A TOWN council has incurred unlawful expenditure of more than £290,000, according to reports issued by the Auditor General for Wales.

The Leader reported on Friday that the council had ‘lost’ over a quarter million pounds, however we can clarify this is not the case.

Significant deficiencies in procurement arrangements were found, with Buckley Town Council not having in place proper arrangements to secure economy, efficiency nor effectiveness in their use of resources.

Buckley Town Council has incurred expenditure totalling £153,898 on two cleaning contracts, and expenditure of £116,064 in the appointment of its town centre manager.

In these instances, the council was found to have failed to comply with its own standing orders. In doing so, the council incurred unlawful expenditure totalling £269,962.

The report makes a number of recommendations to the council, including the review of standing orders to remove any ambiguity, procurement process to ensure compliance and contract terms of reference.

The council has been issued with a qualified audit opinion.

In the Wales Audit Office Report the council notes that this was an act of omission/ administrative oversight rather than a deliberate action and contends it has “in all probability … achieved and secured value for money over the periods of the contracts.”

It adds the council has “already taken some steps to improve its arrangements.”

Speaking to the Leader, a spokesman for Buckley Town Council said: “This report is entitled ‘Inadequacies in Procurement, Government and Financial Management – Buckley Town Council’. Any member of the public may inspect the report and make a copy of it or any part of it between the times of 9am and 1pm Monday to Friday, excluding Bank Holidays. The report is available at the council offices, Mold Road, Buckley CH7 2JB.”