THE council is set to decide what action to take when the findings of an independent review into a councillor’s expenses are released in the coming weeks.

An investigation is underway into Brighton and Hove City councillor Alex Phillips and her husband, the council’s joint finance lead councillor Tom Druitt, amid allegations of irregularities in claims for childcare.

The Argus revealed last month that more than a quarter of money claimed for childcare during council meetings made by Cllr Phillips was for times when meetings had already finished or were yet to start.

This newspaper also revealed that Cllr Phillips made six claims for childcare while in France during the first lockdown - despite Cllr Druitt previously denying that any claims were made while in the country from March to July 2020.

A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said: “Last year, we received requests for information and allegations of an inappropriate expenses claim by one of our councillors.

“A preliminary review of our records suggested that the claims were consistent with our policies relating to councillor expenses.

“In the interests of good governance and to remove any doubts, we have commissioned an independent report to be carried out.

“We expect this report to be completed in the coming weeks and, depending on the findings, we will decide what action, if any, to take.”

The inquiry is being undertaken by the Orbis Internal Audit Service, part of a three-council partnership, and is led by a manager of Surrey County Council.

Cllr Mac Cafferty announced that the review was taking place as he answered questions from members of the public last week.

He said: “There is an independent review into the councillors around expenses. 

“Because that process is independent, I’m not at liberty to talk in any more detail about that, not least because it is going to be handled independently from me.”

A Freedom of Information request by The Argus revealed that Cllr Phillips claimed £607.50 for 14 council meetings held from December 2019 to late January 2021, but £173.85 was claimed for time before and after meetings had taken place.