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Tory Cllr Manning Demands More Council Transparency on Right-to-Buy Inquiry

Published on: 9 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 9 Mar, 2021

Cllr Nigel Manning

By Martin Giles

Cllr Nigel Manning, leader of the borough council’s eight-member Conservative group, has issued a demand for more council transparency.

The Ash Vale member wants the document commissioning KPMG to investigate the HRA [Housing Revenue Account], monitoring of Right-to-Buy (RTB) receipts and repayments published.

But last night (March 8), an angry-sounding R4GV Cllr Tim Anderson, lead for Resources, said: “I just wish Cllr Manning had picked up the phone to me and I would have told him the plan of action.

“We couldn’t be moving faster. The working group, including Cllr Manning, met for the first time last week and already we have a report on the issues for circulation tomorrow.”

Cllr Manning, had released a statement worded: “Openness and transparency are required in the external investigation of failures in reporting the Right-to-Buy repayment fiasco.

“It is essential that it is shown, why, where and how this fundamental and longstanding failure in reporting occurred.”

Last month, the R4GV/Lib Dem coalition council said KPMG had been commissioned to write an independent report on HRA monitoring and Cllr Manning wants to know why details have not been made public.

He says that despite: “…specifically asking for sight of the commissioning document and the remit of that investigation, nothing has been provided.

“How can decisions and recommendations be made on how best to ensure precise, open and transparent reporting in the future, if what happened in the past is not fully investigated or understood?

“We urge the current coalition administration on Guildford Borough Council to publish a full copy of the commissioning report with the exact remit of the investigation, without any further delay.”

Cllr Tim Anderson

Cllr Anderson (Clandon & Horsley), said: “We are working flat out to complete the analysis and refine our recommendations so we have done everything possible to avoid future repayments of Right-to-Buy receipts.

“These are very tight deadlines, but the issue is urgent and councillors and officers are committed to delivering on time.”

GBC had described their action plan in a press release. That read: “The second meeting of the Right-to-Buy Reporting Review Executive Working Group will meet this week on Wednesday, March 10.

“The Group will be asked to review the brief drafted for KPMG which will produce an independent report on issues relating to the repayment of £2.7 million of RTB receipts to the government.

“It will also discuss the first draft of the internal council report into the issue and recommended actions to prevent a repeat of these repayments.

“Both documents will be circulated to the Working Group tomorrow, Tuesday, March 9.

“The draft Brief for KPMG covers the following areas:

  • The causes of the repayment to the government;
  • How the causes were reported to relevant committees and whether these were adequate;
  • The impending RTB repayments unless adequate actions are taken; and
  • The reporting procedures going forward.

“This draft will then be amended following the meeting this week and submitted to KPMG.

“Tim Anderson, lead councillor for Resources and chair of the Working Group and Claire Morris, Director for Finance will meet with KPMG this week or next to discuss and refine the brief.

“KPMG will work on their audit during April with a view to providing their report to the Executive in June and the council in July.

“The Working Group will report its analysis and recommendations to the Executive on March 23 and to full council on April 13.”

Later, Cllr Anderson said: “I find the Tory call for openness deeply ironic, given their track record. But there’s nothing like a convert, and I welcome everyone who adopts the R4GV mantra of openness and transparency.”

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test 3 Responses to Tory Cllr Manning Demands More Council Transparency on Right-to-Buy Inquiry

  1. George Potter Reply

    March 9, 2021 at 10:08 am

    “Tory Cllr Manning Demands More Council Transparency”

    What a remarkable change of tack for Guildford Conservatives! Will wonders never cease?

    George Potter is a Lib Dem borough councillor for Burpham

  2. Jim Allen Reply

    March 9, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Pot kettle black!

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    March 10, 2021 at 6:34 am

    It appears Mr Manning has missed the opportunity to develop any sense of irony.

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