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

Inquiry launched on Wednesday

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

The Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training board has said it is “working closely” with the Department of Education and Skills regarding an inquiry into its practices, specifically relating to public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters

Yesterday, Wednesday, October 3, the Department launched an inquiry following issues raised in an audit into KWETB’s 2015 financial statements by the Comptroller and Auditor General, and subsequent correspondence between the Department and the ETB.

In a statement issued this morning, KWETB said it fully cooperated with the audit, and  with subsequent requests for information from both the Department of Education and Skills and the Comptroller and Auditor General.

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. 

Referring to this meeting in its statement this morning, KWETB said: “A formal meeting of the Board of KWETB was held on the 27th of September and the Minister was advised by the Board that no objections would be raised regarding the proposed investigation invoked under Section 40 of the ETB Act 2014.  

“KWETB will fully cooperate, engage meaningfully and work with Mr Richard Thorn and in accordance with the terms of reference for investigation as instructed by the Minister Bruton.”

“Until such time as a final report is issued by either the Comptroller and Auditor General or Mr Richard Thorn, KWETB will not be in a position to comment any further.”

KWETB, which has an annual turnover of €116 million, employs over 2,500 staff across counties Kildare and Wicklow, serving over 23,000 students.

It is envisaged the investigation will be complete by March 2018.

The investigations’ terms of reference 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.