So what did I find out at Merseyside Police Headquarters by using the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 about a £9,000 payment?
Using section 26 of the Local Audit and Accountability Act 2014 I inspected and received copies of accounting records of Merseyside Police for the 2018-19 financial year.
As Friday (12th July 2019) afternoon was the last day of the 30 day inspection period, Leonora and I went to Police HQ reception on the first floor to pick up what I’d requested. It was suggested we arrive from 2 pm onwards.
Unfortunately the Merseyrail trains on the Wirral line had all been cancelled (various reasons were given one being a signalling fault), no rail replacement buses turned up (although on our return back 2 hours later there was an Arriva rail replacement bus at the train station we started from even though the trains were by then running normally again) so we eventually had to make alternative transport arrangements, plus at Merseyside Police HQ the lift going from street level to the first floor reception was out of order.
But such is life travelling to Liverpool by public transport.
However in relation to detail on payment 682 I received a copy of this email chain on 1 A4 side. I’ve used *** to highlight redactions. OCC stands for Operational Command Centre. Redactions can be made only on either grounds of personal information (except for the names of the self employed) or commercial confidentiality (but subject to a public interest test).
Payment 682 was for £9,000 on the 9th August 2018 to Redacted from budget Accounts Sub Heading Assets listed as Account Current Assets.
This year Merseyside Police have decided “personal information” includes redacting the names of police dogs, police horses, dead people and the self-employed (which are all somewhat unusual interpretations of the legislation as to what constitutes personal information).
Although I’ve since learnt what an Imprest account is – bonus marks if you can describe it shorter in a comment than a magic money tree and apologies if there are any typos in the copy below.
Fryer Michael David
From: Riley John Michael Edward
Sent: 05 July 2018 16:39
To: Fryer Michael David
CC: ************, ***********, **************
Subject: RE: Imprest Accounts and Source Handling – [OFFICIAL]
If Helen is comfortable with this and the extra cash is secure at the OCC then I am happy to approve the changes.
I might be worth building some time in to the Internal Audit Plan to review the arrangements during the year.
From: Fryer Michael David
Sent: 04 July 2018 13:58
To: ***** *****
CC: ***** *****, ***** *****
Good afternoon John
The source handling unit has recently relocated from the Ice Box to the OCC and their cash needs would be best served if they were able to collect cash from the imprest account held by **** ***** on the same site, rather than travelling to 302 Brunswick. With this in mind, and in order to satisfy the increased cash needs, please would you consider giving approval to my uplifting the account at the OCC from £3000 to £12000.
If you approve the uplift I propose that the headquarters Imprest account 301 Brunswick should be reduced by £9000 to £10,060, and that a further reduction be considered once the new arrangements have bedded in at the OCC.
The respective bank account numbers are; PCC for Merseyside HQ Imprest 120200955, and PCC for Merseyside Corporate Support 02021022.
Should you wish to discuss further please don’t hesistate to contact me.
Please consider the environment – do you really need to print this email?
Merseyside Police did ask me to reduce the size of my original request on cost grounds as it would by their original estimates (although how accurate these are I don’t know) cost around £2-£3 a page to produce the information for inspection (for comparison Merseyside Police have a budget for 2018-19 of hundreds of millions of pounds each year but as was in a good mood I reduced it by around ten percent which means the saving is roughly balanced by the increased costs to Merseyside Police of asking me to reduce it), yet from the above it seems their budget for paying sources for information has increased and as an aside I seem to remember cash handling being on the audit plan.
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