The purpose of the audit is to confirm that:
- An adequate audit trail exists to support the claim;
- Expenditure has been properly incurred and paid;
- Expenditure records are in accordance with the returns submitted to the relevant funding body, to the Department of Education and Skills and to the EU Commission;
- The activity is eligible for ESF aid;
- The activity took place;
- The claim is in compliance with relevant EU Regulations and DES, ESF Certifying Authority circulars;
- The project is fully compliant as regards public procurement, publicity etc;
- The activity is not in receipt of other EU funding or is not dual funded;
- Adequate control procedures are in place.
Notification of Audit and Initial Information Required
The project is normally notified in advance of the audit visit.
A member of the ESF Audit Authority phones the project to inform them of a visit about two weeks in advance. The period of notice may vary depending on individual circumstances and some visits can occur without any advance notice.
Following the advance notice given by phone, a member of the ESF Audit Authority will subsequently confirm the date of the audit visit and contact details of the visiting officer by email. This email will also provide details of the information which must be prepared in advance of the visit.
Initial information required
On initial contact with the project the ESF Audit Authority will request a transaction breakdown corresponding to the gross expenditure amount claimed. This should be in spreadsheet format.
The spreadsheet should contain a listing of individual transactions, the total of which matches the gross expenditure amount of the claim. A separate spreadsheet should be submitted in respect of each year claimed. Where Income/Receipts have been deducted from the claim, details of these amounts are also required.
In addition the following should be supplied:
- Copies of claims submitted to the relevant funding body;
- Documents/workings used to prepare the claims.
Preparation for Audit
Please ensure that the relevant personnel and an adequate office are available for the duration of the audit.
The following information in relation to the project, where relevant, should be available for inspection:
- Letters of funding allocation or grant allocation from the Department of Education and Skills for the organisation in receipt of ESF funding;
- Proposals, application forms, budgets, contracts and any other documents/workings relating to the expenditure claimed by the project;
- Grant applications, letters of approval, grant agreements or service level agreements in respect of expenditure claimed by the project;
- Funding applications, letters of approval, funding agreements or service level agreements in respect of the expenditure claimed by the project
- Details of the activity carried out by the project;
- Details of trainers/support staff involved in the project;
- Bank Statements;
- Payroll records and related PAYE/PRSI/USC Revenue records and receipts etc;
- Evidence of time spent on the project –e.g. timesheets;
- Invoices and other supporting documentation that have been claimed as being eligible;
- Evidence of compliance in respect of public procurement (request for tenders, evaluation, award, notification);
- Annual audited accounts for the organisation/project;
- Supporting documents for match funding;
- Any other documentation related to the funded activity.
Depending upon the nature of the expenditure in the project’s claim not all of the above documentation may be relevant.
On site visit
On arrival the visiting officer(s) from the ESF Audit Authority will explain the audit process and will review the information and documentation provided. The audit will then commence. The ESF Audit Authority will liaise regularly with project management throughout the audit.
Where training or other project activity has taken place in another location the ESF Audit Authority may also visit this location.
Conclusion of Audit
The visiting officer(s) from the ESF Audit Authority will meet with Project Management and discuss any findings or issues identified during the course of the audit visit. An Audit letter will be sent to the organisation to formalise the findings and provide additional information on best practice. Project Management will be requested to provide a written response within a specified timeframe to the findings or issues identified in the Audit letter. The response may be incorporated into the ESF Audit Authority's final report. The ESF Audit Authority's final reports are forwarded to the EU Commission.