The Information Commissioner’s Office apologizes for spending more than £ 6,000 on chocolate.
Transparency information released earlier this year by the Data Protection Watchdog revealed that just before Christmas 2020, corporate credit cards were being used to purchase £ 6,248.40 from Hotel Chocolat.
Shortly after payments came to light, regulators announced that they would conduct an “independent internal investigation” to determine if the transaction violated spending policies and what corrective actions were needed.
After completing the investigation, the ICO announced yesterday that it was “not in line with staff awareness or spending policies for purchasing gifts for staff using public funds.”
“This was the only transaction that took place outside the scope of the ICO policy and was the only example of a gift purchased for our staff,” said a spokesman. “Our research has shown that this particular transaction was not effectively monitored for strict financial controls and could be traded even though it was not permitted by the ICO policy.”
However, regulators added that the money to buy the same 254 gift sets distributed to workers as Christmas gifts was “aimed to acknowledge the efforts of these staff in difficult years.” ..
“I would like to apologize for this incident,” said a spokesman. “We took action in response to the results of our investigation and fully implemented all recommendations to prevent this from happening again.”
Watchdog recently added that he has appointed a financial officer who is expected to “strengthen financial management and oversight of staff training.”
Future internal audits will include reviews of recommendations and actions taken in the light of the investigation.
“If the investigation revealed behavior that was below the standards expected by the ICO, we also took appropriate action,” the spokesman concluded.
“Not in line with spending policy” – ICO apologizes for buying £ 6,000 of chocolate
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