The NSW Audit Office has released a report arising from their audit of agencies within the Education cluster.
Internal control deficiencies were identified across the cluster agencies, including 14 findings that were repeated from the previous year. Control deficiencies were also identified in a sample of the state’s 2,200 schools.
Some of the key findings include:
* Agencies have not established policies, have gaps in policies or have policies that are past their scheduled review date.
* Agencies have incomplete or inaccurate contract registers.
* IT control deficiencies are related to IT governance, user access administration, program change and computer operations.
* Application controls are procedures that operate at a business process level designed to ensure the integrity of accounting records.
* The Department has not appropriately configured segregation of duties in their key application system.
* Key reconciliations were not prepared or were not reviewed in a timely manner. Reconciliations of inter-agency balances were not performed.
* Schools do not always apply the guidance in the Department of Education’s ‘Finance in Schools Handbook’, resulting in control weaknesses in key areas such as governance, cash management and procurement. For example, some schools: did not establish or maintain registers of financial items or a workplace gift register; did not retain, or had not formalised a school canteen agreement; did not review or reconcile bank queries on a weekly basis; did not perform, or review the petty cash reconciliations; did not bank cash on hand when balances exceeded $500; did not adequately follow up identified discrepancies in cash balances held. Also: schools did not obtain the appropriate number of quotes for the purchase of goods and services; expenditure was incurred without prior approval; and purchase orders were not raised for goods and services.
A copy of the full report can be found here.