'IT system to blame' for stores audit mismatch at Doncaster Council depot

Problems with a new IT system have been blamed for unaccounted stock at Doncaster Council’s main depot.

By George Torr
Wednesday, 24 July, 2019, 17:13
North Bridge depot

Councillors on the audit committee were told a ‘number of weaknesses’ have been found as part of the stores audit at the council's North Bridge depot.

Reports show ‘limited stock takes' were carried out since the implementation of new software in November 2017 and a full stock take wasn’t carried out until December 2018.

The findings revealed that there was up to a ‘35 per cent’ variances in certain items in terms of losses or gains.

Peter Jackson, Doncaster Council’s head of internal audit, said the results spark concern over ‘the timely identification of any possible losses through fraud or error’.

North Bridge bosses said they were confident they could carry out the recommendations to get back on track and that the discrepancies should decrease as the ‘identified process improvements are rolled out’.

The report said written procedures covering the inventory management system were drafted as a support by the financial systems development officer during the system implementation and handed over to the stores manager to review/finalise.

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But documents seen by councillors show these have ‘not been reviewed by stores staff’ to ensure that they work on the ground. Nor have additional procedures been written to ‘document the stores only processes that are in operation’ around the system.

Dave Wilkinson, assistant director of trading and support services, said: “These are problems with the IT management system – I don’t want to make excuses but North Bridge Stores historically have performed reasonably through previous audits.

“We’re confident of pulling things round and we’ve taken huge steps already.

“If system can’t do what we want the system to do then we have to adjust our days and plans accordingly.

“The stock take has been completed several months ago but the system issues to support the day to day running of the stores service which are still finding glitches and complications when we’re trying to satisfy all demands outlined.

“We’ve working closely with IT and it was only a few weeks ago they were working down here with the team installing new processes.”