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Waikato DHB releases Audit NZ review of CE expenses

Waikato DHB has released the part of Audit NZ’s management report on its 2016/17 annual report that relates to a review of former chief executive Dr Nigel Murray’s expenses.

Maureen Chrystall, executive director of corporate services, said that a draft report was presented to the Audit and Risk Committee last week and following their comments a final report had been presented to the DHB. She said that while normally a report of this nature would be confidential, due to the public interest the committee had agreed to release the CE expenses section of the management report publicly.

Ms Chrystall said the DHB accepted all the findings and recommendations in the report.

She said: “The recommendations relate to future compliance with the Board’s policies and procedures and we are working through a process to ensure staff understand the policies and process and are complying with them. We will monitor compliance on a regular basis.”

The expenses of the chief executive and the executive directors will be reported to the Board monthly. This began in October.

In their management report to the DHB, Audit NZ identified the following recommendations. The DHB’s actions are below these.

  1. The DHB ensures compliance with the DHB policies for approval of travel arrangements.

We are communicating requirements for compliance to policy and are actively monitoring compliance. The travel provider has a list of names of our travel coordinators from our travel office that are allowed to make all travel and accommodation bookings and changes. They also have a list of travel arrangers (nominated persons from approved departments that may make bookings for domestic travel and accommodation). Only the names on these lists are allowed to transact any normal bookings and changes through the travel provider.

  1. The DHB clarifies its expectations for the authorisation of changes to travel arrangements.

We will address the expectation for authorisation of changes to travel in our next policy review. Our corporate travel provider will notify the manager of the travel office of any after-hours booking changes. The manager of the travel office will follow this up with the employee’s manager, or chair in the case of the CE.

  1. The DHB ensures that the business purpose for the travel is clearly set out in the approval requests, and that appropriate documentation, such as meeting agendas, are provided to support the request.

We agree that the travel purpose should be explicit and meaningful and supported by evidence when practical. We will communicate and monitor our expectations. Payroll will advise managers of issues with claim forms and return the claim, unpaid, for correction.

  1. The DHB reinforces and reminds staff that the DHB’s policy does not provide for the DHB to pay for any expenses relating to personal travel or accommodation.

We agree. This will be done in communications and we will monitor to ensure staff are complying.

  1. The DHB ensures compliance with the DHB’s processes. Consideration should be given to controls to prevent override.

We agree. We will monitor to ensure staff are complying.

  1. The DHB ensures compliance with the DHB’s policy.

We agree. This will be done in communications and we will monitor to ensure staff are complying.

  1. The DHB ensures travel complies with the OAG guidance on sensitive expenditure in the public sector.

We agree. This will be done in communications and we will monitor to ensure staff are complying.

 

In the preparation of Audit New Zealand’s report, Dr Murray was not approached for comment on the report, nor for comment on the issues raised in that report.

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