Missed email could have prevented £3m deposit
It says that had the email been picked up, the deposit may not have been made. However, the auditors highlight that at a meeting between council officials and Butlers just two days earlier, the firm made no mention about the state of the Icelandic banks.
An 11-page report by auditors PriceWaterhouseCoopers broadly clears KCC of major mistakes over its decision to invest millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money in Iceland. It says that at the time other transactions were made, the decisions were consistent with Butlers’ advice.
However, the report suggests that in other cases, the council failed to keep detailed records of transactions and there was no consistent evidence they were regularly reviewed.
The report recommends that KCC ensures information about banks is sent to more than one official, a step that has now been taken. It also recommends the council considers whether it has adequate safeguards to ensure it is not taking risks with public money in seeking a high rate of return from investments.
Cllr Nick Chard (Con) KCC’s cabinet member for finance, said: “The email went to one individual when it should have gone to more than one. We are making sure that it does not happen again.
“Events have shown that we cannot have the same level of faith in ratings agencies and therefore we cannot have the same level of faith in Butlers. The world has changed.”
Opposition parties said the report had showed KCC was too casual about its arrangements for investments but stopped short of repeating an earlier call for resignations.
Cllr Roger Truelove (Lab) said: “KCC has been over-confident and has had a warning. There are a series of recommendations they must take note of.”
Cabinet member for finance Cllr Nick Chard