National Audit Office Reject Equality And Human Rights Commission Accounts For The Second Year Running

The National Audit Office (NAO) has refused to sign off the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s (EHRC) annual accounts for the second year in a row. Quoting serious failings in the organisations procurement procedure and inability to keep wage rises within agreed government limits, NAO head Amyas Morse cast doubt on the organisations ability to manage its finances in a damning statement:-

‘I have qualified my audit opinion on the 2008/09 accounts of the Equality and Human Rights Commission as a result of irregular expenditure in a number of areas. I am satisfied that it is taking the issues we have raised seriously although, until it develops fully effective financial and management controls, it will face continuing risks to its ability to manage its expenditure properly.’
The government equalities Quango’ s reputation to operate competently is clearly in tatters. It has recently been hit by £508’000 of fines due to serious mismanagement, £200’000 recently for missing a vital deadline to create a guide for the Single Equality Act. Just as things seem as if they cannot get any worse for the EHRC’s reputation the Express reveals that organisation’s Chair Sir Trevor Phillips thought to be on a salary of £120’00 a year, has indulged in wasteful perks. The controversial Chair is thought to have had  a Chauffer driven car drive him 7 miles to the EHRC quarters from his home in Crouch End for the past three years costing the taxpayer over £40’000.
The Coalition government have threatened further severe sanctions should the organisation continue to be wasteful, Government Equalities Minister Theresa May commented:-
'The EHRC has a track record of not being careful enough with taxpayers’ money and these accounts show that problems there persist. Failure to deliver will not be tolerated by this government - we will look at further sanctions if the problems highlighted by the auditors are not dealt with. The government is totally committed to creating a more equal society for everyone, but we're also committed to cracking down on waste and failure."
Pressure is now growing on the organisations controversial Chair to resign, having presided over a series of mishaps, resignations and failures how can his reign continue? There is a lot at stake if EHRC do not get their act together. The Guardian reports in a letter seen exclusively by the newspaper from the Government Equalities Office, despite a relatively small cut to its budget, deeper cuts are on the horizon for the Equalities Quango. If the EHRC remains hapless it will become an easier target for severe cuts. It seems like a change of leadership is vital in order to retain the EHRC’s current level of effectiveness.


Go Back to Previous Page