Brighton City Council apologizes after failing to release spending

The council has apologized after failing to release details of spending for the last financial year.

Despite legislation requiring councils to publish information on councilors’ entitlements “as soon as practicable after the end of a year to which the scheme relates”, Brighton and Hove City Council has had to release the figures for 2021/2022 still upload – almost half a year after the end of the financial year.

After being contacted by The Argus, the Council has since released the information.

A spokesman for the council said: “We apologize for the delay in uploading the council’s spending to the website.

“This is due to staffing issues and also verifying that the information is accurate and up to date.”

In the year to April 2022, councilors claimed a total of £302.50 in childcare costs, of which £171 was for travel and subsistence expenses.

It comes a year after the council apologized for not uploading several years’ spending updates to its website.

After its publication, an investigation by The Argus found that Green Councilor Alex Phillips had called in childcare for periods when sessions had ended or were about to begin.

This prompted the council to launch an independent inquiry which found overpayments of up to £480, with a report noting that claims were not always submitted on time and that over reliance was placed on trust rather than documentary evidence.

Of 74 child care requests made between October 2019 and March 2021, Cllr Phillips found that 55 of those were overclaimed.

Cllr Phillips paid back £490 to the council and said at the time of the report’s publication: “I would like to apologize for the small number of claims I have made which were inconsistent with the Council’s spending policy.

“I have already repaid those claims, which I did when I first became aware of allegations that I had been overpaid.

“I participated in this independent investigation and fully accept its findings.

“It was never my intention to make claims that were inconsistent with Council policies and procedures.”

The council pledged to review its systems to ensure improvements are made after the review concluded that procedures related to the correct, timely and more thorough submission of expense reports should be tightened. Brighton City Council apologizes after failing to release spending

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