Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more


  • Comment
A public interest report by the controller of audit, Robert Black, confirms the main factors which led to the£4.66...
A public interest report by the controller of audit, Robert Black, confirms the main factors which led to the£4.66m deficit at North Lanarkshire Council's buildings and roads direct labour organisation (DLO). The report establishes why the deficit was not identified earlier by the council and draws out lessons for the future for North Lanarkshire Council in particular and for local government as a whole.

The controller of audit did not set out to attribute responsibility to individuals, but he does draw conclusions about failings by accountable managers, at a senior level. Mr Black reports that councillors were not well served by officers of the council but he goes on to say that in future councillors should take a greater role, through committees, in monitoring the performance of direct labour organisation.

Mr Black confirms that a significant number of failures undoubtedly occurred, but he says they must be viewed in the context of the disruptive effects of local government re-organisation. Nine factors which are likely to have contributed to the deficit are identified. These are: bonus and overtime payments; home to work travel allowances; overhead recovery; transport, subcontractor and material costs; working practices and workflow. The main reasons for failing to identify the deficit earlier are confirmed as:

- misleading or wholly inadequate financial monitoring reports produced by the DLO

- insufficient financial expertise within the DLO

- failure within the council's central finance department to scrutinise closely the financial monitoring reports produced by the DLO

In his concluding remarks the controller of audit highlights certain striking features which he believes should be addressed by the council. These include: contracting arrangements; the need for improved communications; the decentralised management approach; and the need for a performance management system for staff.

The report has been sent to North Lanarkshire council, individuals referred to in the report, the Accounts Commission and the secretary of state and local MPs. The report is also being made available to other local authorities and to the wider public.

The report will now be considered by the Accounts Commission which hopes to report its findings early in the new year. Because of the need to follow due process it is not appropriate for the controller of audit or the commission to make any comment at this stage.

The report is 33 pages long and is available on the Accounts Commission web site: or, you can ask for a copy to be sent to you by e-mail by mailing:

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.