Alleged credit card fraud totalling more than £100,000 between December 2010 and July 2011 went unnoticed by staff at arts quango Creative Scotland, with staff reportedly blaming ‘increased workload’ and a broken online banking link for not spotting the transactions.
Staff kept photocopies of the company’s multiple credit cards and had faxed the details to make payments. Following financial audit the transactions were reported to police but legal action is not thought to be being pursued. The body was able to reclaim some of the money through its credit card provider.
A spokesman for Creative Scotland told the Scotsman: ‘This fraud occurred when Creative Scotland was first formed and in the process of bringing together two sets of finance systems from the Scottish Arts Council and Scottish Screen.
‘We fully acknowledge weaknesses in our system at that time which led to the fraud going undetected. Robust systems are now in place to prevent such a fraud happening again. We have regular auditing and continue to improve the quality of our financial monitoring.’
The revelation adds to the picture of an organisation which was plagued by mismanagement at both administrative and artistic levels since its formation in 2010. The self-proclaimed ‘Year of Creative Scotland’ in 2012 ended with two resignations at the highest level ‒ former chief executive Andrew Dixon and creative development director Venu Dhupa ‒ following sustained public outcry from artists and arts groups across the country.
The organisation’s chair is Sir Sandy Crombie, former chief executive of Standard Life.
‘Our new chief executive, Janet Archer, has actioned a further review of our internal expenses policy, which is under way,’ said a statement.
Archer has been in-post for one month, and last week announced an Annual Plan for 2013/14. ‘This is a transitional document. It reflects feedback that we have received over the last year and begins to present our purpose and the main parts of our work in a more simplified way.’ Full details here.