A HSE audit report on Tusla, the child and family agency, has raised dozens of issues of non-compliance regarding payments to staff and timekeeping at the organisation.
The audit, issued internally within the HSE last November and released to the Irish Examiner under the Freedom of Information Act, found control and compliance issues with Tusla’s payroll process; its management of staff working time; and with personal allowances issued to employees.
The majority of the audit’s 50 recommendations were classified as ‘medium’ ranking, meaning that the issues identified posed “a moderate risk of financial loss, and/or of accounting error, and/or of non compliance with policies or regulations”.
Payroll issues identified at three Tusla locations included a lack of written local payroll procedures or payroll sign off checklists; no records of training for payroll staff; and incomplete staff details on time sheets.
The report warned Tusla of “confusion and inconsistencies” regarding the issuing of personal allowances to staff which “may lead to incorrect payments and unclear management information”.
It found that Tusla and the HSE did not have supporting documentation in relation to the payment of allowances to 117 employees.
The allowances were described as ‘personal allowances’ which, auditors said, “could not be identified on the [Department of Health and Children] consolidated salary scales.”
Auditors found that a ‘Gaeltacht Allowance’ was paid to 44 members of staff who are required to work through Irish. However, in four of these cases, auditors were unable to find any written decisions signing off on the awarding of these payments, which ranged from €156.90 to €427.58 per fortnight.
Nine staff received a ‘Dual Responsibility Allowance’ of either €3,731 or €4,001, but written decisions were only found for three of these, and of these three, one decision was due for renewal and another “was of an indefinite nature”. The report reveals that auditors also found inconsistencies in the recording of staff time off, sick leave, and time in lieu.
“Tusla management should review the current process for recording attendance for employees who are not utilising the flexitime system to identify if a more robust/reliable method of monitoring and recording attendance on and off site can be implemented,” it recommended.
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