Former CFO expelled from public institute
Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy statement concerning Mr Andrew Ecelson of Cleethorpes, North East Lincolnshire, a former Chief Financial Officer under Section 151 Local Government Act 1972
Disciplinary proceedings against CIPFA member, Mr Andrew Ecelson, were concluded in April 2006.
CIPFAís Disciplinary Committee considered various allegations of unprofessional conduct during the time Mr Ecelson was the Chief Financial Officer at North East Lincolnshire Council (the Council). The Committee expelled Mr Ecelson from the Institute.
The Committee found misconduct and breach of professional standards in that Mr Ecelson had failed to discharge his responsibilities in relation to budgetary reporting; production of the Councilís accounts; and submission of grant claims. The Committee acknowledged that Mr Ecelson could not be expected personally to prepare the budget of a substantial local authority and monitor its detailed implementation, to submit grant claims and compile final accounts. However, as the responsible officer under Section 151 Local Government Act 1972, Mr Ecelson did have responsibility for the proper administration of the Councilís financial affairs and for safeguarding its interests.
The Committee considered specific events and circumstances which occurred during the financial years 2001-2002 to 2003-2004.
In relation to budgetary reporting the specific failures led the Committee to conclude that Mr Ecelson:
- failed to provide, or failed to secure, the provision of reports to the Council on its financial situation which were sufficiently clear, timely, adequate and accurate
- failed to provide adequate advice to the Council on its financial situation during the critical period April to August 2003
- failed to report adequately on projected overspends on the budgets
- failed to appropriately monitor and review, or failed to secure the appropriate monitoring and review, of income and expenditure of the Council against two specific budget heads
- failed to take sufficient action when there was evidence that there would be a budget overspend or a shortfall in income in relation to those two specific budget heads
- failed to ensure that the estimates in the budgets for the two specific budget heads mentioned above were sufficiently robust.
In relation to the Councilís accounts, the specific failures led the Committee to conclude that Mr Ecelson:
- failed to respond or react adequately to, or failed to secure an adequate response to, concerns and recommendations of the external auditor
- failed to take sufficient steps to ensure that the Councilís processes and systems for producing the final accounts for three successive years were of an acceptable standard
- failed to ensure that the Councilís 2002-03 accounts were reliable and accurate.
In relation to the Councilís grant claims, the specific failures led the Committee to conclude that Mr Ecelson:
- failed to ensure that appropriate systems were in place for the management of grant claims
- failed to respond or react adequately to, or failed to secure an adequate response to, concerns and recommendations of the external auditor.
Source: CIPFA (15/05/2006)