It is important to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place for transparency and accountability in the management of public money. All boards of management of schools, therefore, are obliged to comply with section 18 of the Education Act 1998 and the arrangements set out in my Department’s Circular 0060/2017 and Circular 0002/2018 on the operation of the financial services support unit, FSSU. This includes the submission of accounts to the FSSU by an external accountant or auditor who has a current practising certificate, professional indemnity insurance and is registered with a prescribed accountancy body in the State.
I am satisfied that this is the appropriate mechanism by which schools can comply with the requirement to make their accounts available for inspection by me in accordance with the Education Act 1998.
The independence of an external accountant or auditor provides assurance to the board and the State that the accounts are prepared in line with good accounting practice and standards. Use of the standard templates provided by the financial support services unit, FSSU, will help to reduce costs associated with the employment of an external accountant. These costs may be met from the capitation funding provided by my Department.
In budget 2020, I was pleased to have been able to provide for a further 2.5% increase in standard capitation funding for primary and post-primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2020 to 2021 school year. This is in addition to the 5% increase that applied from the start of the 2019 to 2020 school year.