Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Venue: Room 29

2:05 pm The meeting commenced in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 7 September 2011

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Culture, Arts and Leisure regarding an investigation into invalid claims by the Ulster Scots Folk Orchestra.

2:08 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

2:10 pm Mr Frew entered the meeting.

The C&AG briefed the Committee on the current inquiries being undertaken by the Audit Office.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to receive a further update on the C&AG’s findings upon the conclusion of his inquiries.

Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Accountability Arrangements for the NICS.

4. Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee was given the C&AG’s assessment of the NIAO reports available for the Committee’s next forward work programme.

2:30 pm Ms McCann entered the meeting.

2:31 pm Mr Frew left the meeting.

2:35 pm Mr Anderson left the meeting.

2:36 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

2:40 pm Mr Frew entered the meeting.

Agreed : The Committee agreed a selection of reports for correspondence and future inquiries.

Meeting on 12 October 2011

Agreed : The Committee agreed to conduct its meeting at the headquarters of NICVA after considering a paper from the Clerk which detailed the indicative costs.

3:06 pm The meeting went into closed session after the C&AG’s initial remarks on Agenda items 5 & 6.

Leaking of the Draft Committee on ‘Reducing Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources - The Farm Nutrient Scheme’

The Chairperson briefed the Committee and expressed his disappointment of the leaking of the draft report.

Agreed : The Committee agreed a draft press release and further agreed to consider the options available to the Committee at its meeting next week to minimise a recurrence of the leaking of Committee Reports.

5. PAC Overview of Resource Accounts

The Committee was briefed by the C&AG on the main findings of the Audit Office Report on ‘Financial Auditing and Reporting – General Report’ regarding departmental resource accounts.

6. Briefing on NIAO Report on ‘Managing Criminal Legal Aid’

Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; Mr Neil Gray, Director; and Ms Cathy Robinson, Senior Auditor; briefed the Committee on the report.

2:54 pm Mr Anderson declared an interest stating that he is a current member of the Committee for Justice.

The witnesses answered a number of questions put by members.

7. Consideration of Draft Committee Report on ‘Reducing Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources - The Farm Nutrient Scheme’

3:59 pm Mr Frew declared an interest stating that he is the current Chairperson of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Committee considered correspondence received from Mr Gerry Lavery, Accounting Officer, DARD sought by the Committee at its meeting on 7 September.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to recall Mr Lavery to give oral evidence at a date to be confirmed in order to clarify the information contained within the response.

8. Any other business.

Mr Dallat informed the Committee of new information pertaining to the Committee’s previous report in to NI Water which he had obtained under FOI.

Agreed : The Committee agreed that Mr Dallat should submit the material to the Clerk, who should provide the Committee with options on that basis.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 21 September 2011 at 2:00 pm in the Senate Chamber.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4:33 pm.

Mr Paul Maskey
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
21 September 2011.

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