An investigation has been launched into ‘control failures and errors’ that cost Liverpool City Council millions of pounds.
Chief executive Tony Reeves has offered a formal apology to senior councillors, and said an independent audit and ‘lessons learnt’ exercise was being held into the botched renewal of an energy contract.
A report blamed ‘control failures and errors,’ which will cost £4.5m in higher bills.
It said the council’s cabinet had agreed to renew its current, fixed-rate electricity contact with Scottish Power on 4 March.
However, the senior leadership team and cabinet had not been made aware until weeks later that Scottish Power had closed its business to commercial and industrial customers a day before the meeting, meaning it would have to find another supplier at a significantly higher cost.
Deputy mayor and finance cabinet member Jane Corbett said: ‘It’s crucial we continue to act responsibly and mitigate against failures to respond to changes but at a greater pace.
‘There are clear lessons to be learnt from this process.’
The Liverpool Community Independents group of councillors called it a ‘catalogue of errors and a glaring failure of scrutiny,’ and have called for those responsible to resign.
Mayor Joanne Anderson said: ‘I have ordered a full investigation into what went wrong at every level.
'This investigation will be conducted by independent and external auditors - not by council officers.
‘I want to make it clear to the city that I am seeking full accountability for this costly error and appropriate action will be taken once the full facts are established.’