Nottingham City Council will spend up to £140,000 on an interim housing director after it ‘unlawfully’ spent more than £15m of ringfenced cash.
The Labour-run authority was issued with an extremely rare Section 114 notice in December after it emerged the authority had spent council tenants’ rent money unlawfully.
Ringfenced funds of £15.86m from the council’s Housing Revenue Account – which should have been spent on things such as housing repairs – was spent on general services instead over a period of several years.
The council has now decided to appoint an interim director of housing at a cost of up to £140,000 for six months’ work.
The decision was made on March 10 as part of a delegated decision, meaning it took place outside of a council meeting.
The council said: “A review of the organisation’s senior management structure and alignment of services is currently under consideration, which will include a review of the council’s housing related services in light of the review of the Housing Revenue Account, which highlighted a need to strengthen the council’s housing function.
“The appointment of an interim post holder will provide capacity to support the council in strengthening its housing function and deliver a technical review and recommendations on the most effective way of structuring future housing related services, to deliver best value for Nottingham’s citizens.”
An investigation is under way to determine how the wrongful spending happened, and the money is to be repaid from council reserves.
The misspent funds was an ‘unlawful’ breach under local government financial law and was not a criminal offence.
Speaking previously, after the misspent cash was uncovered, leader of the council Cllr David Mellen (Lab) said the incorrect use of funds would not affect day-to-day services.
He added: “I am absolutely committed to making sure that the council continues to deliver vital services whilst ensuring that issues such as this are discovered and dealt with immediately.”