AN art gallery and information centre has been slammed in a newly-published audit report and given the lowest possible rating.

The Platform Gallery and Visitor Information Centre, in Clitheroe, which is run by Ribble Valley Borough Council, was handed the assurance rating of ‘minimal’, indicating that the ‘system of control is weak’ which ‘exposes the operation to the risk of significant or unauthorised activity’.

In a report to the borough council’s accounts and audits committee, the audit of the Station Road gallery revealed an ‘overall lack of stock control with inaccurate and unreliable records’.

The audit, carried out this month, also said ‘stock takes were not being carried out’ and that ‘recommendations agreed following the previous audit in 2011 were no longer being adhered to’.

An action plan has been produced and recommendations have been agreed to improve the efficiency of the operation.

A follow-up audit will also be carried out early in the new audit year to ‘ensure improvements have been made’.

Borough councillor Mary Robinson said: “I’m very disappointed with this report and I’m surprised that it has come to this.

“I’m shocked to hear the news and I hope that the gallery will improve by the next audit.

“We on the community committee, which also looks after the gallery, were not aware that it was in this position when we met earlier this month.”

The audit report, which will be discussed by councillors at the accounts and audit committee meeting on Wednesday, rated highly the council tax system and Clitheroe Market.

It also rated as ‘substantial’ the pay and display car parking and the grants systems.

The gallery announced earlier this month that it intended to reduce the number of stock items.

A spokeswoman from Ribble Valley Borough Council said: “The council’s community services committee received a report on March 11 reviewing operations at the Platform Gallery and the Visitor Information Centre and agreed some minor changes to address the operational improvements that were needed.”