Those of you who would like to study a textbook example of council incompetence, should read the article in Brighton and Hove News about how Brighton and Hove council managed to end up being owed £3.2M by a company (CCI) that was hired to collect parking fees that went bust.
Several "ironies" are obvious within this clusterfuck:
1 The council did not have insurance! Colour me stupid, but don't councils always bang on to everyone else about needing insurance for absolutely everything?
2 The company was meant to pay money over to the council within 10 days of collection. It didn't, and the debt built up over 3 months. How is it the paid "professionals" in the council didn't see this as a warning sign of trouble?
3 The council renewed the 3 year contract in February 2014, even though there were obvious signs of trouble.
4 The council’s previous cash collections contractor also went bust.
5 CCI was set up by a former Metropolitan Police officer, John Baker, and his wife Doreen, in 1981. He, and his daughter, have now been arrested.
Here is an extract of the full story :
"The company that collected cash from parking machines around Brighton and Hove went bust owing the council £3.2 million.
The loss was not insured and Brighton and Hove City Council is unable to tell what chance it has of recovering the unsecured debt. It is believed to be unlikely to receive more than £25,000.
An audit report to councillors pointed out that at one point Coin Co International (CCI) owed the council more than £4.7 million.
The debt built up over several months even though CCI was contracted to deposit any cash that it collected within ten days.
Officials said that lessons had been learnt but declined to say whether anyone had been held to account over the loss when quizzed by councillors this week.
CCI was paid almost £300,000 a year to collect more than £11 million cash from parking meters and £8 million cash from council offices and schools. The company also handled £21 million in cheques.
It was allowed to hang on to the funds for up to ten days, enabling it to earn interest on top of the fees paid by the council. The money should have been paid into a separate and safe account by CCI but it wasn’t.
Officials briefed the council’s Audit and Standards Committee at Portslade Town Hall on Tuesday (22 September).
For the second time in three months, members of the committee expressed disbelief at the turn of events.
They were told that this was an unusual case yet the council’s previous cash collections contractor – Estate Security Southern – also went bust. The Kent company won the £1 million three-year contract in August 2006......
..In January this year about 90 officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) swooped in a series of co-ordinated raids at six Sussex properties, including CCI’s offices.
The NCA said: “Five people have been arrested as part of a major joint investigation into the supply and importation of counterfeit pound coins worth around £1.2 million.
“On the morning of Tuesday 27 January around 90 officers from the National Crime Agency executed warrants at six locations in the Sussex area.
“They arrested four men and a woman at five different addresses on suspicion of importation, money laundering and offences under the Forgery Act.
“Searches were also carried out at a business premises in the Burgess Hill area.
“Accompanying NCA investigators were officers from the Dutch fraud investigation service FIOD and an expert from the Royal Mint.
“A number of items have been seized and the investigation continues.”
National Crime Agency senior investigating officer Steve McIntyre said: “These arrests and searches were the latest phase of an ongoing international investigation looking into the supply of fake currency from the Netherlands to the UK.
“This investigation follows the closure of a Dutch mint suspected of manufacturing counterfeit coins in November 2013.
“This element of the inquiry is focused on the alleged importation and laundering of coins worth around £1.2 million and we will continue to work closely with our colleagues in the Netherlands and the Royal Mint.”
You couldn't make this up if you tried!
I have no doubt that this sort of bollocks is going on the length and breadth of the country.
Councils are quick to blame central government for funding problems, yet it is quite clear that when it comes to money councils are farking clueless, incompetent and on occasions corrupt!
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