Who’s watching the watchdogs on the gravy train?

The so-called public spending watchdog, the Audit Commission which tells local authorities, NHS trusts and other government bodies when they spend money they shouldn’t have themselves spent around £20,000 of public money on luxury goods and services.

The public purse supports thousands of credit cards in the hands of civil servants who have racked up almost £1billion in charges that we have to pay for things like £600 for a luxury meal at L’Escargot and Cog d’Argent in London; hundreds of pounds at Raymond Blanc’s brasserie, the French Chef, this being part of £11,390 spent on fine dining by the Audit Commission executives in a two year period.

These so-called executives also spent £1,300 on flowers, and even spent your money at HMV and Thorntons and bought themselves cinema tickets and doughnuts.  Figures were released to Eric Ollerenshaw, a Tory MP and will be disclosed in Commons this week.  He says that the Audit Commission should be the ‘gold standard’ for public spending.

The salaries of the Chief Executive and Management Team as shown in the Annual Report for 2009/2010 was £1,240,000 with pensions with a transfer value of £7,126,000.  The Chairman and Commissioner remuneration for the same period was £225,000.

The overall operating costs are £220million with staff and member costs being £131million of that figure.  All of their income comes from activities for and behalf of the government and its departments and accounts for the £213million income (which also comes from the public purse) and certainly part of the £54million paid for “bought-in services” must be going to the ‘consultants’ who also act as commissioners.

On the face of it the Audit Commission doesn’t seem to be very good value for money and their operating losses of £9million says nothing positive for the accounting and auditing ability of the commission overall.

The Board of Directors comprises:

  • Michael O’Higgins (Chairman);
  • Bharat Shah (Deputy Chairman);
  • Lord Adebowale (Commissioner);
  • Janet Baker (Consultant);
  • Councillor Sir Merrick Cockell (Consultant);
  • Dr Jennifer Dixon (Consultant);
  • Tony Harris (Consultant);
  • Councillor Stephen Houghton (Consultant);
  • Brian Landers (Consultant);
  • Councillor Chris White (Consultant).

The Audit Commission:

  • Chief Executive is Eugene Sullivan and they have a team of Managing Directors comprising,
  • Gareth Davies (Audit Practice),
  • Tracey Dennison (Human Resources),
  • Martin Evans (Audit),
  • Andy McKeon (Health and Comunications) and
  • Peter Wilkinson (Local Government, Housing, Policy Research and Studies).

It is not clear which executives are responsible for this expenditure but clearly the Audit Commission and its officers are not fit for purpose and should be sacked; those who have not abused their position must take responsibility for the actions of those who have – it you’re not part of the solution then you are part of the problem.

But do you know who is really to blame?  You are!  You, we and I are to blame!  You sit back and accept what is happening without question.  You read this blog and tut tut over the failings of the state, the government and it’s representatives, the PM, the MPs and then you switch off the screen and go back to your life until you read the next entry.

Many of you are actively doing something; you are complaining to your MP or writing to the relevant body and demanding answers but far too many are complacent; sitting back wondering what can be done never thinking that all it takes is for YOU to make a stand.  The government is determined to separate the nation into smaller and smaller divisions and then turning one against the other – that way we’re easier to pacify and control.

The only answer is to resist and to demand satisfaction and you have to resist – you, we and I have to take a stand – demand that these people pay for their actions and unite under Lawful Rebellion to defy the diktats that ruin our lives, make us live in fear and comply for a quiet life – stand up and be counted.



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