PracticeAuditNorthern Ireland accounts fail to make the grade

Northern Ireland accounts fail to make the grade

The 2001/2002 annual accounts of ten of the seventeen departments within the Northern Ireland Office have been qualified by Northern Ireland comptroller and auditor general John Dowdall.

Link: NI resource accounts not up to scratch

Three of the ten – Education, Teachers Superannuation and Social Development – included ‘disclaimer opinions’ indicating they were so bad and ‘limitations on the scope of my work was so extensive’ that Dowdall could not form an audit opinion.

Dowdall said this was the first full year of resource accounts following a dry run for 2000 to 2001 after which the Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee ‘expressed concern’ about progress which left ‘many problems to be addressed’.

He claimed in concluding remarks to his overall assessment that there were many respects in which the resource accounts exercise had been ‘successful’ and even those accounts that were qualified contained ‘a great deal more information’ on operations.

But he admitted that ‘there is clearly a considerable challenge for the departments concerned to bring their financial reporting up to the standard the assembly and parliament have a right to expect’.

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