Part 6: Kura Kaupapa Māori

Schools: Results of the 2012 audits.

In December 2011, we reported on the findings of our review of financial management in kura kaupapa Māori, where most, or all, of the teaching is carried out in te reo Māori.8 In this report, we refer to those schools as kura.

Most of the 72 kura had good policies and processes to manage their finances, comply with legislation, and appropriately manage sensitive expenditure and conflicts of interest. However, the policies and practices in about 20% of kura did not reflect the good practice set out in the guidance that the Ministry provides to schools.

The Ministry told us that it was revising the model financial management policies that it makes available to schools. The revised policies, which the Ministry had planned to publish in December 2011, were intended to include more detailed guidance about sensitive expenditure and delegations. In our December 2011 report, we recommended that the Ministry monitor how effectively kura and other small schools follow and comply with its guidance and, if necessary, provide more targeted guidance.

The Education and Science Committee's report on its May 2012 hearing into our December 2011 report noted that the Ministry had confirmed that it would provide revised guidelines on sensitive expenditure and make it clear that loans to staff are unlawful. The Committee expressed an interest in viewing the revised guidance. It also noted that we would monitor the matter and, if necessary, ask the Ministry to issue targeted advice to the kura in question.

In Education Sector: Results of the 2011 audits (our December 2012 report), we stated that, because of the delay in publishing the model financial management policies, the Ministry was carrying out another round of consultation to ensure that the proposed model policies remained fit for purpose.

We understand that the Ministry plans to issue model financial management policies, including guidelines on sensitive expenditure and delegations, in 2014.

We also stated in our December 2012 report that the Ministry had been exploring appropriate vehicles for producing more targeted guidance for kura. The Ministry has yet to issue more targeted guidance.

The Ministry has said that boards of kura, along with other state schools, will receive more funding for professional development and support for their governance functions, including financial governance. The New Zealand School Trustees Association will be expected to work closely with Te Rūnanga Nui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa and Ngā Kura ā Iwi (which both provide additional specific support to kura). The Ministry has completed contract negotiations with these two organisations to provide support and training to kura boards. Work is under way with the contracted entities, with a view to the Ministry putting guidelines in place later in 2014.

We had intended to ask the auditors of kura to carry out a follow-up exercise as part of their 2013 audits to assess whether there had been any improvement in practice. However, we deferred that exercise because the Ministry has not yet issued its guidance.

It is important that kura have an opportunity to consider and act on the revised guidance before our auditors do any further review.

8: Education sector: Results of the 2010/11 audits.

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