Council clerk sacked after VAT blunder

Seaford Town Council

Seaford Town Council

First published in News
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THE clerk at the centre of a long-running drama at a town council has been sacked over a VAT blunder, sources have claimed.

Sam Shippen has been dismissed from her post as Town Clerk at Seaford Town Council following claims of bullying, in-fighting and incompetence.

An inquiry was launched in January after Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, listed 10 points of concern about the council.

They included “inappropriate delegations” handled by Mrs Shippen, “huge delays” in dealing with “relatively simple” administrative matters, an “almost endemic failure to answer letters” and infighting in the controlling Tory group that was “costing the town dear” by causing by-elections following resignations.

Mrs Shippen stepped down from her role in July during an internal investigation and has now been dismissed during her notice period because of gross misconduct.

A town hall source said the main reason was because the council missed out on the opportunity to claim back VAT worth £340,000 on building work at Seaford Head Golf Course.

The failure to claim back the money was down to an apparent administrative error.

The council has now asked the HMRC to still reimburse the cash.

Mr Baker, who earlier this year described the council as “dysfunctional”, welcomed Mrs Shippen’s departure.

The Lib Dem MP said: “I am pleased the town council is now getting back on an even keel though there are legacy problems to sort out, not least the huge VAT bill for the golf course that, if it cannot be renegotiated, implies a further huge tax hike for my constituents in Seaford.

“The good news is that a majority of councillors, irrespective of party, have been working together to remedy matters, and the mayor, Mark Brown, deserves credit for how he has approached matters, as do my Lib Dem colleagues Stephen Gauntlett and Sarah McStravick.”

Sam Shippen was unavailable for comment.

Comments (7)

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7:12am Wed 3 Sep 14

rogerthefish says...

So forgot to claim VAT back, would anybody in private sector forget to no!

Another incompetent.
So forgot to claim VAT back, would anybody in private sector forget to no! Another incompetent. rogerthefish
  • Score: 15

8:28am Wed 3 Sep 14

LB says...

"would anybody in private sector forget to no!"

It happens all the time.

They just have a vested interest in keeping it quiet so someone's paid off and signs a non-disclosure agreement.
"would anybody in private sector forget to no!" It happens all the time. They just have a vested interest in keeping it quiet so someone's paid off and signs a non-disclosure agreement. LB
  • Score: 10

8:32am Wed 3 Sep 14

hursthill says...

Vince Cable failed to pay £25,000 VAT on his private earnings.
Now this Lib Dem is the Business Secretary.
Vince Cable failed to pay £25,000 VAT on his private earnings. Now this Lib Dem is the Business Secretary. hursthill
  • Score: 11

9:10am Wed 3 Sep 14

Fight_Back says...

An utter shambles BUT

if I fail to claim a council tax reduction or indeed income tax refund in time I don't get it but somehow a council thinks they are a special case ?
An utter shambles BUT if I fail to claim a council tax reduction or indeed income tax refund in time I don't get it but somehow a council thinks they are a special case ? Fight_Back
  • Score: 6

12:29pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Thay Qon U says...

If this report is true, then there is something 'fishy' about this latest claim, as Seaford Town Council & Sam Shippen issued a joint, public statement in July announcing that she was resigning.

"Sacked" whilst serving her notice/garden leave after the previously publicised political turmoil at Seaford TC makes me wonder if she has been 'shafted' in her absence.
If this report is true, then there is something 'fishy' about this latest claim, as Seaford Town Council & Sam Shippen issued a joint, public statement in July announcing that she was resigning. "Sacked" whilst serving her notice/garden leave after the previously publicised political turmoil at Seaford TC makes me wonder if she has been 'shafted' in her absence. Thay Qon U
  • Score: -4

5:18pm Wed 3 Sep 14

Goldenwight says...

Thay Qon U wrote:
If this report is true, then there is something 'fishy' about this latest claim, as Seaford Town Council & Sam Shippen issued a joint, public statement in July announcing that she was resigning. "Sacked" whilst serving her notice/garden leave after the previously publicised political turmoil at Seaford TC makes me wonder if she has been 'shafted' in her absence.
"Mrs Shippen stepped down from her role in July during an internal investigation and has now been dismissed during her notice period because of gross misconduct. "
[quote][p][bold]Thay Qon U[/bold] wrote: If this report is true, then there is something 'fishy' about this latest claim, as Seaford Town Council & Sam Shippen issued a joint, public statement in July announcing that she was resigning. "Sacked" whilst serving her notice/garden leave after the previously publicised political turmoil at Seaford TC makes me wonder if she has been 'shafted' in her absence.[/p][/quote]"Mrs Shippen stepped down from her role in July during an internal investigation and has now been dismissed during her notice period because of gross misconduct. " Goldenwight
  • Score: -7

9:01pm Wed 3 Sep 14

well i never says...

strange, at least one councillor has a good working knowledge of VAT, after all he was convicted only a couple of years ago for failing to pay his. How ever for a town clerk to be dismissed for gross misconduct over a simple mistake like not realising new building works are by and large zero rated (not all aspects of new building work is zero rated.) seems like it being a convinient peg to hang a coat on. Town clerk are not usualy tax experts.
Now the town clerk has gone maybe the rest would like to do the honourable thing and resign enmasse and let the residents elect a new council.
strange, at least one councillor has a good working knowledge of VAT, after all he was convicted only a couple of years ago for failing to pay his. How ever for a town clerk to be dismissed for gross misconduct over a simple mistake like not realising new building works are by and large zero rated (not all aspects of new building work is zero rated.) seems like it being a convinient peg to hang a coat on. Town clerk are not usualy tax experts. Now the town clerk has gone maybe the rest would like to do the honourable thing and resign enmasse and let the residents elect a new council. well i never
  • Score: 1

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