Health bodies found non-compliant with pay, procurement rules

Comptroller and Auditor General says issues highlight governance problems across sector

Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy was released on Friday. File photograph: David Sleator

Report of the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy was released on Friday. File photograph: David Sleator

 

A number of State-funded health agencies have been found not to be complying with public service pay and procurement rules, the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General indicates.

The Comptroller’s report says that more than €3.8 billion was provided in funding by the HSE to over 2,700 health organisations and agencies for the delivery of a range of health and social care services last year.

The report says this amounted to nearly 28 per cent of all HSE funding and given the level of expenditure and the number of agencies funded “it is importantthat the HSE has adequate oversight and monitoring arrangements in place”.

The report says that results of annual compliance statements, external governance reviews commissioned by the HSE, the work of HSE internal audit and inspections by the Office of the Comptrollerand Auditor General “point towards a number of governance issues arising across the sector, in particular noncompliance with procurrement rules,noncompliance with public sector pay policies and the absence of internal audit functions”.

External reviews

The report says that the HSE last year commissioned external reviews of the governance at board and executive level in all health organisations, known as section 38 bodies.

The report, released on Friday, says three of these reviews were completed by August of this year.

“The HSE informed the examination team that issues emerging from the completed reviews to date include: non-conpliance with procurement rules and reguilations, non-compliance with public sector pay policy and the absence of internal audit functions.”

The comptroller’s report does not identify the health organisations or agencies which have been criticised in the external reviews commissioned by the HSE.

Complete

The HSE on Friday declined to release the findings of the exernal reviews.

“The reports of the external review of governance at board and executive level in section 38 providers will go through an internal HSE process and when that process is complete the matter of releasing these reports will be considered.”

The chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee Sean Fleming the comptroller’s report had pointed to “an alarming number of governance issues across these agencies including non-compliance with procurement rules and public sector pay policies”.

“It remains apparent that the HSE’s monitoring and oversight of the monies given to these agencies is seriously deficient.”