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Report claims council 'could owe more' to Carillion liquidators

Oxfordshire County Council could owe more money to Carillion’s liquidators than the authority first thought, auditors have claimed.

An Ernst & Young report last week has highlighted that ongoing discussions between liquidators PwC and the local authority over work the collapsed company undertook could result in the council having to pay more than it had been expecting to.

The authority had a 10-year contract with Carillion, which ran from 2012 to 2022, but this was terminated by mutual consent in December 2017, a month before the company went under.

The contract covered 602 projects valued between £5,000 and £10m, including building maintenance and property services as well as school meals and cleaning.

In the report to be presented to a council committee this week, Ernst & Young said: “The council are simultaneously quantifying the costs of rectifying known defects and estimating the potential for latent defects.

“Given the level of estimation involved we have identified that there is a risk that the amounts owed by the council may be understated and that the amount due to the council may be overstated.”

Last year the council commissioned an assessment of services Carillion supplied in a 10-year contract with the authority worth £123m.

The audit, undertaken at a cost of £1.7m, did not finalise the total cost for remedial works.

A spokesman for the council said today: “The report to our audit and governance committee simply articulates the normal process of auditors identifying potential risks in any given situation.”

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