Public Accounts Committee to grill Department of Education on its finances

The deadline is to be brought forward for State bodies to produce their audits.

The Department of Education will be hauled before the Public Accounts Committee tomorrow to answer questions on its finances.

The committee wants to see statements for 2017 by the end of March, just three months after the end of the current financial year.

It is taking action after a report that almost two thirds of groups funded by taxpayers failed to submit their records on time.

The Chair of the PAC, Seán Fleming, said: "This is where the Public Accounts Committee is stepping into the breach as a result of this.

"We are actually starting this Thursday with the Department of Education and with four of the education and training boards in front of us this Thursday."

The education sector was one of the worst offenders as no training board had its 2015 accounts audited and passed by last September.

Mr Fleming said: "I'm gone beyond that, I don't want answers, they have failed in their duty and they will report on their failures in their duty.

"And my target is to ensure that for 2017, which is this year, has every single one of those organisations produce their accounts by the 31st of March next year, within three months of the financial end."

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