| 3.8°C Dublin

Financial controls and oversight at mental health charity Pieta House unsatisfactory, according to HSE audit

Close

The audit found there was no formal licensing system for Darkness into Light walks which raise funds for Pieta House. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/ Photocall Ireland

The audit found there was no formal licensing system for Darkness into Light walks which raise funds for Pieta House. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/ Photocall Ireland

The audit found there was no formal licensing system for Darkness into Light walks which raise funds for Pieta House. Photo: Sasko Lazarov/ Photocall Ireland

Controls and oversight at the mental health charity Pieta House were unsatisfactory, a HSE audit has found.

The audit findings relate to the position at the time of audit fieldwork conducted in 2018.

There was no documented remuneration policy, and board minutes did not record any discussion or approval of salary increases awarded to the then CEO and other senior staff in 2017.

There was no formal licencing system for Darkness into Light walks or other funding events.

The founder and former CEO’s contract of employment and job description as ambassador were not held on her personnel file, and were not available to HSE internal audit.

The ambassador reported directly to the board and Pieta House management were not fully informed of the ambassador’s activities.

There was no evidence of a formal project plan for Pieta House Inc. in New York, and any reports received by the board of Pieta House Ireland on its progress were not available to the audit team.

Pieta House’s statutory external audit was performed by its external accountants who had been in place since its establishment in 2006.

It found inadequate segregation of duties, receipting, recording and reconciliation controls were identified in respect of donations, fundraising and other income – €26.1m between 2014 and 2017.

It had 15 bank accounts with a total balance of €4.6m at December 31, 2017. 

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required

There were no signatures on the CEO’s or any other credit card statements evidencing that expenditure was authorised and approved. There was no evidence of the board decision to have the credit limit on credit cards increased from €5,000 to €15,000.

There was no evidence that the petty cash expenditure was approved and checked.

It had no foreign travel policy. Evidence of prior approval of foreign travel, and full financial and travel records, were not provided.

A third of sampled invoices were processed without a Purchase Order number, 48pc had no evidence of approval for the payment and an invoice for €38,000 did not have the CEO’s approval as required for invoices in excess of €10,000.

In 2017 it had a total income of €10.9m through various State grants and fund raising.

There was no evidence of approval for therapists' invoices and a number of discrepancies were identified between the appointment sheets and the invoices submitted for payment.

Pieta House was not indemnified on staff members’ car insurance policies. Expense claims were not always fully completed or signed by claimants and were not approved by the CEO as required by Pieta House’s expenses policy.

A counsellor was appointed prior to Pieta House obtaining Garda clearance.

Personnel files contained loose sheets of paper and had limited information.

In correspondence with the HSE audit team dated June 26, 2020, the Chair of the Board of Trustees highlighted the changes which have taken place in Pieta House post 2018.


Most Watched





Privacy