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Letterbox Sealed & Rampant Nepotism August 13, 2015

Posted by Audit Monkey in The Joy & Pain of Internal Audit.
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Following on from my earlier post concerning my scepticism regarding internet retailing, there was a rather interesting article in ‘The Times’ (12/08/15) concerning the banning of personal deliveries of parcels at work.

Essentially, some the larger employers in the UK have decided to ban staff from receiving parcels at work as Post Rooms have become overwhelmed with the vast quantities of goods being delivered. Over 130,000 parcels were delivered to Canary Wharf [a large financial services centre] last year, so much so, HSBC, Citigroup and JP Morgan have called a halt to personal deliveries at work.

I can’t say I blame them. The article mentions that some of the larger items delivered included exhaust pipes and car tyres. That’s hardly the latest Mills & Boon novel for the CEO’s secretary to peruse during her lunch break and just shows how one small employee concession can snowball. Amazon will just have to install one of those ‘click and collect’ stations in Canary Wharf, preferably away from any of the Canary Wharf office blocks so there isn’t a spate of parcels being delivered from the Terror Inc to numerous John Smiths et al Big Bank PLC and a coordinated explosion to upset the capital markets.

All the stories of deliveries reminds me of one incident at a firm which I heard about first hand. It was discovered that an employee was selling items on Ebay and was using the firm’s Post Room to despatch items to the successful buyers. In short, they were parceling up the goods and sending the items out using the firm’s postal account and franking machine. Unfortunately the internal fraud team found out, and being ex-Police officers, they liked a good collar. The employee in question was banged to rights and was sacked for gross misconduct. So the moral of this story is possibly not to be worried about goods in but rather goods out!

Changing tack, the Kids Company story (read saga) is rumbling on. The latest revelation is that a Trustee (Richard Handover – Handover, bad surname considering) had his son and daughter employed at the Charity. The daughter was on a salary of circa £30,000. Ignoring the obvious conflict of interest and rampant nepotism (a very British disease), what’s the problem? At the last Charity I audited there were hordes of young pretty people doing very little on salaries in excess of £40,000! In comparison, the Kids Company were cheapskates!

The Kids Company also engaged the London School of Economics (LSE) to prepare a report confirming that the Charity was being properly managed but relied heavily on the Charity for supporting evidence. While one could argue that the risk of the auditee leading the auditor is ever present, the auditor should always be aware that bias could creep in. This is very elementary. However, using unqualified academics to prepare a report smacks of opinion shopping more than anything else and does not bode well.

On that note, I’m off to the Post Office to send my latest Ebay sales to the recipients on my own account and at my own expense….

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