Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Questions (189)

Richard Boyd Barrett


189. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Education and Skills the reason schools are required to submit accounts on-line via an accountant to FSSU; the reason an individual school cannot file the figures directly to the unit by extracting the numbers from the profit and loss and balance sheet on an annual basis,which in some cases would save the school the added expense of hiring an accountant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [39312/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

It is important to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place for transparency and accountability in the management of public money.

Therefore, all Boards of Managements of schools are obliged to comply with Section 18 of the Education Act 1998 and the arrangements set out in my Department’s circulars 0060/2017 and 0002/2018 in relation to the operation of the Financial Services Support Unit (FSSU). This includes the submission of accounts to the FSSU by an external accountant/auditor who has a current Practising Certificate, Professional Indemnity Insurance and is registered with a prescribed accountancy body in the State.

The independence of an external accountant/auditor provides assurance to the Board and the State that the accounts are prepared in line with good accounting practice and standards.

Responsibility for procurement of an external accountant/auditor and payment of same rests with the Board of Management in respect of schools operated by them. Boards of Management should take a proactive approach when it comes to sourcing accountancy services in order to ensure best value is obtained and to ensure compliance with public procurement procedures. Schools Procurement Unit which has a national remit is available to advise and assist schools in relation to procurement matters.  The FSSU also provides assistance for schools when sourcing accountancy services.