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You Can’t Park Here… January 8, 2013

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit, The State of the British Nation.
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The return to work has been deary, so a lovely story from the Daily Mail involving our good friends at KPMG.

In short, the Daily Mail ran a story concerning Barry Moss losing a court case against KPMG. The Daily Mail article can be found here.

If like me, you can not bothered to read the full article to sort out where the grudge is, in a nutshell Barry alleged that his local council had included parking fines in the Annual Accounts which were obtained illegally. Due to the lack of signage or white lines telling motorists where to park properly, enforcing a parking fine was illegal. This ought to have been picked up or ‘declared’ by the Auditor while auditing the accounts. The auditor was KPMG. The case reached the High Court and the Judge found in KPMG’s favour. Mr.Moss has been saddled with costs as he lost.

Somewhat tragically, I’ve had a brief read of the judgement. The Judge threw out the case as the auditor could not identify those parking fines which shouldn’t have been charged. Therefore the Auditor was correct not to issue as a declaration as the specific items (unfair or illegal ones) could not be located. Essentially this would be a ‘needles in a haystack’ exercise if the auditor even tried. Interestingly, the Judge commented that while the Council was happy to refund any parking fines that had been issued in error, it was not the Auditor’s or Council’s role to identify those individuals with dubious fines.

So what can we conclude? The Auditor has discharged his duties, albeit wiser after the event as one should question how may parking fines are likely to be disputed and in all likelihood, provided for. You only take on the big boys like KPMG if you are on ‘really’ solid ground. Barry Moss has probably been taken for a ride by his legal counsel and the Daily Mail has run a ropey story on a poor news day.

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