Appendix 5: Update on previous recommendations and issues raised

Results of the 2016 school audits.

Our letter to the Secretary for Education on the results of the 2015 school audits included several recommendations. We have commented on the Ministry’s progress against most of these recommendations in this report. In this appendix, we comment on those recommendations that we have not covered in this report.

In our report published in May 2014, we commented on some work we had done in previous years. Although this was several years ago, some of these issues are still relevant. We have also included these matters in the appendix because we would appreciate an update on how the Ministry has progressed against the issues raised.

Principals’ remuneration – concurrence

The Ministry updated its guidance on principals’ remuneration - concurrence to give prior concurrence by the Ministry for certain items within clear guidelines. These guidelines include that any private benefit to the principal should be “incidental”. We found that some schools’ interpretation of this did not concur with our interpretation. We recommended that the Ministry provide schools with guidance on what is considered to be incidental private benefit and expectations of how schools document this.

The Secretary for Education’s response noted that they would continue to work with the Office of the Auditor-General if an update was required. We have had no further communication on this matter.

Payments above a principal’s normal salary – state integrated schools

The Ministry issued its Circular 2013/27 Principal Concurrence in response to our December 2010 report on payments to principals.3 However, this did not address all matters raised. We understood that the Ministry was considering the matters we raised about payments by proprietors of state-integrated schools further. This included the possibility that some of the payments were unlawful, such payments may undermine the principle of equality of pay for all state schools, and whether conflicts of interest were properly managed. We would appreciate an update on the Ministry’s work in this area.

State-integrated schools property funding

In our results of the 2012 school audits report, we followed up on concerns raised in our Education sector: Results of the 2010/11 audits report about relationships between proprietors and boards. We found that, although the Ministry had given guidelines to proprietors for accounting for policy 1 and 2 funding, it still did not require proprietors to have an audit of the property funding they receive. The Ministry told us that Education Infrastructure Services was to carry out a review of integrated schools’ use of policy 1 and 2 funding during the first half of 2015. We would appreciate an update on that review.

3: Central government: Results of the 2009/10 audits (Volume 1) – Part 8.