Limerick Institute of Technology under fire for breaking governance rules

Date Uploaded: 18/08/2014

Limerick Institute of Technology has been scolded for breaking a number of rules on proper corporate governance.

The college was pulled up for reorganising and hiring mangers without permission. It also set up a subsidiary company without the sanction of its own governing body.

There were also cases where it failed to follow proper procurement guidelines and it did not have a policy in place to handle tip-offs from whistle-blowers.

LIT had also failed to implement the recommendations of its own internal auditors to improve the controls that regulate research and development that is conducted on LIT behalf.

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy highlighted the governance issues in the annual financial statements for the college.

In response, LIT recognised that a number of issues had been identified and it was working to deal with them.

“During the course of the 2013 audit fieldwork, issues were identified in relation to the lack of confidential disclosure policy, breaches of procurement guidelines and the delayed implementation of audit findings on research. LIT is actively addressing these challenges,” it said.

Elsewhere, problems existed with a reorganisation of the management structure at LIT. Executive positions were changed and additional management posts were created without the approval of the governing body that is responsible for the running of the college.

In addition, senior positions were filled without standard recruitment procedures being followed.

On top of this, an offshoot company, LIT Sports and Leisure Facility Ltd, was set up in September 2012.

The move was approved by the audit committee two weeks later.

“While internal approvals had taken place, appropriate governing body oversight was not exercised in this case,” said the report from LIT’s governing body report.

This new company was carrying a €44,655 loss at the end of its 2013 financial year. LIT was to pay the subsidiary company €110,000 for use of sports facilities in 2013.

The college had a turnover of €55m last year and made an operating loss of €1.4m on that. It spent €4.5m on research grants and contracts.

Source: www.irishexaminer.com

Journalist: Conor Ryan

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