An audit report on the Coedcae Area Sports Centre has highlighted it as ‘high risk’ to the local authority.
The systems and procedures operated by Coedcae Area Sports Centre had been assessed as being of medium risk during the audit planning process due to the level of cash income being collected during evening opening hours from users of facilities and the number of issues identified in previous Internal Audit reviews.
The report available here (Report C 3) states that the current review has identified that the issues previously identified relating to the management and administration of Coedcae Area Sports Centre currently remain outstanding. As a result the review has been reassessed as being of high risk to the Authority.
This latest report appears to contain echoes of the allegations made in relation to Pembrey Country Park by the whistleblower Eirian Morris.
In 2014 Helen Pugh conducted an investigation into matters raised by Morris and submitted her findings to Dave Gilbert. Those allegations relating to the caravan and camping site and to the unauthorised disposal of council property she said were difficult to establish conclusively whether there had or had not been any misappropriation of monies or other property because of the poor procedures and documentation held by the respondent in connection with these matters.
Helen Pugh’s findings led to a full review of procedures within the country park.
Despite claims by Morris of money and equipment being unaccounted for at the Country Park the County Council maintained that no criminal activity had taken place but that the systems that were in place at the park made it difficult to assess exactly what had happened. Local County Councillor Bill Thomas doggedly persisted in asking for a full external forensic audit, which never materialised.
Speaking about the links to Pembrey Country Park and the allegations of misappropriation of money, unauthorised disposal of council property and failure in following procedures Nia Griffith said:
I think you need to listen to the people of Llanelli, Burry Port and Pembrey. What they are saying is that they do not trust the council. People have an instinct and they really do feel that when a whistle blower is trying to point something out that that should be taken seriously and not dismissed. There is a real concern that there is a potential link between Eirian being a whistle blower and his redundancy. People out there understand. They know what is going on. They are not stupid. They do worry that things are happening behind closed doors and that we don’t get told the truth. They worry that we don’t get told when the county council are in talks.
The former ski centre manager won his unfair dismissal case against Carmarthenshire County Council. The judgement made at Cardiff Magistrate’s Court between the 6th and 10th of February found that Morris had been unfairly dismissed. He was awarded a substantial payment as a result.
There is also a case allegedly, yet to be heard involving the previous catering manager at the Pembrey Country Park Stephanie Thomas allegedly involving misfeasance (the willful inappropriate action or intentional incorrect action or advice).
This latest audit report on the Coedcae Sports Centre will no doubt be picked up on by local councillors and we expect discussed further at County Hall.