Today we examine the issues at Spelthorne Borough Council, which has recently made huge investments in property assets- over £1bn, compared to net assets of £22m.

Like many councils that have seen central government funding fall away, the Surrey council made investments to ensure a return in the future.

But how many of those investments stand up to scrutiny- especially if their value falls post-Brexit- will be something the council will be continually asked.

That is why the scrutiny process of those investments must be above reproach.

We know an internal investigation was undertaken by the controlling party of the council, as the Leader of the council confirmed this to Financial Director, into the way the chair of the council’s scrutinising committee was treated.

Given that was ended without any satisfactory conclusion, it begs the questions: What really happened during the acquisition programme? Was the chair of the overview and scrutiny and her predecessor pressurised into allowing deals to go through? What did the senior executives of the council know about any of these issues?

Spelthorne is a small council but the issues affecting accountability can be applied anywhere, in business, politics and other areas- often where a finance head plays a key role in ensuring an accountable process.

Since breaking the story of the investigation at Spelthorne, Financial Director has approached various bodies to find out how an investigation into the council’s investments might be required, and how it might take shape.

Kwarsi Kwarteng, the Conservative MP for Spelthorne has also been approached by FD. But the expectation is that he like many of his colleagues are so consumed by Brexit they will not have the scope to delve into this and other important local and national issues.