January 25th 2024
The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) of the RTÉ Board commissioned Grant Thornton to conduct an independent fact-finding review in relation to Toy Show The Musical, as part of an ongoing and thorough process in addressing issues around management, governance and culture in RTÉ. The review is now complete, and the Report has been furnished to the ARC and to the RTÉ Board.
You can view the report here.
It confirms a significant lapse in oversight of the project.
The Board acknowledged the serious deficiencies now highlighted in the Report at a Board meeting last July and has since taken the necessary steps to ensure there is no repeat of these failures.
The Report finds that Board approval was required for Toy Show the Musical, and it also finds that the formal approval of the Board was neither sought nor provided for.
The Report clearly illustrates that the Board was not kept appropriately informed about the project as it was being developed. External expert advice was ignored. Information was also withheld from the Board. Significant contracts were committed to without the knowledge or approval of the full Board.
The Executive should have been interrogated by the Board on the project, on an ongoing basis and in a much more rigorous fashion.
The commercial risks associated with an undertaking of this nature were grossly underestimated. The project was not appropriately stress tested.
The Report also highlights a failure in generally accepted accounting practices, in that sponsorship was not correctly presented to the Board and all costs were not properly captured and linked to the project.
Since this series of events, the relationship between the Board and the Executive has been redefined and governance structures have been reformed and strengthened.
- Risk assessment is now central in all decision making at Interim Leadership Team level.
- The Board now receives the minutes of all Interim Leadership Team meetings at its scheduled meetings.
- A new formal approval process has been established for significant expenditure projects, which goes through both the Interim Leadership Team and the Board.
- All submissions to the Board relating to expenditure approvals must now include a risk assessment and a business case.
- The level above which Board authorisation is required has also been lowered to €1 million. This applies to sports rights, programme acquisitions, programme commissions and operating expenditure.
We are working with the two Government appointed Expert Advisory Committees – on Governance and Culture and Contractor Fees, Human Resources and other matters – which were announced in July and are anticipated to report in February. We are committed to continuously reviewing processes to ensure that they are in line with best practice.
As Chair of the RTÉ Board I would like to apologise to the public and to the staff of RTÉ. The Board is focused on driving the change necessary to fully restore confidence in the organisation, and to working with Government to establish a sustainable funding model that will ensure that RTÉ can continue to deliver on its important public service media remit.