Wednesday, 2 November 2016
Department of Education and Skills
Education Centre Network
138. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his attention has been drawn to the implications of his Department's decision informing a centre (details supplied) that it must incorporate its contingency funds into its core budget particularly in view of the centre's careful management of a contingency fund which was used to cover a variety of purposes and the fact that this change could lead to loss of jobs. [32683/16]
Education Centres are independent statutory bodies under Section 37 of the Education Act (1998) and are managed by voluntary Management Committees elected annually and comprised mainly of teachers. Therefore staffing arrangements are managed by the centre in question.
My Department is the main source of funding for Education Centres through direct budget allocation towards administrative staff pay and operating costs including significant funding for hosting and administration of a number of national programmes delivering continuing professional development courses and other professional support for teachers throughout the country. Education Centres also raise funds through local activities from other organisations.
All funds held by Centres are subject to compliance with the general rules governing bodies in the public sector including the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) Circular: 13/2014 Management of and Accountability for Grants from Exchequer Funds.
I wish to inform the Deputy the officials of my Department have engaged with the Education Centre and have received clarification in relation to the stability of the Centres financial and staffing position.
In a broader context my Department has commissioned an independent review of the governance, funding and accountability arrangements for the support services and Education Centres. In the course of the review there will be on site visits to several centres, one of which will be the centre to which the Deputy refers. The review is expected to be completed and a report made available by the end of the year.