Report 73: Internal Control and Governance in FÁS Press Release


Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

Dublin Castle

28th  January  2010

The Comptroller and Auditor General, Mr John Buckley, has today published a report arising from an examination of internal control and governance in FÁS.

The examination is a follow up to two Special Reports issued in April 2008 and June 2009 and subsequent consideration of those reports and related matters by the Committee of Public Accounts.

The examination covered the period from 2002 to 2008. It focused on transactions carried out at FÁS Head Office and governance arrangements for the organisation. It also reviewed the management of the Competency Development Programme and the administration of foreign travel and business expenses.

The examination found that FÁS had a governance structure that is consistent with its governing legislation and with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and had also a plan of internal control, which, if fully implemented, would have provided sufficient assurance that its transactions were processed in a safe and regular manner.

However, the examination also found that failure to fully implement elements of the plan of control exposed FÁS to the risk of losses as well as to the risk of failing to achieve best value for money. A risk management system adopted by the Board in 2005 did not function effectively. There were breaches of internal procurement and payment procedures and key units failed to detect or react appropriately to this non-compliance.

The examination also found that considerable scope exists to improve the depth and quality of reporting both in regard to rule compliance and business performance.

In the Competency Development Programme, which expanded rapidly in 2005, the examination found that monitoring visits to external training providers were not as frequent as envisaged under FÁS?s own procedures, programme output was not recorded in terms of results such as persons achieving certification and there was no evaluation of the extent to which the training objectives of the programme were achieved.

The report identifies a number of areas where improvements could be made to the systems, practices and procedures employed by FÁS.

Notes for Editors

The Comptroller and Auditor General is an independent constitutional officer with responsibility for the audit of public funds. He reports to Dáil ?reann.

The full text of the report is available on the website of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General (go to www.audgen.gov.ie).

For further information about the report, please contact Niamh Kilkenny at 01 603 1027 or via email at niamh_kilkenny@audgen.irlgov.ie