Lambeth council has said there is “no basis” for accusations that it is guilty of “extensive financial mismanagement”.
It said that many of the accusations levelled by a local “People’s Audit” had been addressed by council officers and its independent auditors “several months ago”.
The People’s Audit said the council statement was “more spin and untruths”.
Lambeth council also accused the People’s Audit of failing to respond to letters from its own auditors, KPMG, asking for evidence to back up some of its accusations.
Cllr Imogen Walker, deputy leader of the council (finance and resources), said: “We know that the content of the report has caused concern, and so it must be looked at carefully, regardless of the questions that have been raised about the motivation behind its publication”.
The council said it was untrue that Lambeth officers had been obstructive.
“The ‘People’s Audit’ exercised their right to inspect the accounts in person,” it said. “Over 230 hours of officer time was spent supporting queries and a senior finance officer met members of the group last August.
“Some of them then exercised their right to object by contacting Lambeth’s external and independent auditor KPMG, who went through the complaints in detail.
“Letters were sent to this group from Lambeth’s independent auditors, rejecting some claims and asking for evidence for others. No such evidence was provided.
“That correspondence is between the auditor and the ‘People’s Audit’ so Lambeth is not able to release them into the public domain. The ‘People’s Audit’ has chosen not to publish them.”
In one of nine responses to detailed accusations, the council said that the People’s Audit had been asked for evidence for its claims that contractors at the Cressingham Gardens estate had charged for work that had not been carried out; repeated instances of the same repair; and over-charged.
The council said: “The People’s Audit has been asked for evidence to support this, but none has been forthcoming.
“Any evidence would of course be taken extremely seriously and acted on immediately, but this remains an unsubstantiated allegation.”
Full council response [PDF download]
Original 12,500-word report [PDF download]