Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Public Accounts Committee

Financial Statements of the Higher Education Authority 2013
General Report No. 85 of the Comptroller and Auditor General: Accountability and Governance on the National College of Art and Design

10:00 am

Mr. Seán Ó Foghlú:

That information is in the public domain. It is Limerick Institute of Technology and St. Angela's College.

I am very concerned about the matter and the HEA is aware of our concerns. The HEA is also concerned and is following up on those institutions. I wanted to state that on the record because I had not been asked the question. I am not saying that those institutions have the same range of issues as the NCAD. However, there are obligations on governing bodies and senior management to ensure there are reviews on the effectiveness of internal financial controls. That is the absolute responsibility, in the code of practice, that the chair and the president combined must sign off on. That is the core issue - institutions must take on their responsibilities.

In the revised set of arrangements for performance funding, we have as a higher education system moved on to the issue which we have to be most accountable for, in combination with finance, which is performance. We have moved our funding to a place where the HEA can make a call about the future expansion, contraction or whatever of a higher education institution based on its performance, including its financial performance.

Combined with that then, and in the revised system that Mr. Boland has talked about putting place and talked about elements of, we are still reviewing. I am of the view that we will enhance that situation. It means that no institution will be able to go more than six months, at the end of a financial year, without informing the HEA that they have not put in place a system of internal financial control.


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