HSE ‘incapable of any guarantee of audit compliance from charities’ – Cullinane
Sinn Féin TD and member of the Public Accounts Committee David Cullinane said today that serious questions need to be asked of HSE Compliance Unit and the level of reassurances it gives that public money is being spent in an appropriate way.
Deputy Cullinane said:
“I asked the Minister for Health Simon Harris for a list of audited accounts returned from Section 38 and 39 organisations from 2011 to 2016, only to be told that not only does the HSE Compliance Unit not have the audited accounts, it does not even a simple list of audited accounts returned. There is simply no record for it to ascertain compliance.
“In other words, while the Unit has a record of all service arrangements and grant aid agreements, it does not know whether audited accounts have been returned; even though such audits are a requirement of the service arrangements that the Compliance Unit keeps so proudly on its shelves.
“This is no simple administrative matter.
“We have had scandal after scandal involving Section 39 organisations, from REHAB, CRC, and more recently, Console.
“We know from another parliamentary question I asked that between 2007 and 2016, the Revenue Commissioners conducted 7,500 desk management interventions in relation to section 38 and 39 organisations and 1,690 compliance issues were identified. These are extraordinary figures, which clearly indicate that there is a problem.
“Given what the HSE has said today in its answer to my question, it is not capable of dealing with these issues.
“When I raised these matters with the head of the HSE in June at the Public Accounts Committee, I was told that the system was fine and that an organisation like Console is essentially an outlier.
“It is clear that the HSE is incapable of giving such a guarantee as it does not even do the type of basic record-compiling needed for proper oversight.
“I will be raising this matter with the Minister when the Dáil resumes, and again with the HSE when they are next before the Public Accounts Committee.”