Last year we had the shock horror stories about alleged local government misuse of procurement cards – dubbed by the less informed media as credit cards. Now it is central government’s turn with the publication of a National Audit Office audit on spending.
Quite rightly, the NAO pick up on the need for firm controls and audit trails to be in place. As many readers know, they weren’t designed to be a perk, but a way of picking up low value / routine transactions. If implemented properly, they save both time and sometimes money too.
However, we do need to get a good story going. ‘Lavish spending still not under control’ announces the Daily Mail. Similarly, The Guardian comes in with ‘Civil Servants accused of credit card abuse’. Great story, now we need some suitable comments by a selection of ill informed politicians; there are plenty to choose from in all sides of the House. Even Government Ministers are prone to mixing up tax evasion and tax avoidance as if they are both crimes.
Conclusion – central government needs to tighten up its financial controls. No news there then. Procurement cards need more supervision. Agreed! Now please move on.