Council uses Excel to track £2.7 billion of council assets

Yep, £2.7000,000,000

Or two point seven billion pounds.

Or around three years income for Tower Hamlets Council.

Only recorded on an Excel spreadsheet.

Would you trust these idiots to toast a slice of bread? No.

All borough residents should be grateful that we have councillors like Andrew Wood (Independent, Canary Wharf) to keep an eye on things as it is blatantly apparent that Tower Hamlets council is a Croydon waiting to happen.

Or a Titanic waiting to hit an iceberg.

If anybody from Tower Hamlets, like the Mayor or the CEO, tells you that the council is properly run ask them if that is true how is it that the only record of £2.7000,000,000 of council assets is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet?

Then ask them how it is in any way possible for this level of gross incompetence be allowed to happen?

And what would happen if the Excel spreadsheet was lost or destroyed?

The lack of a robust fail-safe system to record assets is just mind boggling.

You can read the full Twitter thread by Andrew Wood below. We are going to lay down in a dark room and wonder what other potential catastrophes are lurking in Mulberry Place?

This is all very, very serious stuff.

As Andrew says in his tweet ‘If it cannot manage itself effectively then how can it manage its other responsibilities?’

Limited assurance = well dodgy

Last week at the Audit C’tee the Head of Internal Audit at TH Council said “it is my opinion that I can provide Limited
assurance that the authority has adequate systems of governance, risk management and internal control”
This follows major problems with our financial

accounts, we have still not closed the 2018/19 & 2019/20 accounts due to a range of issues found with them
“as well as the breaches of law in relation to Pensions Administration”
But the most shocking (for me) was the new fact revealed that our circa £2.7 billion of assets

are only recorded in an Excel spreadsheet & not a dedicated system (my jaw dropped when I saw that)
We appointed new auditors for the 2018/19 accounts & they found a range of problems which also affected 2019/20 as well
The Council has brought in a number of excellent senior

finance temps to sort out (we now have 4 snr accountants (also for this year & to replace the previous Corporate Director who left recently)
But clear from them + an independent review that major problems with our accounts, processes, systems, culture
Sorting these issues out

is another major distraction for the Council
Also takes resources from front line
But this is why every year I ask to Chair the Audit C’tee as such a critical C’tee that has not been pro-active enough (noticeable that Labour have moved more capable Cllrs onto Audit C’tee)

But in same meeting Council the Head of Internal Audit also found that our Corporate Governance had limited assurance as well with a range of issues found
The Council is not as well run as they would like to think they are
And often problems only found when new people arrive

e.g. new pensions staff found major errors or new auditors check the numbers
Also suggests that system of Audit & Overview & Scrutiny C’tee not working effectively (will comment later on Croydon similarities/differences)
Backup here, see items 4.1 – 4.4

This is all boring but critical stuff about the capacity and competence of Tower Hamlets Council
If it cannot manage itself effectively then how can it manage its other responsibilities?
@EastEndEnquirer @ELAdvertiser @RachaelBurford

Originally tweeted by Andrew Wood (@Andrewwood17) on February 3, 2021.

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