The Gaming Board, the Home Office body responsible for regulating the gaming industry, has been told it needs more accountants in a report which also reveals that the body failed to collect up to #1.3m towards its costs.
Efforts to recruit extra staff with a wider range of skills have been hampered by the Board’s inability to offer the high salaries required to compete with private firms.
The costs generated by the Board are supposed to be recovered in their entirety from the gaming industry, but the report by the National Audit Office found that a shortfall of more than #1m had been overlooked – a fact that has attracted heavy criticism from MPs on the powerful Commons Public Accounts Committee.
David Davis, chairman of the committee, described the collection failure as a ‘cost to the taxpayer’ and said it was ‘unacceptable’.
He added that the Board should not continue to rely on the recruitment of former police officers to fill vacancies for inspectors if it wanted to maintain its effectiveness. Davis said: ‘The Board’s staff mix now seems outmoded. In particular, it is too reliant on retired former police officers.
‘There is a clear need for a wider set of skills if it is to operate effectively in the 21st century. The Board must recruit more people with a background in information technology and accountancy.’
Further recommendations the NAO has made to the Board include a suggestion that it improves risk assessment procedures and develops a timetable with the Home Office for recovering its fees deficit.
Sir John Bourn, head of the NAO, said he believed the Board could become more efficient and reduce the number of inspections it carries out.
He said: ‘The Gaming Board has taken steps in recent years to improve the way it regulates the gaming industry but could achieve still more with a lighter regulatory touch.’
NAO report on Gaming Board
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