Concerns about a headteacher’s spending were raised at an unnamed Bracknell Forest school after an inspection by council officers. But Bracknell Forest Council has said it won’t release further details.

The school – known only as ‘School E’ – was inspected as part of the council’s routine internal audit. This ensures that council services and their finances are being run properly.

An update given in January said auditors had found two ‘critical’ and eight ‘major’ areas of concern at the school.

It said auditors made two ‘critical recommendations’ regarding ‘the purchasing process and the school’s private fund.’

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The eight ‘major’ recommendations included ‘purchase card expenditure including expenditure relating to the previous headteacher.’

Others listed included ‘declarations of business interests’, ‘budget setting and monitoring’ and ‘income received in cash and banking.’

The concerns were reported as part of an update to councillors on Bracknell Forest Council’s governance and audit committee in January this year.

The report said auditors had reported their findings to the school’s current headteacher as a ‘gap analysis.’ This is a method that keeps track of whether an organisation is meeting its performance goals.

The News asked Bracknell Forest Council for a copy of the gap analysis under freedom of information laws. But the council said it would not do this as financial information given to auditors is confidential, making it exempt under those laws.

The council said: “Having considered this we are not able to comply with your request and will be withholding the report. This is on the basis that disclosure is exempt.”

It added: “The information included in the report was obtained from the school in confidence and solely for the purposes of the audit process.”

The council went on to suggest that it could face legal action from school governors if it released the information.

Bracknell Forest Council said it had considered whether it would be in the public interest to release the report. But it said that as the auditor’s concerns were already being addressed, there would be ‘no further public interest’ in making the report public.

It said: “When an important issue is identified at any audit this is escalated through the appropriate authorities.

“In this case, the issues identified have already been escalated to the school governing body and education authority and concerns raised are being addressed.

“There is therefore no further public interest in disclosing confidential information which could result in the school governing body bringing action against internal audit for breach of confidence.”

Bracknell Forest Council also said freedom of information laws mean authorities don’t have to release information that would make it harder for auditors to carry out their jobs.

The council said that as information given to auditors is confidential, making it public would ‘prejudice the exercising of internal audit’s function by breaching the mandatory requirements for confidentiality.’

The News has asked the council to consider whether it can provide a redacted version of the report.