Posted by Neil on Tuesday, 07 April 2015 at 09:54:13
Filed under: Appeals for Information, General
Missing Cat - Can You Help?
"Hi Neil, As a resident of Lymm, I really hope this will help! My cat went missing last Tuesday 31st March - she is mainly white with a black tail and has a striking black nose and ears. She responds to the name Narla. Is there any chance of this being put on the Lost and Found section of the Lymm Website? Would be really grateful! I live at the top end of Lymm near to the Crown Pub and Co-op so she may be around that area. I have attached a photo to help too! Many thanks, Melissa Contact: 07561803380"
Tags: missing cat
Posted by Neil on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 at 17:33:29
Filed under: Appeals for Information, Lost and found
Time for the people of Lymm to step up again. Can anyone help Don find his beloved cat? Please share like crazy, it worked last time!
"My cat went missing 9th September 2014. He's a very old and rickety Havana Brown called Baz, a neutered male. He has wheezy breathing and is very thin. He should be on a special diet. He lives at 6 Whitbarrow Road and his family can be reached on 07894 461931. Any news would be gratefully received. He usually patrolled on the upper part of Whitbarrow Road near the old Fire Station."
Tags: missing, cat
Posted by Neil on Monday, 18 August 2014 at 21:34:13
Filed under: Lymm, Appeals for Information
Can anybody help Jo Bennett?
"Hi, I have just moved to Lymm and our cat has gone missing. :-(
His name is Benson and he was last seen on Wayside Close (behind Lady Acre Close). I was hoping you may be able to pop this photo on your facebook page for me.
If anyone has seen him, please could they let me know.
Thanks so much, Jo x (mob 07527 340762)"
Tags: cat, missing
Posted by Neil on Thursday, 24 July 2014 at 09:07:44
Filed under: Announcements, Political, School
Finance Investigation at School Flagged Expenditure on Alcohol, Flowers and Hospitality
An investigation into the financial affairs at Lymm High School following the suspension of the principal and her deputy highlighted various concerns including cash and credit card expenditure on alcohol, flowers and hospitality.
The audit, which has been welcomed by the school governors, identified various weaknesses and issues in relation to financial management and governance, including missing personnel files - including those of the two senior members of staff who had been suspended.
The audit was carried out by the Government body - the Education Funding Agency’s (EFA) External Assurance Team, who visited Lymm High School Academy Trust (the Trust) in September 2013. The team performed sample testing of financial transactions, reviewed supporting documentation and held discussions with Trust officials.
A number of control weaknesses and issues in relation to financial management and governance were identified. These included internal controls within the Trust’s finance function, such as segregation of duties in purchasing and procurement, which had been weakened following the suspension of the principal finance officer, due to resource limitations.
The Trust reported the individual employed in the principal finance role may not have been appropriately qualified nor have the relevant experience required of the post. They were not able to substantiate this as the individual’s personnel file could not be located.
Personnel files for a number of senior staff could not be located during the visit. The apparent loss of these files was of concern particularly as they included the records for the two staff suspended and under investigation.
The loss of these files left the Trust exposed to the risk that personal data could be mis-used and data protection legislation may have been breached, with possible financial implications. There were inadequate quotation/tendering records available at the time of the visit to fully support and explain the award of contracts or high value purchases.
A declaration of interest was not available for all members of the Governing Body and Finance Committee and some minor items of expenditure were identified that may not be considered proper use of public funds and could leave governors and employees of the Trust open to criticism. Examples included cash and credit card expenditure on alcohol, flowers and hospitality.
The External Assurance visit was carried out against a backdrop of concerns about the Trust’s performance and leadership, two senior staff suspensions and suggestions of financial irregularity. The Trust had commissioned high level reviews of finance arrangements by its external auditors, who until early September fulfilled the Responsible Officer (RO) and Internal Audit functions.
The EFA were called in during the early summer of of last year when concerns were raised about the Trust’s performance and leadership. The principal had been suspended in June 2013 and an investigation had been commissioned by Governors. In July 2013 the Trust’s principal finance officer was also suspended pending a separate disciplinary investigation.
Separate communications were received by the Department for Education and the EFA, including at least one direct to the Secretary of State, raising concerns including the suggestion of financial impropriety. These resulted in a two-day planned visit to the Trust by representatives of the EFA’s External Assurance (EA) team in September last year.
The purpose of the visit was to review the financial management and governance arrangements at the Trust in order to provide assurance to the EFA Accounting Officer over the use of public funds. This was a review of the Trust’s arrangements at the time of the visit, although it was apparent that steps were being taken, following the appointment of the interim Executive Principal, to strengthen those arrangements.
During the course of the visit, a number of high risk issues came to their attention, including high value income streams involving cash transactions, deleted electronic data and missing personnel records. As these presented an increased risk of financial irregularity or fraud, these areas were added to the scope of the EFA's work.
The audit also revealed six contracts had inadequate evidence of quotations/tendering and with two exceptions, available tender documents failed to adequately demonstrate the rationale for selection of a preferred supplier.
Four out of eight contracts did not have a signed copy of the contract available and the Trust was unable to provide an up to date and detailed register of all contracts / leases it has entered into. During the period September 2012 to July 2013 there were three credit cards held by senior members of Trust staff. A review of credit card records during that period highlighted four key issues: The Trust did not have a formal credit card policy for staff to follow and each of the three cardholders had signed “debit” card agreement forms.
Four purchases of alcohol were identified - this expenditure could be deemed to be improper use of public funds, or expose the Trust to criticism. Chair of Governors Kieran Walshe said: "Lymm High School welcomes the Education Funding Agency’s publication of its audit report on the school, which relates to circumstances a year ago.
"The school invited the visit from the team from the Education Funding Agency in September 2013, and the report found a number of issues that had already been identified and acted upon by the school’s auditors.
Mr Walshe added: “We hope this report will help people to understand some of the issues that the governing body dealt with robustly in 2013, and provide useful learning for other schools in Warrington. The two senior staff who had responsibility for school finances and audit at this time are no longer employed by the school. Robust arrangements for audit and financial oversight by governors are now in place.”
Former principal Angela Walsh (pictured right) and vice-principal Jamie Shiels resigned earlier this year after being suspended last year.
A full copy of the report which is now in the public domain can be downloaded here.
Article courtesy of Warrington Worldwide.
Tags: lymm high, finance, investigation
Posted by Neil on Thursday, 19 September 2013 at 09:08:58
Filed under: Announcements, Sports, Crime
An Astley mother of two has been spared a jail term after stealing more than £20,000 from a junior football club.
Cheryl Lee, of Green Avenue, Astley, was given a 16-month sentence which was suspended for two years after she pleaded guilty to fraud at Warrington Crown Court on Monday. The court heard how the 37-year-old took advantage of her volunteer role as the treasurer of the Lymm Piranhas Junior Football Club, which coaches 15 teams and more than 200 players in Warrington.
Lee, who has no previous convictions, was appointed as treasurer of the club in September 2007 and was put in charge of the club’s cheque book and subs money.
Over a three year period, Lee paid in £21,969.55 into her own personal account and her now ex-husband’s account by forging the signatures of other club officials. A total of 29 cheques were found to have been forged by Lee with a further £1,200 in cash paid into the accounts.
It was only in October 2010 that the club became suspicious when an audit was carried out by the newly appointed club assistant. Prosecuting, Philip Clemo said: “When the audit took place it was evident that the books did not balance.
“A meeting was called on May 17, 2011, between club official and she said that ‘if any money was missing then she would give it back’”.
Lee later admitted the offence and has since voluntarily paid back £6,045 to the club.
Defending, John Banasko claims Lee intends to pay back every penny. The court heard how Lee took the money after her debt problem spiralled out of control and has since been declared bankrupt.
Judge Nicholas Woodward said it was clear that Lee was ‘genuinely remorseful’ and has acted ‘out of character: "You have done everything you can to try and put things right and rectify these mistakes. There will be people who are disgusted by what you did. However, you did not take the position to get access to the money.”
Barclays Bank, which currently holds the account for the club, has since paid back £15,000 to the Lymm Piranhas and Lee intends to pay the bank back in full. A spokesman for the football club said: “Like most community organisations the running of the club is put in the hands of trusted volunteers but our ability to do this has been put under considerable strain by this episode.
“We are pleased that the amounts owing to us have, in the main, been repaid and that justice has now been served. We would urge all community clubs to be vigilant in their recruitment policies.”
Tags: piranhas, fraud, jail