TEIGNBRIDGE councillors have been left ‘chastened’ after a bruising report from auditors who said inadequate paperwork meant they couldn’t complete their job.

Accountants from Grant Thornton, given the job of auditing the council’s finances for 2020/21, told a meeting of the full council they hadn’t been able to gather enough evidence to form an opinion on the council’s accounts.

Property, plant and equipment had been valued by a qualified council professional, who later left the authority. 

A report to the committee said: ‘The audit identified significant weaknesses in financial accounting and record-keeping. 

‘The council did not maintain adequate records.'

It went on: ‘We are unable to form an opinion on the financial statements as a whole.'

Cllr Sally Morgan (Lib Dem, Bovey), who chairs the audit scrutiny committee, said the accounts had been produced in a ‘perfect storm’ in the aftermath of covid.

Cllr Richard Daws (SD Alliance, Ambrook) said the public would find the absence of the paperwork ‘very concerning’ and added: ‘We should be very chastened by this.’

The council’s chief executive Phil Shears said taxpayers haven’t been disadvantaged by the missing paperwork.

And chief finance officer Martin Flitcroft said the finances hadn’t caused any issues.

Councillors agreed to accept recommendations from the auditors designed to make sure paperwork is better organised in future.