Labour-run Haringey Council has been criticised after a £30m bill backlog was revealed. The cash had been due to be paid to businesses and suppliers of the council but payments were delayed after a new IT payment system was introduced in December 2014.
The Labour-run council failed to adequately train staff on the new payments system according to a report discussed at the council’s Corporate Committee on Thursday evening (26th November) at the Civic Centre in Wood Green.
The issue was disclosed in an auditor’s report which stated: ‘The implementation (of the new payment system) had some teething issues caused by insufficient training of all staff, the email system to inform managers to approve purchase orders was not set up properly and outdated hardcopy invoices were scanned onto the system all of which did not require payment.’
Haringey Liberal Democrats have criticised the Labour-run council for the failure to pay their bills promptly. Lib Dem Councillor Clive Carter, attended the Corporate Committee meeting and raised concerns that some small local businesses were likely to have been badly affected by the late payments.
Cllr Carter is also concerned that old invoices scanned onto the system may have led to some bills being paid twice.
Liberal Democrat Councillor for Highgate, Clive Carter, comments:
“With one hand, the Labour-run council was delighted to lavish £300,000 of public money on a single new business, the Chicken Town restaurant in Tottenham. With the other hand, the Labour-run council imposed £30m of hardship and financial pain on a large and unknown number of businesses after they failed to train staff adequately on their new payment system. It is simply not good enough.”
Cllr Gail Engert, Haringey Lib Dem Leader of the Opposition, comments:
“The Liberal Democrats are very concerned about the effect these late payments had on small local businesses which can easily go under if bills are not paid promptly. The Labour-run council should be supporting local businesses and they should be training their staff properly when new systems are introduced. This is local taxpayers’ money and it should be dealt with carefully."