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All school’s finances under scrutiny

PUBLISHED: 17:48 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:43 24 August 2010

COUNCIL chiefs will scrutinise more school s finances after demanding access to them in the wake of gross financial mismanagement at one. Brent Council will pore through dozens of documents from schools in the borough after finding startling financial wr

COUNCIL chiefs will scrutinise more school's finances after demanding access to them in the wake of gross financial mismanagement at one.

Brent Council will pore through dozens of documents from schools in the borough after finding startling financial wrongdoing at Copland School in Cecil Avenue, Wembley.

Sir Alan Davies, headteacher, Dr Richard Evans, deputy headteacher, Columbus Udokoro, bursar, and Michelle Bishop, human resources manager, were all suspended from their posts earlier this year following a Times exclusive showing Sir Alan received £130,000 in bonuses.

Traditionally foundation schools, such as Copland audit themselves privately, but, all those in Brent now have to hand in their documents to the council at the end of the financial year in March to ensure no similar practices are taking place.

Cllr Bob Wharton, member for children and families, said: "The council asked all schools to make a declaration of what payments they made to teachers and what bonus payments and that was checked against the council pay roll system.

"Most schools use the payroll system run by the council, but some have opted to use other payroll bureaus.

"We found that nobody had paid improper bonuses but to be absolutely sure you would need to do a more detailed audit of those schools who do not use the council payroll system.

"In retrospect we should have at least been doing sample audits beforehand but at the time we would rather have spent the education budget on teachers than on accountants.

"At the next audit we are bringing all the foundation schools back in for audit which will be done by people who know what to look for. The foundation schools have been told we will audit them and I expect that they will cease to use private auditors to save themselves the fee cost.

"If you are an auditor from the private sector you might not be surprised to find bonuses but in the public sector you want to make sure these are in accordance with the teachers' pay regulations."

The full audit of all other schools in the borough will take place in April or May next year.

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