Relocation Controversy Hounding W Dorset Council Under KPMG’s Scanner

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
July 05, 2011 /

Three local electors have challenged West Dorset District Council’s process of moving its office in Charles Street, citing the findings of auditors from KPMG.

KPMG will investigate the claims of local electors who questioned the money presented by West Dorset District Council, which recently relocated.

While looking into the claims, KPMG is reportedly likely to receive clean-chit from the US Securities and Exchange Commission over questions of its independence in auditing Wipro accounts. In 2010, it was found that a junior-level employee of the company had embezzled its funds.

The office will nest the Dorchester Library and Adult Learning Centre.

The accounting firm refused to disclose the identity of the three West Dorset locals but Dorchester district and county councillor Trevor Jones has revealed he is one of the claimants.

In a statement Jones said: “I’m challenging the justification for the district council and county council for spending something like £15million combined on a new building which will save the taxpayer precisely nothing.

“The decisions taken by the two authorities seem to be completely unjustified and the procedures followed very questionable indeed.

“These are properly matters to be reported to the auditors and they are now reviewing matters.”

The claims will be investigated as they have been deemed valid according to KPMG’s Claire Hollick in a presentation to West Dorset District Council’s audit and governance committee.

“We have contacted all three objectors who have made valid objections and told them we have accepted their challenges,” She said.

Hollick added the outcome could be released by September this year.

“They are partly about whether councillors were given appropriate information, the decision making process and also whether the process itself was appropriate,” she said.

The three residents raised concerns over WDDC’s failure to consider an offer to relocate to Poundbury, the close ties between the district council and the developer, the lack of consultation and whether the new office project should have been reviewed in light of the joint working partnership with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

KPMG’s report is expected to give its report to the council’s audit committee, which will publicize faults should there be any after the investigation, in which case the accounting firm will send a report to the Audit Commission.


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