Tuesday, 8 October 2019

Questions (77)

Bríd Smith


77. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of schools which have failed to submit their accounts to the FSSU in line with the provision of section 18 of the Education Act 1998; if alternative arrangements have been considered for the certification of school accounts in view of the costs associated with hiring external auditors or accountants; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40626/19]

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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 Practicing 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.

The FSSU has been operating on this basis in the Voluntary Secondary Sector since 2005 and Voluntary Secondary Schools in the free education scheme have been submitting their accounts to the FSSU via an external accountant/auditor. Of the 322 schools in this sector, 6 schools have yet to submit this years accounts.

The FSSU rolled out its services on a phased basis to Primary Schools from September 2017 and Community & Comprehensive schools from January 2018. Primary schools will be required to submit their accounts by February 2020 and Community & Comprehensive by February 2021.

Question No. 78 answered with Question No. 68.