Wiltshire Council defends auditor's report

A council leader has defended the authority after an auditors' report showed some staff had been paid 10 times their normal salary by mistake.

The KPMG report made 50 recommendations for change at Wiltshire Council with 18 considered to be high priorities.

However, council leader Jane Scott said the report referred to a period when five councils and their finance systems were being merged into one.

She said systems had since been put in place to avoid future errors.

Ms Scott, a Conservative, said the council was now "on top of the issues" and KPMG had confirmed that.

Liberal Democrat councillor Jeff Osborne said the report showed some library staff had ended up getting paid more than 10 times their normal salary.

"This was purely due to the way data was entered into the system," he said.

"I'm not saying the staff had walked away with this - the money has been recouped - but it raises questions about the system.

"As far as I know it could be happening elsewhere," he added.

Council's finances

Wiltshire Council was formed in April 2009 when the county council and North Wiltshire, Kennet, Salisbury and West Wiltshire district councils came together to form a unitary authority.

However, Ms Scott said she was "sure" a new computer system, brought in to deal with the council's finances, was now working correctly.

"There were some mistakes made but we are on top of those issues now and KPMG have confirmed this," she said.

"We've put in place a system that will not allow this to happen again.

"Since then I haven't heard of anyone being paid wrongly.

She added: "We have a system in place that would flag up anything that was out-of-line in the payroll system."

The external audit takes place each year at the end of the financial year.

It makes a range of recommendations, for which management actions have been identified.

The report's recommendations relate to a combination of internal controls, processes and IT system issuess.

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