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Ministry gives direction to ensure greater spending accountability

Staff at the Ministry of Education have been given clear directions on what is expected of them when it comes to spending the public purse, a senior civil servant said yesterday.

In the House of Assembly on Monday Minister of Education Dame Jennifer Smith said she had some concerns about the way money was spent in the last fiscal year.

She told Parliament: “Unfortunately, the allocation of grant monies was the area of concern when we reviewed the budget. Although all of our grant recipients provide a much-needed and appreciated service to our children, Ministry oversight of the money we were spending was severely lacking.

“There were far too many examples of unfunded programmes being paid for services that were not budgeted for. In other cases, we found programmes that were funded without any documents or signed contracts outlining the services being rendered.”

In order to stop this happening Dame Jennifer has instituted a new procedure to ensure spending was in line with financial instructions, the civil service's guide to spending public money.

She said Permanent Secretary Warren Jones would oversee grant allocations “to ensure there is appropriate oversight and accountability”.

Mr Jones has now contacted proposed grant recipients telling them signed contracts with agreed deliverables must be in place before they receive future payments.

Yesterday,

The Royal Gazette asked Mr Jones if any civil servants in the Ministry would be disciplined for failing to follow financial instructions last year.

He said when Dame Jennifer and himself came to the Ministry in November they reviewed the past practices and introduced new procedures.

Ministry staff was informed about the changes in January.

“From that date, staff are accountable for delivering against them,” he said.

“Staff are clear of expectations.”

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Published March 09, 2011 at 8:38 am (Updated March 09, 2011 at 8:38 am)

Ministry gives direction to ensure greater spending accountability

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