Where money went to waste: Examples of fraud and incompetence from the report by the Public Accounts Committee

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The Independent Online
Welsh Development Agency. Golden handshakes were made without the approval of the Welsh Office; senior staff had their private motoring bills paid by the WDA; directors flew on Concorde; the agency ignored recruitment procedures and hired as marketing director a man with convictions for deception.

West Midlands Regional Health Authority. The authority and NHS management executive agreed that the director of regionally managed services of West Midlands should be dismissed. Instead, he was made redundant and picked up a lump sum of pounds 81,000 and a pension. The RHA wasted pounds 10m that could have been spent on sick people.

Wessex Regional Health Authority. Wessex squandered pounds 20m on an information system and there were serious conflicts of interest between the RHA and the consultants who recommended the system.

Forward Civil Service Catering. Records and receipts went missing; staff were paid in cash; controls broke down.

New Town Development Corporations. Some 800 staff of Milton Keynes, Warrington, Telford and Runcorn development corporations were encouraged to form private companies which obtained corporation work; contracts worth pounds 37m were not advertised sufficiently.

Department of Employment. Doubtful and incorrect payments totalling pounds 69.5m were made to the Training and Enterprise Councils; the Field System computer for the TECs cost pounds 48m, was not assessed properly and proved to be a waste of money; pounds 11m was spent on consultants hired in a haphazard manner.

Department of Social Security. Despite a budget of pounds 60bn, the DSS had just nine qualified accountants.

Property Services Agency. The PSA was to operate on a fully commercial basis and invoice departments but, because of a breakdown in financial systems, had to find pounds 65.6m from its own budget; impropriety flourished undetected.

Foreign Office. New computer system did not work properly; climate was conducive to fraud and theft; department turned over book-keeping staff when major changes were taking place.

National Rivers Authority. Mismanaged relocation of headquarters; Department of Environment unaware of repeated failures in financial controls.

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