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The comments were made during a discussion of the HSE’s financial positions at the Directorate meeting in May.
“Assurance in relation to financial plans, particularly for acute hospitals, needs to be improved to ensure that preventing unfunded cost growth is a key priority for all teams,” according to the minutes of the meeting.
“Where Hospital Groups/CHOs [Community Healthcare Organisations] anticipate potential unfunded cost growth, this should be explicitly approved in advance by the relevant National Director.”
During the meeting, the National Director of Acute Hospitals Mr Liam Woods referenced the funding implications arising from the Scoliosis Waiting List Action Plan, then being finalised.
A review of the effectiveness of internal financial controls was also discussed.
The discussion, which was led by Mr Ultan Hynes, General Manager for Governance and Compliance, Finance Specialists, included an examination of the output report on the annual review of the effectiveness of the system of financial control for 2016.
It was noted that the main financial control issues relate to non-competitive procurement and grants to outside agencies.
The meeting heard that a summary document is being prepared to provide high-level guidance to managers on the key financial control areas on which they need to particularly focus their attention.
In addition, updates on internal financial controls are to be considered at National Performance Oversight Group meetings on a monthly basis.
The National Directors agreed to monitor procurement compliance through monthly performance issues.
An analysis of Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG) audit findings is to be undertaken as part of the audit of procurement.
CHOs must ensure that the top 20 funded agencies are compliant with issues raised by the C&AG report by November 2017.