Aberdeen City Council is to review taxpayer-funded travel and accommodation spending in the wake of revelations about hotel claims by its chief executive.
Last month the Press and Journal revealed that Angela Scott, who lives in Dundee, had racked up a £7,500 bill for stays in Aberdeen hotels during her four years at the helm.
The council insisted there were “operational requirements” for the hotel stays and that the spending complied with its policies.
But the disclosure of the cost prompted independent councillor John Reynolds, a member of the audit committee, to call for a probe.
Yesterday the cross-party scrutiny body unanimously backed a wide-ranging check on whether the council’s rules are being properly applied, with convener Stephen Flynn saying there was clearly “significant public interest” in the issue.
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Council co-leader Douglas Lumsden, also a member of the committee, said it was important the authority was “open and transparent” and that there was “clarity for all staff members” about the rules.
It is understood that there were extensive discussions behind the scenes about the need for an investigation and how it should proceed.
The city council is already reviewing its policies on travel and accommodation in the face of decreasing funding settlements.
Extra checks are due to be put in place to ensure the authority is getting the best value for money.
Yesterday Mr Flynn asked for an audit but was told due to a lack of resources that a report would not be back until next year.
It is though expected to have a wide scope including costs incurred by any elected members and officials.
Mr Flynn, the leader of the SNP opposition group, said: “There has been significant public interest in this matter and I am pleased that there was unanimous agreement that the policy should be fully assessed.”
Mr Lumsden, who also sits on the committee, said: “I think it is really important that we are open and transparent.
“This will allow us to get clarity for all staff members on following our policies.”
Miss Scott is currently overseeing £125million of savings.
At the time, Tommy Campbell, regional organiser for the Unite trade union, branded her hotel costs “outrageous”.
Last night he welcomed news of the audit, and said: “All money paid out is taxpayer’s money and we must ensure that it is all spent properly.”
A council spokesman said: “Members of the audit, risk and scrutiny committee have requested that the application of the council travel policy is included in the 2019/20 internal audit programme.
“A report outlining the proposed audit programme for the year will be presented to committee in February for approval, in line with the usual annual cycle.
“Internal audits are a routine part of council business and are considered regularly by the audit, risk and scrutiny committee as part of the ongoing programme across all areas of the organisation.”
He said details of the process would be determined by the council’s internal auditor but stressed that the most common method was an analysis of “randomly sampled documentation” to check spending was within the rules.