During the run-up to the recent Police And Crime Commissioner Elections I noticed what I thought was a disparity in the incumbent North Yorkshire PCC’s published expenses.
In 2013 it included an entry for >£10,000 for ACPO fees. As PCCs are not members of ACPO so should not pay membership fees (Association of PCCs fees also paid, no problem there) I submitted a Freedom of Information Request asking who these fees were relating to and for a copy of the invoice.
I notice from the Commissioner’s published expenses an entry on 13th June 2013, this is for Invoice Number SI10384, payable to the Association of Chief Police Officers, for PCCs Fees and Subscriptions, for an amount of £10,695.34 with a description of ACPO fees.
Could you please tell me;
a) To whom do these fees refer?
b) Could you please provide me with electronic copies of the invoice and any other documentation referring to this item of expenditure?
The first reply I got (late) was this;
I acknowledge that your request is overdue however we are still waiting for the statistics from the relevant business area. I can only apologise for the delay and will endeavour to respond to your request as soon as possible.
What a L.O.B. I wasn’t even asking for statistics, PCC’s office running amok.
Eventually they provided with this response
I have today decided to disclose the located information to you.
Please find enclosed an electronic copy of the invoice described within your request which details membership costs paid by North Yorkshire Police to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). To clarify, these expenses were subtracted from the North Yorkshire Police budget and not the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioners budget (OPCC). These expenses were published upon the OPCC website in error.
With, as promised, a copy of the invoice.
My question is this, bearing in mind the number of wholesale changes made to her published expenses just before the elections (possibly hundreds of new or altered entries dating back years), why, when I checked last night is this entry still listed as an expenditure. Surely it should either have been deleted as erroneous or an equal amount shown as an income (virement from the correct account) to negate the expenditure. As it stood last night Ms Mulligan’s published expenses still contained a £10,000+ ‘error’.
Sloppy? Something worse? Or have I missed something here? Or is this a perfectly valid way of publishing expenses?