BREAKING: Special investigation launched into Kildare and Wicklow ETB

Concerns over public procurement, usage and disposal of assets

Niamh O'Donoghue

Reporter:

Niamh O'Donoghue

Email:

niamh.odonoghue@leinsterleader.ie

BREAKING: Special investigation launched into Kildare and Wicklow ETB

KWETB logo

A special investigation is to be held into the performance of the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) over how it conducted its business. 

Just moments ago, in a statement issued by the Department of Education and Skills, it said Richard Thorn, President Emeritus of Sligo Institute of Technology is to head the inquiry.

He has been appointed to carry out an investigation into “the performance by Kildare and Wicklow ETB of its functions particularly in relation to public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters.”

The statement continued; “This action has been taken following issues raised in an audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General (CAG) and subsequent correspondence between the Department and the ETB.”

It said it envisaged the investigation will be completed by the end of March next year. 

Last week a row erupted at the monthly meeting of the KWETB as to whether a briefing on correspondence from the CAG and the Department in relation to a CAG audit should be held in public. 

READ MORE: Row over Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board inquiry erupts at meeting

The CAG was conducting an ongoing audit of the KWETB’s 2015 financial statements.

The CAG previously stated to the Leader: “A number of matters, mainly related to procurement and capital projects, arose on the audit. The matters have been brought to the attention of the ETB and the Department of Education and Skills.”

The terms of reference of the investigation, as announced today, include examining and reporting on the robustness of the ETB's responses to the issues raised in the CAG Audit, with particular reference to, among other matters: compliance with Department procedures in relation to the procurement and delivery of various building projects; the governance arrangements in relation to procurement matters from 2017 to date; arrangements put in place to avoid conflicts of interest; the access to and usage of an ETB rented property by a company specifically referred to in the audit; the operation and use of pool vehicles and the sale of a motor vehicle. The tender assessment process in relation to a drawdown contract awarded to a company; and the award of a contract to an independent expert for a school building project will also be examined.

When contacted by the Leinster Leader this evening, the Department of Education & Skills refused to be drawn on what specific building projects are concerned. A spokesperson said it had no comment to make at this stage, other than what is set out in the press briefing.

Representatives of KWETB were not immediately available for comment to the Leader.

LATEST UPDATE: Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board says it is cooperating with government inquiry into its practices