Council errors could cost taxpayers thousands

Taxpayers could lose out on £220,000 from developers according to a report which highlights council errors.

A review into improving Gloucester City Council’s processes has shown the authority has missed the deadline to spend contributions from developments for improvements, BBC News reported.

The report highlights six section 106 legal agreements where the deadline for spending developers’ contributions had passed.

This comes to around £220,000.

These agreements are made between developers and planning authorities when permission is granted for a development to go-ahead.

The funding usually goes towards public services such as schools, libraries, open spaces and children’s play areas.

The annual report of the Chair of the Audit and Governance Committee was discussed by the audit and governance committee on Monday evening.

The report also shows there were three agreements where the council had spent £50,000 more than the developer had committed to provide.

Councillors who claimed to have been “leaned on” for raising concerns about the issue say they have been vindicated.
Councillor Andrew Gravells (C, Abbeydale) said he has been requesting basic information on the figures since 2020.

He told BBC News: “It was then that I handed over the whole issue of section 106 grants to the council’s internal audit team and their report now shows in the papers that there are some massive and serious discrepancies in how these grants have been accounted for.

“The report shows that the accounting was chaotic and will probably cost the council money to correct that.”

The audit and governance committee voted on January 16 to discuss the issue in public but officers initially refused to make the first report public.

At the time, when the BBC’s Local Democracy Reporting Service asked for the report, press officers said the document itself remained exempt despite the the committee resolving to discuss the matter in public.

However, the document was subsequently published on the council’s website several days later.

The reports for July 17’s meeting have been published. They show how the processes within the council have been reviewed and highlight where improvements could be made.

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