KWETB to cooperate with investigation
PROBE, ANNOUNCED BY MINISTER, EXPECTED TO BE COMPLETED BY MARCH
A SPECIAL investigation into how the Kildare and Wicklow Education and Training Board (KWETB) conducts its business is being carried out.
The investigation will be led by Richard Thorn, President Emeritus of Sligo Institute of Technology, and will focus on KWETB’s performance, especially regarding public procurement, usage and disposal of assets and propriety matters.
The action has been taken following issues raised in an 2015 audit of KWETB’s operation by the Controller and Auditor General and subsequent correspondence between the Department and the ETB.
In a statement, the KWETB said: ‘We will fully cooperate, engage meaningfully and work with Mr Richard Thorn and in accordance with the terms of reference for investigation as instructed by the Minister Bruton.’
KWETB added that until such time as the final report is issued, they won’t be in a position to comment any further.
KWETB employs over 2,500 staff across counties Kildare and Wicklow. They also provide services to over 23,000 students, trainees and learners each year and have a financial turnover of €116 million per annum.
The Controller and Auditor General brought a number of issues to the attention of the Department of Education and Skills in the course of an audit of KWETB’s financial statements for 2015. The Department then sought responses from KWETB to the issues raised.
Having considered the issues raised by the Controller and Auditor General and the subsequent correspondence between the Department and the ETB, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, appointed an investigator to carry out an investigation into the performance by the board of its functions.
The investigation will cover the access to and usage of an ETB rented property by a company referred to in the audit and the business case for the intended use of the rented property and any impact on its unavailability for this intended use.
Also under investigation is the operation and use of a pool of vehicles, as well as the sale of a motor vehicle and the timelines in relation to the decision to dispose of the vehicle, the assessment of its value, the date of sale, the supporting documentation in relation to the sale and the timeliness of receipt of the proceeds.
Other matters that will be looked into include the tender assessment process in relation to the drawdown of a contract referred to in the audit and the sequence of events and the nature of the particular problems that gave rise to claims for additional payments on a building project also referenced in the audit.
It is envisaged that the investigation process will be completed by March 2018.