Who dares to say nobody wins
Auditing is not all boring bookwork, says Roger Trapp. There's a Lotter y at stake Only when a fax confirms cut-off can the draw start
Wednesday 08 February 1995
Although he dutifully noted down numbers of the winning balls, his main role was todecide whether the event should be called off if something like a power cut interfered. While such a decision would only be made in consultation with Lottery operator Camelot and the regulator Oflot, the prospect of enraging the nation is considered such a momentous responsibility that the firm has only lined up partners for television appearances.
But with the BBC still taking the show around the regions, several PW partners have now enjoyed their 15 minutes of exposure, if not fame.
Richard Sykes, the firm's audit partner for Camelot, said the firm was covering the different locations from eight offices, including London. However, some, such as last week's draw from the Cornish coast, pose more logistical problems than others.
Because the castle chosen was difficult to get to, the Bristol partner chosen for the show had a back-up in the city to make the trip in the event of a car breakdown or other mishap along the way. Mr Sykes himself was also on standby in London in case the BBC called off the outside broadcast and beamed the draw from its studios.
The serious nature with which this aspect is regarded is demonstrated by the lengthy preparations Mr Sykes and his team went through before the first screening last November.
Having been put through their paces at Camelot's training centre at St Albans, Hertfordshire, they and the presenters were put out among the people in the Ealing Broadway shopping centre in west London before spending the Friday and Saturday of the draw at the BBC studios.
Then Mr Sykes had to appear for the second week's broadcast from the Rhondda Valley because the producers wanted the same group of people to do the first outdoor location.
But the television appearance is only one of three main duties carried out by the PW team on the night.
The first, and according to Mr Sykes arguably the most critical, is conducted at the Camelot data centre at Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire.
It involves making sure everything is shut down and secured following the cut-off for ticket sales at 7.30pm. Only when a fax to the BBC confirms this cut-off can the draw start.
It is so important because "the easiest way to defraud the Lottery is, once you know the winning numbers, to choose them," explains Mr Sykes.
But the job of the PW representative at the data centre does not end with the fax. He or she stays all night to help Camelot with the work that enables it to pay out the next morning.
The final duty is to make sure the draw machine and balls comply with the rules. There are several sets of balls and all have to be checked by Weights and Measures officials to ensure they weigh the same.
To prevent tampering between the weighing and the draw, the balls are kept in cases secured with combinations locks that can only be opened in the presence of the PW partner. This person also has to be there when the machines are opened.
It is hardly a conventional audit. For a start, it comes with a heavy price - there are severe restrictions on Mr Sykes and his team, and their families, participating in the event.
Moreover, there is little glory. Though they have been seen going about their work by loved ones, they are rarely named, and the BBC has even stopped naming the firm.
But, according to Mr Sykes, the security work goes "hand in hand" with the audit and tax advice that PW secured after its role in assisting Camelot's victory in the bid for the Lottery.
Although it has some experience of working with lotteries in the US states of Indiana and Georgia, as well as South Africa, the firm likes to think that its overall reputation won it the role.
After all, it is not a total stranger to stage and screen. It is also in charge of checking votes for the Oscars.
Simon Read: Frozen in time - the expat British pensioners who deserve a better deal
Donald MacInnes: My wasted hours in the retail deserts of Dixons-Carphone
Bargain Hunter: From The Outsider to 1984, catch a cut-price classic, read it in the rye
Money Insider: Smart alternatives to the pensioner bond
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 This crazy skiing video will leave you feeling queasy
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
iJobs Money & Business
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Tax Assistant is required to join a leading ...
Day In a Page
Hibernate during winter and make your living during the summer at this busy guesthouse with panoramic sea views, in the village of Lynton
A four-bedroom penthouse next to the Tate with direct views of St Paul's from two floors of luxurious living space
A four-bedroom detached home surrounded by spacious gardens and woodland, close to New Pudsey
An 18th-century, three-bedroom home near Langstone Harbour built from ships beams with vaulted ceilings and wood burning stoves
A five-bedroom semi-detached home with a mix of period and modern features in a popular and convenient location
This five-bedroom red-brick beauty overlooks the village green and sits in just under two acres of land
A three-bedroom villa with self-contained flat, minutes from Lake Windermere
A deceptively spacious, beautifully presented Georgian home with 3000sq ft of living space and five reception rooms
A five-bedroom Victorian home with four receptions, superb gardens and paddock in Pembury
An eight-bedroom house on the south side of the The Green with cinema, wine cellars and summer house
This 17th century beauty is full of rustic cosiness, while the detached home office means you can also run a business
Four exclusive apartments in a Grade II-listed former medical school with 2,275 sq ft of living space and 18ft ceilings
A five-bedroom terraced house on the popular Peterborough Estate, ideally located for both Eel Brook Common and South Park
A state-of-the-art farm-building conversion on the former Cliveden Estate, with 11,420sq ft of internal space, cinema and wine cellar
A three-bedroom, 15th-century cottage with original features in the picturesque village of Sissinghurst
A six-bedroom terraced house with large south-facing roof terrace, cinema room and wine cellar
A new seven-bedroom home built in Queen Anne-style with swimming pool and parkland views in Mortimer
A listed, four-bedroom farmhouse in the rural hamlet of Rushall with detached barn, four acres of gardens and paddocks
A first-floor flat with two bedrooms, a spacious reception room and communal grounds in a leafy part of London
A three-bedroom flat with a spacious rootop terrace and balcony, accessed from a private gated courtyard
A Grade II-listed pile with six bedrooms, stables and 39 acres of grounds in Standlake
A two-bedroom flat with boutique hotel-style interiors, close to the foodie haunt of West End Lane
A two-bedroom flat in a beautiful old vicarage, with many original features, close to the city centre
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village