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The Midlands Fraud Group recently highlighted problems being encountered in neighbouring authorities where schools have paid invoices, despite goods/services not having been received. Internal Audit’s review of similar payments here at Walsall identified that, whilst the majority of payments were legitimate and  the goods / services received had been received by the school, one instance was identified where a school had made payments to a graphic design supplier where this was not the case. In this particular example, the school paid the invoice as they were being chased for payment by the supplier, despite not receiving the corresponding goods / services as detailed on the invoice.

In light of the above, we would ask all schools to be vigilant and only pay invoices when all checks have been satisfactorily undertaken and it is confirmed that the goods / services detailed on the invoice have been received. In some cases, as demonstrated above, suppliers may adopt quite an aggressive policy for chasing payment and thus it is vitally important that sufficient checking is undertaken to ensure that all invoices received are bona fide.

I hope this information is of assistance. If you wish to discuss further, then please do not hesitate to contact the Internal Audit Service on 01922 654730.

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