Friday 26th February, 2016
A report in Exaro this week has revealed that local councils in England have admitted to making £11m in duplicate payments in each of the last two financial years.
However, Andrew Rowson, a former PwC auditor said that this was actually a tiny proportion of the duplicate payments out there, with the Department of Communities and Local Government estimating a likely figure of £147m a year across England.
Exaro and Rowson made requests under the Freedom of Information Act to England's 112 largest local authorities for details on duplicate payments; how much had been identified and recovered.
Their responses show a total of £21.85m over the last two financial years.
Richard Bacon a Conservative MP said; "Councils need to take this more seriously. This is not a small amount of money. It would pay for the budget of a primary school in my constituency for the next 280 years."
Many councils do not have sufficient IT structures or processes in place to identify the duplicate payments.
In fact, 40 councils said that they had identified no duplicate payments over the last two years. Given that the Institute for Internal Auditors says that paying a supplier twice amounts to between 0.05 to 0.1% of an organisation's annual spend, this is questionable.