Fraud investigations at South West College

South West College
South West College

South West College, which includes the Dungannon Further Education Campus, has been the subject of four fraud investigation in the past three years.

The total is the lowest among the North’s six regional college, with Belfast Metropolitan College having the highest - 15 since 2012/13.

The figures were released by the Department of Employment last week at the Northern Ireland Assembly.

In all, there have been 47 such investigations at Northern Ireland’s regional colleges since 2012.

The South West College is required by law to protect the public funds it administers.

An investigation into the financial management of Fermanagh College of Further and Higher Education in 2009 led to stricter monitoring of how public money was spent by NI further education colleges.

Among other things, the college was asked to pay back more than £1m on a Work Based Learning scheme.

At the time, a consultant’s report commissioned by the Department of Employment and Learning found ‘significant weaknesses in corporate governance, business and financial planning, management information systems and issues over financial control’ at the Enniskillen campus.

The Comptroller and Auditor General audits the accounts of Further Education Colleges, including South West, and is also responsible for carrying out data matching exercises under his powers in Articles 4A to 4G of the Audit and Accountability (Northern Ireland) Order 2003.