Council's audit boss under investigation

The Argus: Kings House, Brighton and Hove City Council's headquarters Kings House, Brighton and Hove City Council's headquarters

A council boss responsible for keeping thousands of staff in check has been suspended for alleged misconduct.

Ian Withers has been head of audit and business risk at Brighton and Hove City Council since December 2002.

But The Argus understands the man who is paid to follow up claims of fraud and wrong-doing within the local authority is under investigation.

Sources claim the issue is focused on misleading elected officials in public reports on sensitive matters.

In a statement, a council spokeswoman said: “We can’t comment on individual employee issues.”

But a town hall insider said: “As head of audit any claims like this are very serious.

“It doesn’t say much about the authority when these allegations are made against someone in that position.”

Mr Withers, who has been employed by the local authority since 1997, is not listed on the council’s list of top earners.

However it is understood he receives more than £50,000 a year.

There is no mention of Mr Withers in the council’s official minutes for the last audit committee in September.

One worker said he had “disappeared” and not been seen in town hall offices for “a couple of months”.

According to Mr Withers’ account on social media website LinkedIn, he is a “successful Head of Internal Audit with a demonstrable track record of leading high quality and effective audit services with a reputation for excellence and contributing to effective governance and business change”.

The profile adds he is responsible for internal audit, risk management and corporate counter fraud.

In an official report on the 2012/13 financial year, Mr Withers said his team had received and investigated 164 fraud referrals of suspected fraud and irregularities. Among the closed cases included an employee dismissed for housing benefit fraud who was then successfully prosecuted in the courts.

It also includes one member of staff dismissed for theft and two who resigned while under investigation.

The team also recovered 111 concessionary bus fares which were potentially in use after their owner had died.

Comments (8)

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9:15am Mon 9 Dec 13

s&k says...

To get sacked from the Council it must be serious!! Let's have a real expose into financial dealings, expenses, consultants in our public sectors.
To get sacked from the Council it must be serious!! Let's have a real expose into financial dealings, expenses, consultants in our public sectors. s&k

10:35am Mon 9 Dec 13

PorkBoat says...

AlanPare wrote:
I've heard that the head of Housing is also suspended for alleged misconduct. What is going on at the Town Hall?
The thick plottens.
[quote][p][bold]AlanPare[/bold] wrote: I've heard that the head of Housing is also suspended for alleged misconduct. What is going on at the Town Hall?[/p][/quote]The thick plottens. PorkBoat

11:33am Mon 9 Dec 13

Quiterie says...

I also understand that Jason Kitcat is under investigation for impersonating a Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council.
I also understand that Jason Kitcat is under investigation for impersonating a Leader of Brighton & Hove City Council. Quiterie

11:50am Mon 9 Dec 13

ThinkBrighton says...

The company I work for (Brighton based) tried to do business with the council
but was given the runaround, we found out that the "responsible" person was good friends with the current supplier
The company I work for (Brighton based) tried to do business with the council but was given the runaround, we found out that the "responsible" person was good friends with the current supplier ThinkBrighton

1:21pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Terry K says...

I appllied for a job with a neighbouring authority, fitted the bill perfectly, experienced, qualified and everything, didnt even make interview stage, heard the job went internally, its not what you know most of the time.
I appllied for a job with a neighbouring authority, fitted the bill perfectly, experienced, qualified and everything, didnt even make interview stage, heard the job went internally, its not what you know most of the time. Terry K

2:04pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Andy R says...

Some really profound stuff there from the "council insider". If they're on the Argus payroll I'd suggest you're not really getting value for money.

Although they do appear to be undermining a fairly fundamental principle of natural justice.......
Some really profound stuff there from the "council insider". If they're on the Argus payroll I'd suggest you're not really getting value for money. Although they do appear to be undermining a fairly fundamental principle of natural justice....... Andy R

6:07pm Mon 9 Dec 13

PorkBoat says...

Terry K wrote:
I appllied for a job with a neighbouring authority, fitted the bill perfectly, experienced, qualified and everything, didnt even make interview stage, heard the job went internally, its not what you know most of the time.
It's not even who you know. It's what you know about who you know, don't you know. You know.
[quote][p][bold]Terry K[/bold] wrote: I appllied for a job with a neighbouring authority, fitted the bill perfectly, experienced, qualified and everything, didnt even make interview stage, heard the job went internally, its not what you know most of the time.[/p][/quote]It's not even who you know. It's what you know about who you know, don't you know. You know. PorkBoat

12:49pm Tue 10 Dec 13

MikeJ JJ says...

The fraud investigations team are corrupt with a complete lack of integrity. The sooner they get rid of them the better, bunch of morons.
The fraud investigations team are corrupt with a complete lack of integrity. The sooner they get rid of them the better, bunch of morons. MikeJ JJ

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