Highly Critical Audit of Cardinal Wiseman School
Former management of Greenford school exposed for financial mismanagement
Governors at the Cardinal Wiseman RC School in Greenford are seeking to reassure parents and teachers after the publication of a highly critical audit report.
It was commissioned after former head teacher Paul Patrick was cleared of fraud charges by the police in August.
He had been arrested in April at his home in Southgate and remained suspended until his resignation on January 21. Mr Patrick has since resigned from the school.
The damning report highlights a catalogue of financial problems many of which centre on the school's link to Cuba.
Between October 2005 and February 2009 13 visits were made to the Caribbean country. The audit accuses the school of failing to search for the cheapest option to fund the trips, using the same provider each time and not having all the invoices authorised.
The report says Paul Patrick claimed more than £176,460 in expenses for items such as mobile phone bills, meals, taxi fares many of which had no receipts.
The former headteacher also claimed £48,880 on top of his salary for work done for the National College for School Leadership even though the money technically belonged to the school and payments were not authorised by governors.
Ealing Council, which carried out the audit, gave a verdict of no confidence in the school's financial management -the worst rating possible.
In a statement Maggie Pound, Chair of Governors said:
''You will have seen in the local press the claim that Paul Patrick had no opportunity to contribute or defend himself. This is incorrect as he had the draft copy for 4 weeks and his comments were taken into account by the auditor before producing the final document. He chose to resign before his scheduled meeting with the investigator had taken place.''
The report revealed serious control weaknesses and a number of recommendations were raised which required immediate attention
Maggie Pound said work was already underway:
''Many areas have already been addressed but this has been difficult whilst staff involved did not know the reasoning for the changes we were requesting. It is hoped that by making this document public we can deal with issues with some transparency.
There is every reason to be confident that the school will continue to flourish. Michael Kiely and the Senior Leadership Team have coped extremely well, they are also supported by extraordinarily dedicated staff who will continue to ensure our students excel.''
February 2nd, 2010