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Contract support units established to enhance audit of HSE-funded agencies

By Paul Mulholland - 09th Jul 2023

support units

The HSE has confirmed to the Medical Independent (MI) that a new process is being implemented to audit agencies funded by the Executive.

An update was provided on reviewing the process of auditing organisations funded under service level or grant-aid agreements at a meeting of the HSE audit and risk committee in December 2022.

“The committee noted that the review finds that the current audit process of funded agencies by the HSE internal audit division is not entirely consistent with the IIA [Institute of Internal Auditors] standards,” according to meeting minutes.

The committee considered the proposed assurance options. It endorsed the proposal to transfer the performance of compliance reviews of funded agencies from the HSE internal audit division to the compliance unit.

It noted that to support the transition of this work “resources may be made available from internal audit” and transferred to compliance.

The committee was advised that the review would be completed following receipt of the results of the external quality assessment, which was expected by the end of 2022.

“The HSE must retain the ability, under the service level agreement or otherwise, on foot of significant risk indicators or other exceptional circumstances, to initiate suitably structured audit activity where concerns arise about the use of HSE funding in funded agencies or about overall governance of such publicly funded agencies,” according to the minutes.

The committee noted that the first half of 2023 should be used to “elaborate on the thinking on what might constitute a suitable approach”.

When questioned on this issue, a HSE spokesperson said it has enhanced its oversight and monitoring of service arrangements with funded agencies through the establishment of dedicated contract management support units (CMSUs). The CMSUs have been established within Community Healthcare Organisations.

“Together with the compliance unit, which manages the overall process of developing service arrangements and monitoring compliance by agencies with them, these resources can ensure a more comprehensive coverage of funded agencies than could internal audit,” the spokesperson told MI.

“The revised approach is reflected in the HSE audit plan for 2023, whereby internal audit will focus on reviewing the effectiveness of the CMSUs in terms of monitoring agency compliance with funding agreements.”

The results of this process will be evaluated and the new approach kept under review, they added.

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