Council probe £15m ‘unaccountable’ claim in Milton Keynes contract

Auditors are probing a whistleblower’s claim that £15 million is “currently unaccounted for” in a controversial Milton Keynes regeneration contract.

Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 4:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 5th March 2019, 5:40 pm
MK Council

Your MK, whose motto was ‘Today, Tomorrow, Together’, was set up in 2016, with £1m input from MK Council, to handle the council’s entire regeneration process – starting with consultation with residents.

The partnership was also responsible for the repair and maintenance of all the council homes in MK.

In July, 2018 Your MK was stripped of this work by the council which slammed it as ‘not good enough’ in the way it has handled the city’s multi billion pound regeneration scheme.

MK Council

Now a meeting of MK Council’s Audit Committee is tonight (Tuesday, March 5), has been told by deputy chief executive, Paul Simpson, that the ‘whistleblowing’ letter made a number of claims regarding the financial and contractual arrangements between Your MK and Mears (the council’s housing repairs and maintenance contractor).

He says: “The letter included a statement that “c £15 million is currently unaccounted for.

“Given the potential severity of this statement, the corporate director, resources immediately commissioned the council’s external auditor to undertake a review of the financial and contractual arrangements associated with Your MK and Mears.”

The council’s internal audit team have also completed an audit of the housing repairs contract, which has included testing a sample of transactions referred to in the whistleblowing letter.

The council’s internal and external auditors have shared their preliminary findings with the Audit Committee in secret papers away from the press and public.

Mr Simpson adds: “It is not possible to conclude the review, until the completion of the audit of the council’s year–end accounts (scheduled for June 2019).”

The committee has been recommended to exclude the press and public from tonight’s meeting.