consultation process is on-going. A final report will be issued as soon as the auditor is in a position to do so.”

Leader of Corby Council, Cllr Tom Beattie, explained that as the auditor’s report is independent, the authority has no control over its release or completion.

He said: “The council has co-operated fully with the Audit Commission throughout all stages of their investigation. We will continue to do so and will be guided by them and their advice. A draft report is precisely that, a draft for comment and clarification. Both opposition leaders on Corby Borough Council have been briefed on that. I too am keen to have the final report.”

Cllr McKellar said he contacted Mr Pickles because he was concerned over the length of time it has taken to produce the report.

He said: “I took the decision to involve the Secretary of State because I feel that the people of Corby and its surrounding villages are being treated very badly by their council. Taxpayers have a right to know what is going on behind closed doors when it comes to their money.”

Leader of the Conservatives on Corby Council, Cllr David Sims, said: “The public have been waiting for almost a year for this to come out. It really is not acceptable.”