Thursday 16 August 2018

Disability group's poor cash controls

(stock photo)
(stock photo)
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Seriously inadequate financial controls at the disability organisation Cheshire Ireland were found by HSE auditors.

They also expressed concern about the lack of a significant amount of information and documentation which should have been available to auditors.

The audit looked at records in the organisation between 2012 and 2014.

The findings revealed:

The chief executive also functions as company secretary;

Board members had not completed ethics in public office declarations. There was no risk register;

The accounting and auditing service had not been subject to tendering for more than eight years;

Going concern issues led to a financial sustainability plan being entered into with the HSE to achieve long term sustainability. But this plan had not been implemented. At that stage the whistleblowing policy and procedure was in draft form and not been signed off by the board;

There were three instances of suspect or misappropriation of Cheshire Ireland funds or asset noted in the board minutes in the period audited;

Volunteers were not Garda vetted prior to starting work in all cases;

There was no fixed asset register in place. Internal audit was not able to inspect seven of the 10 fixed assets sampled due to an inability to locate them and a lack of co-ordination by Cheshire Ireland central office with a selected centre;

It maintained 77 bank accounts between 2012 and 2014;

Significant net bank balances of up to €6.6m were maintained by Cheshire Ireland between 2012 and 2014.

In March 2017, the board agreed with the audit findings and said it would act on them.

Irish Independent

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