§ MR. BUCHANAN
asked the Vice President of the Council, Whether, inasmuch as the Report for the year ending Whitsunday 1881 by the Accountant for Scotland to the Scotch Education Department has only been laid upon the Table on the 21st November 1882, he will take steps to have future Annual Reports presented at an earlier date?
§ MR. MUNDELLA
The 49th section of the Education Act of 1872 directs that the accounts of the school boards in Scotland, for years ending Whitsunday, should be transmitted to the accountant on the 1st of January following. Very frequently they are not sent in for three or four months after this date, and sometimes without vouchers. These accounts, nearly 1,000 in number, have to be examined and reported on by the accountant, and in past years his Report has been presented to Parliament some 16 or 17 months after the date—January 1930 1—at which they were due in Edinburgh. My attention was called to this delay in the early part of the Session by the hon. and gallant Member for Kincardine (Sir George Balfour), and a Circular was issued to the school boards requesting that their accounts might be sent in with greater punctuality. This year, by great exertion on the part of the acting accountant, the Report has been presented within 11 months, five or six months earlier than heretofore; and though every effort will be made to insure the appearance of these Reports at an earlier date, I cannot hold out much hope that the time required for a careful examination of the numerous and intricate accounts can, as the law now stands, be much reduced. The question of the audit of the accounts of Public Boards in Scotland has been, and is still, under consideration by the Government.