Borders defends 'weakness'

The Accounts Commission has again found weaknesses in the steps being taken by Scottish Borders Council to ensure its pound;3.9 million education overspend does not recur. But the council says its report has now been overtaken by events.

The commission found shortcomings in financial management continued up to the end of the financial year in March, and there was weak management co-ordination. The auditors also stated: "Elected members simply noted budget monitoring reports without exploring issues of co-ordination between officials."

But David Parker, deputy leader of the council, said the investigations preceded the arrival of a new administration, the appointment of the new chief executive and the vacuum of having no permanent director of education in post.

Councillor Parker said the Commission had acknowledged the significant steps being taken by the council. "I have never known a budget that is monitored like this one," he said.

Glenn Rodger, head of pupil support with Edinburgh's education department, is to be the Borders' new director of education. He will have to tackle another Commission finding, that "some staff remain unclear about their specific responsibilities for monitoring and controlling financial performance".

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