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Many ‘concerns’ in HSE Audit Committee’s annual report

The OCAG’s draft 2016 Audit Management Letter reported that 49 audit findings were rated as “high” or “medium” in areas such as: Fixed assets; pay and pensions; income; non-pay expenditure; financial reporting; grants to outside agencies; leases; propriety; and capital and creditors and accruals.

The Internal Audit Division had identified many of these issues and reported them to the Audit Committee.

The audit certificate issued by the OCAG included two matters for emphasis: Inadequate monitoring and oversight of grants to outside agencies; and non-competitive procurement.

“The Committee is concerned about the materiality of many adverse findings and control weaknesses reported by the Internal Audit Division and by OCAG,” according to the Annual Report, addressed to the then Director General of the HSE Mr Tony O’Brien from Chair of the Committee Mr Tom O’Higgins in March and seen by the Medical Independent.

“It is also concerned that a significant number of these had been reported in previous years, had been noted and discussed earlier by the Committee and were still recurring. While the Committee acknowledged the work to date to try [to] resolve these issues, it again stressed the importance and necessity to improve and accelerate management action on the control environment in these areas.”

In addition, the report stated the Committee continued to have major concerns arising from the financial challenges facing the HSE and the impact of continuing and predicted budgetary shortfalls on the HSE’s capacity to meet its strategic goals.

“The Committee regards the project to implement an integrated accounting and procurement system as a key enabler for a step change in overall financial management in the HSE. While recognising the complexity of the project and the demands it places on the CFO [Chief Financial Officer] and the Finance Directorate, progress on completing the project remains a concern for the Committee.”

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