Following my earlier post about the alleged gross mismanagement of Thanet Council's collection of Art and Artefacts and the possibility that items making up the collection may have been stolen. I reproduce a letter which sheds more light on this worrying matter. The letter was sent to Councillor John Worrow who is Chairman of the Council's Governance & Audit Committee. The Governance and Audit Committee agreed by a vote of 5 to 4 to refer this matter to the Council's Overview Scrutiny Panel (OSP) for a full investigation. I am the Chairman of the OSP but the views I express on this blogsite are my own personal views and do not reflect the views of the OSP who are yet to consider this matter.
I am writing to you as you are the Chairman of Governance and Audit to express my concerns regarding the collection of Art and Artefacts held by Thanet District Council. My concerns are about poor auditing, lack of proper controls, missing items, under valuation and items under insured.
In 2005 1 brought this matter up with the then leader of the Council Sandy Ezekiel and his deputy Cllr Roger Latchford who at the time assured me that the management of the collection met all (PARAGRAPH REDACTED)
In November 2012 an audit began on the Thanet District Council Collection at the Margate Museum using volunteer support from the Friends of the Margate Museum supervised by a TDC officer.
From the audit so far interesting facts have emerged vindicating my original position. For example there are items that have more than one number on the inventory,some items are even unlisted like a 11aluable Rowlandson print. In storage the collection consists of over 680 pictures with many suffering from neglect. There is also a "missing list" and I doubt if most items have the correct valuations or insurance cover judging by the audit so far.
I am writing to you to raise three issues.
- Why has the collection which is a Council asset and has monetary value been allowed to be neglected for so long without a regular audit and proper controls .
- Why were proper audit controls not put in place in 2005 when the then leader and deputy were aware there was a problem.
- Why has the collection at the Margate Museum never been properly audited when the collection was no longer managed by the East Kent Maritime Trust In .2008 and handed back to TDC control.
This letter raises some extremely serious issues about how Thanet Council managed, or perhaps mismanaged a valuable and extremely important collection of Art and Artefacts.
I would recommend that you look at Tony Ovenden's Blogsite Thanet Coast Life where even more information has been published which appears to me to describe incompetence of the first order by Thanet Council and allegations of theft by persons in high office
Here is the link - you couldn't make this stuff up!