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GRETB faces financial mismanagement claims

An investigation is taking place into claims of fiinancial mismanagement at the Galway and Roscommon Education and Training Board.

Two protected disclosures were made last year regarding spending at the GRETB, and the claims of financial mismanagement were reported to the Department of Education.

The annual report for 2017 mentions the two disclosures, which the GRETB say concern a single issue which has been investigated and reports sent to the Board and the Department of Education.

The nature of the alleged mismanagement, or when last year it said to have taken place, is not mentioned.

The GRETB’s end of year financial statements also show that just under €1 million was spent on contracts and services that were not in line with procurement guidelines.

According to the Irish Examiner, after receiving the disclosures an investigation was begun and a report produced in early 2018.

However it is not known who that report was produced by or sent to, nor is it referenced in board minutes for this year published on the GRETB website.

A spokesperson for the GRETB told the Irish Examiner that this issue is still being dealt with, and is being handled externally.

An internal control statement says that since this was brought to its attention, the GRETB has reviewed its management controls and provided additional training on financial management.

The board’s accounts for last year show that expenditure rose by 7% to €93.5 million last year.

Pay for more than 1,900 employees at 60 schools took up the lion’s share of the budget at €62.5 million.

The money that improper procurements come from the remaining €31.5 million.

Last year, spending for contracted services made by individual schools or centres rather than through aggregated tenders by the GRETB which crossed the threshold of €25,000 came to €974,498.

This was spent on bus hire, cleaning, alarm monitoring and maintenance, refuse collection, school meals, and IT services.

As these contracts were worth more than €25,000, under national guidelines they should have been advertised as e-tenders.

The GRETB Statement of Internal Control reiterates its commitment to complying with all EU and national procurement regulations and guidelines.

Some €145,000 was spent on books while schools awaited the finalisation of a tender by the Office of Government Procurement.


Update: This article has been updated to clarify that the protected disclosures alleging financial mismanagement were about an issue unrelated to procurement spending.

Briain Kelly
Email: news@galwaydaily.com

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