Comptroller and auditor general Sir John Bourn said he had reported on the problem a year before, after which internal auditors reviewed the extent of under-reporting of fertility clinics’ treatment cycles – on which their dues to the authority are based.
A systems data auditor tasked with ensuring all treatments are recorded by means of a rolling programme of visits, only visited 11 out of 119 centres, of whom five had under-reported by an average of 3.1%, but the program of visits ceased in February this year.
Bourn said he would have undertaken additional procedures to verify the income due, but could not do because the authority were barred by law from disclosing information on their register to any third party.
He said the authority recognised the current system for calculating fees and invoicing clinics was unsatisfactory and had instituted monthly billing.
It will now also set up a new verification team and is currently consulting on a new fee structure.
It is required by law to cover its costs from fees – but last year (2001/2002)was 33% short.
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