Own goal – School employee uses school funds for private gain

Whilst interstate on a netball tour, Candice purchased groceries for her netball team, valued at $1225.

Candice paid for the groceries using a Coles online account.

The online account didn’t belong to Candice. It belonged to the school she worked at.

The netball team was in no way linked to the school Candice worked at.

At her school, Candice handled requests from staff to purchase goods using funds from the school’s account. These payments were then signed off by the school principal.

But when Candice submitted the bill for the netball team’s groceries to her principal, she omitted important details.

When Candice heard the Ombudsman was investigating the misuse of funds at her school, she paid back the $1225.

And on the same day made an additional $2238 deposit into the school account.

Our investigators uncovered this additional payment, discovering other invoices for personal expenses Candice had paid for with school funds.

The Department of Education carried out a misconduct inquiry into the employee and proposed ending their employment. When given an opportunity to respond, Candice abandoned her role.

The Department of Education imposed an employment limitation preventing the employee from working with the Department in any capacity.

The Department also reminded the principal of their responsibilities when authorising payments and provided support to the school to review its financial controls and practices.