Statement on HSE Audit
Dublin Simon recently received results of a HSE Audit carried out in 2022 for the period January – December 2021.
While we were disappointed with the outcome, our own internal reviews had already highlighted the issues outlined, many of which were already being actioned at the time of audit and are due to be completed by the end of this year.
As our staff, clients, donors and supporters will remember, 2021 was the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, and we like many other frontline services reacted and adapted immediately to the impact of shifting Covid-19 restrictions on frontline service provision. Our priority during this time was the safeguarding of our clients, residents, staff and volunteers, which meant that we had to re-prioritise some of our other activities.
The key findings in this report relate to the review of policies and procedures, which was unfortunately delayed due to the challenges and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. These reviews will be completed at the end of this year, and I am confident that were an audit to take place today, the results would be significantly more positive. However, we have to accept that this audit captures a moment in time where there was room for improvement; room we have since bridged in line with best practice standards.
Another key area of media interest is an incident of missing funds, which took place in late 2021 and involved the theft of €37,713 in cash and cheques by a staff member working at Dublin Simon Community at the time. While we cannot comment in detail on this case due to ongoing criminal proceedings, I would like to assure all our stakeholders that we acted immediately upon the discovery of the missing funds, reporting the incident to our Board, the Gardaí, the Charities Regulator, the Approved Housing Body Regulatory Authority and The Data Commissioner. Thankfully, all funds were recovered very quickly with no financial loss to the organisation. We have since put additional controls in place to further protect us from such an event ever happening again.
One of the recommendations in the HSE Audit from 2022 indicates that we should have reported this incident directly to the HSE. The funds impacted were ‘unrestricted’, meaning they did not come from the HSE, which is why we did not report this directly to them at the time of reporting to Gardaí, the Data Commissioner and relevant Regulators. We accept the HSE’s recommendations here and will ensure they are notified in line with all reporting requirements going forward. We have issued our progress report to the HSE regarding implementation of recommendations and continue to implement the same, some actions are completed, and all actions will be completed by year end.
While the outcome is disappointing, we are committed to taking all recommendations on board and our focus remains on the future delivery of essential life-saving services to the most vulnerable people in our community, which we are confident is now bolstered by enhanced policies and procedures which accurately reflect the scope, nature and dynamism of our work.
Thank you for reading,