Sunday 21 July 2019

Care group criticised over credit cards and paperwork


(Stock photo)
(Stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

An organisation that works with children in care, and had an income of €3.2m between 2014 and 2016, operated 15 credit cards, a HSE audit has revealed.

Epic (Empowering People in Care), which had 23 employees, received more than half of this funding from Tusla.

The auditors, who are the financial watchdogs of the HSE, looked at 22 sample credit card statements and found non-receipted expenditure amounted to €5,300.

In one instance, medication was purchased using a credit card and a total of €570 was spent on gift vouchers for staff.

They also found credit cards were used for cash withdrawals.

The auditors found no monthly payroll report.

The travel and expense procedure was insufficiently detailed in relation to allowable expenses, according to the auditors.

Expense claims were incomplete and unsigned and there were purchases of alcohol.

The fixed asset register was also inaccurate and incomplete.

The financial policy and procedure document was out of date and the IT policy was last revised in 2016.

Auditors also found that service level agreements were not signed promptly and Tusla was not identified as a funder in relevant communications materials.

Board members had not signed the ethics in public office statements, and the conflicts of interest register was incomplete and not up to date.

The auditors, in a series of recommendations of high importance, said the organisation should ensure that all claims are supported by appropriate evidence, dated and signed by an approver.

Management should ensure that all credit card spending by employees is reported every month.

The audit was shown to Epic in June last year and it confirmed it was in agreement with its contents.

It accepted the recommendations of the auditors. Tusla also accepted the findings of the audit, as well as the recommendations which were assigned to it.

Irish Independent

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