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Final report on Moray Council’s purchase of unused Aberlour nursery cabins will be discussed next week

In February, councillors called for an investigation after the temporary units were bought for £235,000 without following proper procedures.

'I report based on evidence' if management doesn't like it 'I don't care' says audit manager Dafydd Lewis on his final report into the purchase of two Aberlour Primary School nursery units that were never used. Image: Moray Council
'I report based on evidence' if management doesn't like it 'I don't care' says audit manager Dafydd Lewis on his final report into the purchase of two Aberlour Primary School nursery units that were never used. Image: Moray Council

A final report into the purchase of two nursery cabins that were never used will go before Moray councillors next week.

In February members called for an investigation after the temporary units were bought for £235,000.

It found an unauthorised payment of more then £117,000 was made for them without the knowledge of Moray Council’s chief financial officer, breaking procurement rules.

And it recommended they should be sold “as a matter of urgency”.

Unauthorised payment

The cabins were supposed to house nursery children based at Aberlour Primary School during a £1m refurbishment.

But the units were never used for that purpose. They are currently advertised for sale on Moray Council’s website.

A report before the audit and scrutiny committee next Wednesday shows all recommendations from the investigation have been implemented.

They include reminding staff of procurement regulations and that any advanced payments need to be cleared with the chief financial officer.

The cabins are advertised for sale on Moray Council’s website.

In his report audit and risk manager Dafydd Lewis said: “The agreed scope for the audit was to review the reporting arrangements and compliance with financial regulations, procurement guidelines and the conditions of the contract for the refurbishment of the Aberlour early years learning and childcare premises.”

Whoever buys the cabins will have to collect them from a depot in Kintore, Aberdeenshire.

And as they are flat packed they will have to put them together too.

As well as the cost of the cabins the council spent £2,000 having replacement doors for the nursery delivered to Keith.

£1 million nursery refurbishment

And the local authority is paying £90 a week to have the units stored at a site in Kintore.

It was proposed to put one of the cabins in the grounds of Aberlour Primary and the other at nearby Speyside High School.

But concerns were raised over the close proximity of the unit to the car park at the secondary.

And plans to move the Aberlour nursery children into yurts next to the cemetery in the village were also thrown out.

Aberlour Primary nursery pupils have moved back in following a major refurbishmant. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Instead the youngsters and staff relocated to rooms in Speyside High School in August to allow work to start.

They moved back into the refurbished nursery this week.

Work on the building was supposed to begin in August 2020.

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