Scathing report on council boss

Further details of the scathing report which led to the departure of Waveney District Council's chief executive have begun to emerge.

Further details of the scathing report which led to the departure of Waveney District Council's chief executive have begun to emerge.

The full content of the

Audit Commission's annual governance report is yet to be made public, but the council admitted it shows accounting failings, with information lacking on a number of balances relating to assets and housing systems.

An assessment of the use of authority resources also criticises inadequate arrangements for budget setting and spending across all departments.

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The report was regarded as the "tipping point" which forced Glen Garrod to leave his post last Wednesday, when he admitted he did not have the skills to improve the council's fortunes after a series of poor ratings from the government's auditors.

Waveney was rated as a "weak" council in 2004 and received a further blow this September when its planning department was given a zero-star rating, with poor prospects for improvement.

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Mark Bee, leader of the Conservative administration, said: "In light of previous reports, it is clear that we have reached a point where decisive action needed to be taken.

"A clear improvement programme is in place and

I am delighted that the

Audit Commission has acknowledged that, since April 2007, a considerable amount of work has already

been undertaken and this will reflect well on preparations for next year's assessments."

Mr Bee said the council was determined to press on with its improvement programme, with all key financial systems already under review and a comprehensive database for all council-owned land and property to be completed by March 2008.

"A good deal of work has been undertaken by the asset management team over the past year," he said.

The Audit Commission's report, which provides an overview of the authority's accounts for 2006-07, is due to be discussed at Waveney's full council meeting next Thursday.

Meanwhile, opposition leaders within the council reacted to Mr Garrod's departure. Labour group leader Sally Spore said: "The report is clearly linked to the chief executive leaving and it makes me even surer of the comments I made last week that we are not moving forward as quickly as we should be. We do need help.

"Glen Garrod has taken the required action, but when is responsibility going to be taken by the executive?"

David Young, leader of the Lib Dem group, said: "This leaves a huge gap at the top of the council and we have got to make sure this is filled as

soon as possible so we can carry on along the path of improvement."

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