Sir John Bourn, head of the National Audit Office, today reported to Parliament on the 2001-02 trading fund accounts of the Royal Mint. Sir John noted that the Royal Mint had recorded an operating loss (excluding the one-off costs of a restructuring programme) of £6.5 million for the 2001-02 financial year – its second consecutive year of operating losses.
The report sets out the reasons for the Royal Mint’s declining financial performance over recent years, and describes the corrective action that the Mint is taking to address this. A £12 million restructuring programme was announced by the Royal Mint in March 2002, which will involve around 200 redundancies from amongst the 1,200 strong workforce at the Mint’s plant in Llantrisant, South Wales. The costs of this programme have been treated as an exceptional item in the 2001-02 accounts, taking the Mint’s overall operating loss for the year to some £18.5 million.
Earlier this year, the Deputy Master of the Mint was alerted to allegations that the Mint had been involved in the making of improper payments. He immediately alerted Treasury Ministers and, with their consent as the allegations predated his tenure at the Mint, conducted an internal investigation. His report was submitted to the Serious Fraud Office, which is currently carrying out an investigation in conjunction with Ministry of Defence Police.
Sir John also reports on the circumstances surrounding the theft of over £25,000 in £20 notes from the Royal Mint during 2001.
The report summarises the main findings of a recent independent review of the Mint’s internal financial control systems, which followed these two incidents and was conducted by Grant Thornton. The report sets out the actions that the Mint’s management are taking to address the recommendations made by the review team.