PracticeAuditCommons Committee rebukes Ulster over accounts

Commons Committee rebukes Ulster over accounts

The Northern Ireland Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) has been formally rebuked by a Commons Committee for planning to treat Treasury deadlines for producing unqualified accounts as an 'aspiration'.

Link: Public sector urged to speed up IFRS adoption

The complaint came from the Northern Ireland Committee, whose report said all the Northern Ireland departments were committed to meeting the Treasury timetables for ‘faster closing’ and the production of Whole of Government Accounts.

But the MPs said a new management information system on which DFP depend for information required for resource accounts will not begin to be rolled out until April 2006, and the process would take two years.

The Treasury timetable requires the production of audited accounts by late July for the 2005-6 financial year onwards.

The Committee said it was ‘concerned’ about the rigour of financial management of NI departments, accusing the DFP of issuing ‘ineffective guidance’ when resource accounting was introduced.

In an ‘unacceptably high’ level of negative audit opinions, 10 NI departmental accounts submitted qualified accounts for 2001-02, seven in 2002-3 and four in 2003-4. This included the Department for Social Development (DSD), whose qualification covered £112.3 million in losses from fraud, some 3.2% of total benefit expenditure.

The MPs said the DSD – which lost £121 million in 2001 – ‘needs to make a sustained effort to improve its financial control over the grants, benefits and payments for which it is responsible’.

But they were even more damming about the ‘apparent lack of leadership historically exercised by DFP’.

MPs said the additional strains of devolution were insufficient explanation. Departments had failed to deploy sufficient numbers of qualified staff to meet the challenge of resource accounting.

Related Articles

PwC replaces EY as Domino's auditor

Audit PwC replaces EY as Domino's auditor

2d Alia Shoaib, Reporter
The ‘uncomfortable truth’ behind FRC’s Big Four fines recommendations

Audit The ‘uncomfortable truth’ behind FRC’s Big Four fines recommendations

1w Carl Johnson, Stephensons
BDO holds off Big Four to retain top position as AIM auditor

Audit BDO holds off Big Four to retain top position as AIM auditor

1w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
FRC urged to fine Big Four firms penalties over £10m

Audit FRC urged to fine Big Four firms penalties over £10m

3w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
EY to audit Standard Chartered bank

Audit EY to audit Standard Chartered bank

1m Alia Shoaib, Reporter
KPMG replaces PwC as Croda auditor

Accounting Firms KPMG replaces PwC as Croda auditor

2m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
EY fined £1.8m over Tech Data audit

Accounting Standards EY fined £1.8m over Tech Data audit

2m Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Top 50+50: Firms post significant growth in new tax and audit rankings

Audit Top 50+50: Firms post significant growth in new tax and audit rankings

2m Emma Smith, Managing Editor