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Multiple failures, missed opportunities at DEH says report

Three separate reports and 11 recommendations in total.

This is what came out of a nearly year long investigation by the internal audit service into overtime spending at the Department of Environmental Health.

Among the findings, the reports released on Tuesday (2 October,) said overtime overspending was the result of multiple failures and missed opportunities to report the issue across numerous roles and responsibilities within both the department and the ministry.

They also found that, even though vehicle downtime and staff absenteeism were major factors, auditors did not find evidence to substantiate the extent of their contribution to the increases.

In fact, auditors said they believe there is a high probability that intentional abuse of the system was another significant factor.

Auditors provided several recommendations to ensure similar issues do not happen again.

They included:

Recruitment of permanent personnel to fill the top roles at DEH. While this is happening, Richard Simms and Mark Bothwell will continue in their roles.

Implementation of strict accountability and performance management systems to deal with the issues of poor attendance and unsatisfactory performance that helped create the overtime spend.

Educating senior officers at the ministry as to their roles in managing the oversight of the department.

The re-introduction of the monthly finance meeting so that there is up to date information on the department’s financial performance.

The setting up of a protocol to flag similar activity early on.

The ministry said beyond the release of the reports, it is unable to comment, as several matters raised in the reports are still under investigation.

To read the reports, please click the following links:

201802 DEH OT Phase2 FinalReport (2)DEH OT Phase1 FinalReport (1)DEH OT Phase3 FinalReport REDACTED VERSION (1)

About the author

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs has worked in television, radio and print since 2002, including stints at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT/CNMG), Radio 97, The Trinidad Guardian and Newsday. She has an MA in Media, Communications and Public Relations.

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