Northern Ireland news

Executive Office reclassifies £0.5 billion of projected payments after basing figures on 'insufficient evidence'

Comptroller and Auditor General Kieran Donnelly

THE EXECUTIVE Office (TEO) has agreed to reclassify projected payments of more than £0.5 billion in its accounts after Stormont's financial watchdog said the figures were based on "insufficient evidence".

Comptroller and Auditor General Kieran Donnelly's audit of TEO's 2019-20 accounts found no payments had been made under the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) compensation scheme and Victims’ Payments Regulations 2020.

When initially presented for audit, the accounts made a provision for potential future payments of £539 million – £105 million for victims’ payments and £434 million for HIA.

However, due to a number of factors, primarily the lack of historic data on which to base future forecasts, there was insufficient evidence to provide assurance that these estimates were reliable, Mr Donnelly said.

In line with appropriate accounting standards, TEO has agreed to remove the estimated expenditure from the 2019-20 accounts and to instead disclose the obligations due under the schemes in the notes to the accounts.

“The scale of this adjustment was unusually high," Mr Donnelly said.

"I have recommended that TEO continues to seek information relevant to these schemes and to refine the models they are developing to support the reliable measurement of future probable payments under these schemes."

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news