Dr Richard Thorn, the investigator.
The report into the investigation into financial matters at the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) has been released today by the Minister for Education.
In the course of an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) of the accounts of the KWETB, the C&AG raised queries directly with the KWETB and then contacted the Department.
Following correspondence between the KWETB and the Department, an investigation was launched by the Department. This was prepared by Dr Richard Thorn.
Some of its key findings are listed below.
- The report says there are several inconsistencies surrounding the procurement of the minor building works that are beyond the powers of the investigator to reconcile and this matter has been referred to the Garda Economic Crime Bureau.
- The acceleration of a school building project was not in accord with Department contract management guidelines.
-It cites failures in procurement requirements.
- It recommends the board utilise an external agency to develop a checklist of policies and procedures covering procurement, and any related matters. It also advised the board of KWETB to take an active role in ensuring there is oversight of governance arrangements.
- Concerns were raised about the tender process for an ETB property rented to a company referred to in the CAG's audit. "Determination of the authenticity of the tender report and documentation reconciliation of the inconsistencies requires investigative powers beyond the scope of this investigation and the matter has been forwarded to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau," says the report.
- The business case for maintaining a collection of car pool vehicles should be reviewed to ensure currency and the procedure for recording vehicle use examined.
- It also said the Dr Thorn had concerns over the sale of a van. "The delay in receipt of sale proceeds is explained, but the offset of proceeds against the purchase of other items at auction cannot be regarded as good financial management. The difference between the purchase price, as reflected in the insurance valuation, and the sale price does not represent a good value transaction," said the report.
- Concern about tendering time for summer works contract and the one company, who responded to the tender had a family connection with the Chief Executive. The Inspector recommends that shortened tender response times should only be used in extreme cases where they can be justified.
- Other findings and recommendations relate to timelines for school building projects.
- The inspector states; "The procurement policy of the KWETB is based on national and EU requirements and should be adhered to in all cases without exception."