Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville has today announced that the State Government is commencing a forensic audit of Bellarine Community Health (BCH) after allegations of a misappropriation of funds.

Ms Neville said the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) had written to the Chair of BCH to outline the decision to undertake the audit and that this will involve a detailed examination of the circumstances surrounding the alleged fraud.

The inquiry will look at the alleged misappropriation of funds from the public dental service, and assess whether the risks that led to the alleged fraud of the public dental service could apply to other parts of the organisation.

DHHS expects BCH will cooperate with the investigation.

The audit will:

• Investigate all financial and other transactions related to the alleged misappropriation of funds by a BCH employee;
• Investigate the financial management controls, procedures and systems in place at BCH for both the public dental clinic, and the broader organisation;
• Investigate the operation of appropriate governance controls;
• Investigate risk management and fraud controls;
• Assess the adequacy of the Board and management response to the alleged fraud and ensure fraudulent activity can’t happen in the future;
• Assess compliance of BCH with standards under section 51 of the Health Services Act 1988 (Vic) relating to governance, management, financial management and risk management

The annual general meeting showed there are still significant issues with community confidence in regards to BCH.

This impacts on the ability of the organisation to meet the needs of the community.

The BCH is largely funded by the State Government and Victorian taxpayers and the community of the Bellarine need to be assured that their money is used appropriately.

Quotes attributable to Member for Bellarine Lisa Neville:

“We will continue to press Bellarine Community Health to make the changes needed to rebuild confidence in the community.”

“This audit will look closely at issues relating to financial management within the organisation.”

“We also need to consider whether other organisations are better placed to deliver the services our local residents need.”