Saturday 24 March 2018

HSE never paid for loan of official to Console

The report on Console in advance of a formal decision to wind it up said it was haphazardly run.
The report on Console in advance of a formal decision to wind it up said it was haphazardly run.
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Console never paid the HSE for the salary of a senior health official who spent a year as chief executive of the charity on a form of secondment.

The official applied for the post of chief executive of Console when it was publicly advertised in 2008.

He opted for an arrangement where he continued to get his salary from the HSE.

Console should have reimbursed the HSE for the annual cost of employing the official but this was never paid.

The official, who was experienced in the area of mental health, returned to his job in the HSE after a year.

A spokesman for the HSE told the Irish Independent: "We are trying to establish the salary level which was involved."

The HSE is now unlikely to ever be paid at this stage as it would be down the list of creditors who will have to be graded by the liquidator for Console who was appointed last week.

The Public Accounts Committee was told on Friday that HSE investigators, who probed the finances of Console and discovered the founder Paul Kelly spent charity funds on her personal lifestyle, never interviewed the health official who was seconded for a year.

The appointment of the health official to run Console followed the commissioning of an external management consultant's report in 2007.

It advised on the type of structures that were needed if the charity was to be properly run and accountable.

After the health official left, Paul Kelly became the chief executive and is listed as getting a consultancy fee of around €90,000.

The report on Console, presented to the charity's board last week by interim chief executive David Hall, in advance of a formal decision to wind it up said it was haphazardly run.

Mr Kelly had no training in accountancy and there was no proper finance function.

It found there was no client management system in place covering the operation of counselling sessions.

"Therefore, the charity has no way of centrally managing counselling, understanding trends, planning for future demand or analysing usage of the resources and facilities it makes available.

"While paper records are available in individual centres and some documentation is available, on an ad-hoc basis, it is completely unsuitable for professional management."

He described the financial operation of the charity as "chaotic."

Irish Independent

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