Audit Commission expenses volte-face

THOUSANDS OF POUNDS of Audit Commission chiefs’ expenses went unpublished due to a policy that only allowed for out-of-pocket expenditure such as coffee to be made public.

A Freedom of Information request by Accountancy Age revealed that almost £20,000 was spent on travel and subsistence by the chief executive, chairman and head of audit between October 2009 and March 2010, yet just £2,350 was published on the body’s expenses page.

The public auditors have now decided to change the system, saying that, following a recent review, “the commission’s management team agreed that the ‘hospitality and expenses‘ pages will now include all centrally purchased travel and accommodation costs”.

Cabinet Office guidance for civil servants’ outgoings said published expenses “should include all expenditure incurred under each category irrespective of method of payment”.

The Audit Commission was earmarked for closure in August 2010 after the minister for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles, accused them of wasteful spending.

Related reading