§ MR. WHITLEY (Halifax)
To ask the Secretary to the Board of Education whether his attention has been called to the report of the district auditor, Mr. Wraith, on the county education accounts, for the year 1903–4, of the county of Surrey; whether he intends to take any action in view of the irregularities and illegalities disclosed by the district auditor in these accounts; and whether the payments disallowed by the district auditor have been refunded; and, if not, will he explain why this has not been done.
(Answered by Mr. Gerald Balfour.) I have seen the report referred to, which relates to the audit of the accounts of the county council for the first year in which the Education Act, 1902, was in operation in the county. Many of the irregularities to which attention was drawn by the auditor related to matters arising out of the transition from the old to the new arrangements, and will not be likely to recur. A certain number of the irregularities occurred in connection with the accounts of managers of elementary schools to whom the receipt and payment of moneys on behalf of the education authority had been entrusted. With regard to these I may state that the education committee, after consideration of the auditor's report, have drawn up some detailed instructions 972 with a view of securing that in future the financial transactions and accounts of the managers shall be properly controlled and supervised. The committee have applied to the Local Government Board for their assistance in settling these instructions, and their proposals are receiving careful consideration. The auditor made a number of disallowances, and in seventeen instances the amount of the payment disallowed has been refunded by the managers of the school. In two cases it is understood that an appeal against the auditor's decision will be made to the Local Government Board, and in the remaining six cases appeals have already been made to the Board, who are giving consideration to them.