Big changes ordered at market

Doncaster Market. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 13-01-15 Market MC 4
Doncaster Market. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP 13-01-15 Market MC 4

A number of council staff have been disciplined after a list of failings were identified at Doncaster market.

Among the failings picked up as part of a report submitted to the local authority’s audit committee was a lack of transparency in terms of the way stalls are allocated.

The report, written by head of internal audit Robin Earl, also criticised the council’s market team for the ‘ineffective’ way in which arrears were collected and recorded and street café licences were controlled.

The report suggested this made it ‘impossible to determine whether there were any monies missing and unaccounted for’.

Rental collection methods were also deemed to be ‘inappropriate and ineffective’ due to the service relying almost entirely on cash being collected by market staff.

The report was ordered after a number of traders complained about the way the market was run.

Doncaster Traders Foundation chairman of Mick Maye said he was pleased to see the council was taking the complaints of traders seriously, but added there were many changes that still need to be made.

Mr Maye said: “The council has more staff here than ever before, and yet we almost never see them.

“How can they know what’s going on in the market if they’re never here?”

The report also confirmed disciplinary actions have been invoked against three members of staff as a result of the findings.

A council spokesman said they were unable to comment on the disciplinary procedures in place against individual members of staff.

Peter Dale, director of regeneration and environment, said: “The town centre and markets transferred to new management in August 2014, and the new management team requested a full audit of the service area.”

He added: “One area that has been reviewed is the process of allocating stalls, after a new system was introduced following consultation with the National Market Traders Federation, local market traders, councillors and council management. Under the new system, traders applied for their preferred stalls and these were awarded following approved criteria.

“Some traders felt that this criteria was unfair and didn’t reflect the seniority of stall-holders and how long they had been trading.

“We have revised our criteria following these comments, however during further consultation traders voted not to reallocate stalls.”