Now that the report into the losses at South Yorkshire Trading Standards Unit has been released, it is totally unacceptable for the council to use the lessons have been learned excuse.
The general manager died in December 2005, and the losses came to light in early 2006.
There were plenty of letters in the press then, and subsequently, into the apparent failure of managers, directors, auditors and councillors to pick up the fraud earlier into the ten years of its duration.
Whilst some, very few, frauds do occur in the private sector, the normal well-established checks and balances used over many years should prevent this happening. So why were they apparently not in existence in this company?
There seems to have been a culture of secrecy by the council regarding the results of the provisional report, and an unwillingness to publish the final report, until pressure from The Star. This is totally unacceptable.
The public still don’t know, after six years, who fell down on the job, and what action was taken. In the private sector some heads would have rolled.
The moral of this situation, and the Burngreave affair, is that the council should keep away from trying to run a company at arms’ length, and leave it to the private sector.
Mr DV Cave, Sheffield