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Audit: Early Childhood Commission has been accepting invalid police records

Published:Wednesday | November 18, 2015 | 11:45 PM

The Early Childhood Commission (ECC) has reportedly been flouting the law by not carrying out the required number of inspections of the thousands of early childhood institutions across Jamaica. 

It has been revealed that the commission has been accepting invalid police records from employees of the early childhood institutions.

The findings were contained in an activity-based audit on the commission by the Auditor General's Department.

The report was tabled yesterday in the House of Representatives.

 

Jovan Johnson reports:

Under the Early Childhood Regulations 2005, the Early Childhood Commission is required to conduct inspections at least twice yearly for each early childhood institution.

However, the auditor general's department said it reviewed the files for 20 early childhood institutions and found out that only 29 of the minimum 120 inspection reports for the three-year period 2012/2013 to 2014/2015 were completed.

In addition, the department said the commission did not carry out follow-up procedures in a timely manner to ascertain whether the institutions met the timelines given to them to attain certain legal standards.

The report said this failure may have contributed to instances where the conditions of early childhood institutions declined from one inspection period to the next.

READ: Auditor General: Early Childhood Commission failing to issue registration certificates

However, based on the report, the Early Childhood Commission's ability to do its work may be compromised by the limited staff.

The auditor general said as a March 31 this year, there was a ratio of one inspector to 107 institutions and one development officer to 64 institutions in the Commission’s records.

Meanwhile, the report noted that in 2013, the commission extended the validity of police records to five years from one year.

The Commission applied this decision retroactively to police reports from 2007.

But the auditor general's department said its research has revealed that police records issued by the National Security Ministry are valid from the date of issue to a maximum of six months.

Contacted, Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Crime, Glenmore Hinds told our news centre that police records in fact expire one year after they are issued by the Criminal Records Office. 

However, he said entities which request the police record may use the document beyond the one year expiration period.