Monday, April 25, 2011

Living high on the hog

They still don't get it and it's looking increasingly unlikely this side of the revolution that they ever will, because there are no consequences really to their actions. I'm talking about various public bodies spending taxpayers cash like it's an inexhaustible fountain, which I suppose to them it really is as no government in recent memory has actually tackled the bastards and made them accountable to both the government and the public. Take the Audit Commission (please) in any ordinary set of circumstances you'd expect the people there to have a tight rein on what they are spending our cash on, after all it's supposed to be their job to keep an eye on what every other government department is spending our cash on.

Senior figures at the Audit Commission, which polices spending at local authorities, NHS trusts and other government bodies, spent almost £20,000 of public money over the past two years on luxury goods and services.
The body is thought to be the first government organisation to release details of spending on taxpayer-funded credit cards. Thousands of other civil servants also have the cards, which have been used for spending of about £1  billion, leading to warnings of a public funds scandal.
The credit card receipts disclose that Audit Commission executives enjoyed meals costing more than £600 at L’Escargot and Coq d’Argent in London. Hundreds of pounds were also spent at a brasserie owned by Raymond Blanc, the French chef. In total, £11,390 was spent on fine dining in two years.
Executives also made 30 purchases at florists, costing more than £1,300, and also bought goods from HMV and Thorntons, cinema tickets and doughnuts.
The details were released to Eric Ollerenshaw, a Conservative MP, and will be officially disclosed to the House of Commons this week. 
A government insider said that another “MPs’ expenses-style scandal” could emerge if details of credit card expenditure across government were published. Senior mandarins are understood to be privately seeking to block such a release.
The government procurement cards are Visa cards issued by several banks for small office expenditure, including travel. Some Whitehall departments insist that the cards are used for all spending of less than £5,000, which is automatically paid off from public funds.
It really beggars belief at times the profligacy and corruption of taxpayers cash at the top of the public services, if anyone tried that in my company their feet wouldn't even touch the floor as they were kicked out and means set in motion to recoup the money through either civil or criminal courts. Though most expenses wouldn't even be allowed to reach the stage that these troughing pigs have managed, they'd just look at the receipts and say we're not paying that. But in the weird world of the public services such basic safeguards don't seem to have a place in the culture of waste and mismanagement at the top of the tree, though I suspect the junior ranks might just struggle to get a replacement paperclip from the stationary store such would be the paperwork involved.
It will be interesting to see if senior mandarins in the civil service do manage to block the release of credit card expenditure on their Visa government procurement cards after all, they can spend up to £5,000 on them and it's paid off automatically no questions asked, well at least until now, people like Eric Ollerenshaw MP are asking and seem to be trying to get to the bottom of the foetid stink of corruption that emanates from senior civil servants.
Will he succeed? We can hope so. Will heads roll? We can hope so too. What we can be sure of is that the senior mandarins will fight like trapped rats to prevent even a hint of their largesse ever coming to the attention of the public or even MP's if they can help it. It's one of the reasons they have to go, or be strung from the lampposts as and when we get around to them after hanging the MP's and lawyers etc.
It's a long list and it just keeps getting longer and possibly always will at least until they show a lot more respect to the long suffering taxpayer and really start giving value for money.

1 annotations:

JuliaM said...

Over at Tim Worstall's, there's speculation this could be Mr Polly Toynbee...