Bosses at a day centre which provides educational services for adults with learning and physical disabilities have been told to tighten up their systems.

A report by the internal audit team at Swindon Borough Council into the OK4U centre in Upham Road said that “fundamental weaknesses” were found in the provision of services meeting the needs of users and their care plan objectives.

It also said that “significant improvements were necessary in making sure its provision was appropriate, fitted with the needs of the service users".

The report into the council-run centre by Lorraine Sarson says: “Accountability for performance and financial management within OK4U has been poor and lacked strong and professional leadership. New management are seeking to redress these issues but a formal service improvement plan has yet to be put in place to prioritise and focus this work."

The report, which was put together in January but presented by auditor Nick Hobbs at last week’s audit committee meeting, makes six specific recommendations.

The first is that a business plan and mission statement should be drawn up “setting out clear objectives for the service".

“Performance and quality standard measures should be introduced and used to report monitor and manage service outcomes,” the report said.

Another recommendation is that the service should be inspected by the council’s in-house commissioner, reporting on how effective, caring, responsive and well-led the service is, with improvements to be identified and put into action.

Every service user should have a clear set of outcomes such as “acquiring practical skills, developing social networking skills”, which should be drawn up to each individuals' needs. All of their activities should be regularly measured with regard to how they help make progress against the outcomes.

There were less serious concerns raised about how money was handled, as some service users made small payments for transport, tea, coffee and cooking, and there was no single way of accepting and logging these payment.

Mr Hobbs pointed out that while there where many different ways of handling payments, the money paid was all present and correctly accounted for.

Brian Ford, the council's cabinet member for adults’ services said: “We recognise there is significant work required to improve the service but we are well on track to completing the six outstanding recommendations in the audit report.

“The business plan and service user support plans with outcomes have been done and the service improvement plan will be fully completed by the end of next month.

“Of the outstanding recommendations, a value for money exercise is in progress and we are exploring a number of options relating to the collection of service user charges.

"One of these includes using the BETTER card scheme which would enable cashless collection of client contributions and, if approved, could be implemented as soon as this September.”