Auditors have found unacceptable use of public cash by senior officials at Scotland’s national water regulator – with expenses including £100 Christmas gift cards and a £77,000 Harvard course for its chief operating officer.
Water Industry Commission for Scotland is the economic regulator of Scottish Water, established to ensure long-term value and excellent levels of service for customers and communities.
The Auditor General has reported that, in 2022/23, the commission sought backdated approval from the Scottish Government for around £80,000 of spending.
Expenses included £77,350 for the chief operating officer to attend a training course at Harvard Business School and 26 gift cards worth £100 each for each member of staff.
The expenses reported also included a few by the chief executive which were submitted and approved despite a lack of itemised receipts.
One of these claims was for a dinner where the cost per head exceeded £200 per person. This and other claims included the purchase of alcohol, auditors said.
“Value for money should always be central to public bodies’ spending decisions,” said Stephen Boyle, Auditor General for Scotland upon the release of this new report.
“But these findings highlight unacceptable behaviour by senior Commission officials in the use of public funds.
“I expect appropriate action to be taken to address the issues reported by the auditor.”
The Water Industry Commission for Scotland has been approached for comment.
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