Professional Standards – Spofforths: new claims

Spofforths, the firm disciplined by the English ICA in August 1998 for failing to report property service charges properly, has been accused of continuing to commit similar irregularities.

In a letter last week to corporate affairs minister Ian McCartney, a representative for the leaseholders in dispute with Spofforths, Nigel Wilkins included evidence to support his allegation that further anomalies were showing up in Spofforths’ service charge certification work.

Wilkins instigated the complaint that led to a reprimand and #1,500 fine (plus #1,500 costs) for the firm whose managing partner, Mark Spofforth, is a member of the institute council and its executive committee.

A statement of service charges for a period ending 31 December 1998, seen by Accountancy Age, was signed and dated by Spofforths on 27 November 1998 – three months after the institute verdict. This practice was one of the grounds cited in the consent order issued when the institute’s investigations committee reprimanded the firm in August last year.

Wilkins complained to the minister about the ‘complacency’ of both the institute and the Department of Trade and Industry.

‘The fine imposed by the English ICA has proved no disincentive at all to Spofforths,’ said Wilkins.

Andrew Dunlop, a partner at Spofforths’ Chichester office, said: ‘I don’t think it would be appropriate to comment on these matters.’

The institute’s professional standards office confirmed it had corresponded with Wilkins, but said it was satisfied there were no grounds for an investigation of his latest complaint.

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