Written answers

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Department of Education and Skills

School Management

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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105. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to amend section 18(1) of the Education Act 1998 which requires all schools to have audited accounts in order to exempt very small schools from the auditing requirement in view of the fact it costs an inordinate amount of money compared to the capitation grant they receive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44010/19]

Photo of Joe McHughJoe McHugh (Donegal, Fine Gael)
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It is important to ensure that appropriate governance arrangements are in place for transparency and accountability in the management of public money.

As the Deputy will be aware, Section 18 of the Education Act 1998 requires all Boards of Management to keep accounts that are properly audited or certified in accordance with best accounting practice.

All Boards of Managements of schools are obliged to comply with Section 18 of the Education Act 1998 and the arrangements set out in my Department’s circulars 0060/2017 and 0002/2018 in relation to the operation of the Financial Services Support Unit (FSSU). This includes the submission of accounts to the FSSU by an external accountant/auditor who has a current Practicing Certificate, Professional Indemnity Insurance and is registered with a prescribed accountancy body in the State.

I am satisfied that this is the appropriate mechanism by which schools can comply with the requirement to make their accounts available for inspection by me in accordance with the Education Act 1998.

The independence of an external accountant/auditor provides assurance to the Board and the State that the accounts are prepared in line with good accounting practice and standards.

Use of the standard templates provided by the FSSU will help to reduce costs associated with the employment of an external accountant. These costs may be met from the Capitation funding provided by my Department.

In Budget 2020 I was pleased to have been able to provide for a further 2.5% increase in standard capitation funding for primary and post-primary schools that will apply from the start of the 2020/2021 school year.  This is in addition to the 5% increase that applied from the start of the 2019/2020 school year.


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