Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Questions (212)

Thomas Pringle


212. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Education and Skills the price paid to a company (details supplied) to carry out an audit on each of the 21 education centres on an annual basis since 2016; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30447/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Education Centres are independent statutory bodies under Section 37 of the Education Act (1998) and are managed by voluntary management committees.

My Department is the main funder of Education Centres through direct budget allocations for administrative staff pay and operating costs. The Education Centres also receive significant funding from the support services which are funded entirely by my Department for the purpose of designing and delivering continuing professional development courses and other professional support for teachers throughout the country.

Under my Department’s governance and accountability arrangements, Centres are required to have their accounts audited and the audit report must be submitted along with the Centre’s annual report to the Department.

Following a competition conducted through the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), framework members who had previously qualified to form part of the OGP Framework for the provision of auditing services were contacted and Crowleys DFK Auditors was awarded the contract to undertake an external audit of the financial accounts of all Education Centres. This will provide assurances that all Centres are audited to a consistent standard in accordance with International Standards on auditing and adherence to generally Accepted Accounting Practices.

As the OGP framework under which the contract was awarded to Crowleys is still live, it would not be appropriate to release commercially sensitive information which may disadvantage either the contractor or the awarding authority in future mini competitions.