Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 02 May 2012

Venue: Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings

2:02 pm The meeting opened in public session.

1.  Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 25 April 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed subject to one amendment.

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from a whistleblower re Prompt Payments

The Committee noted correspondence copied to it from a whistleblower to the Northern Ireland Audit Office highlighting concerns about the prompt payment performance of arm’s-length bodies of the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

2:05 pm Mr Easton declared an interest stating the he is the Assembly Private Secretary for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

2:07 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

The C&AG told the Committee that his team is currently working on scope for prompt payment improvement across the public sector and undertook to report the outcome to the Committee.

Correspondence from the Northern Ireland Audit Office

The Committee noted a reply from the C&AG to a query by Mr John Dallat relating to the Committee’s previous inquiry into NI Water.

Mr Dallat informed the Committee that he had subsequently raised further issues, and the C&AG undertook to consider the issues raised and come back to the Committee if anything further occurred.

Advice from the Clerk of Standards

The Committee noted a memorandum from the Clerk of Standards providing advice on restrictions on participation by members in Assembly proceedings on the basis of an interest they hold.

Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from Ms Fiona Hamill, Treasury Officer of Accounts providing the additional information sought by the Committee following its consideration of the MOR on ‘Creating Effective Partnerships between Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector’.

4. 5th Composite Report

Correspondence from the Department for Regional Development

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr David Orr, Accounting Officer providing the Post Project Evaluation (PPE) relating to the Northern Ireland Audit Office report on ‘Improving the Strategic Roads Network – The M1/Westlink and M2 Improvement Schemes’; and considered a briefing on the progress made.

2:17 pm Mr Murphy entered the meeting.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to factor this into its composite report and to consider a draft of the composite report at a future meeting.

2:20 pm The meeting went into closed session.

5. Issues Arising from the Oral Evidence Session on ‘The Transfer of Former Military Sites to the Northern Ireland Executive’ and ‘Report on ILEX Accounts 2010-11’

The Committee considered an issues paper relating to the previous week’s evidence session.

2:46 pm Mr Girvan left the meeting.

3:02 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

3:09 pm Mr Dallat left the meeting.

3:15 pm Mr Dallat entered the meeting.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to proceed with the drafting of the report on the basis of its discussion and the issues paper.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed to refer to the Audit Office a whistleblower allegation in relation to Ilex and to factor the findings into its report if material.

6. Draft Committee Report on Bioscience Technology Institute

The Committee gave further consideration to its draft report.

3:21 pm Mr Murphy left the meeting.

3:27 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

3:30 pm Mr Copeland and Mr Murphy entered the meeting.

3:30 pm Mr Anderson, Mr Girvan and Mr Hussey left the meeting.

3:31 pm Mr Easton entered the meeting.

3:32 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

3:44 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

3:45 pm Mr Copeland and Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

Paragraphs 1, 19, 24, 28 and 32 read and agreed.

Paragraph 33 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 43, 45, 46 read and agreed.

3:47 pm Mr Murphy left the meeting.

Paragraph 47 read and agreed.

3:46 pm Mr Murphy entered the meeting.

Paragraph 48 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 49 – 51 read and agreed.

Paragraph 52 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 53, 55, 56 and 60 read and agreed.

Consideration of the Executive Summary

Agreed: The Committee agreed to reflect the amendments to the body of the report in the Executive Summary.

4:15 pm Mr Dallat left the meeting.

4:17 pm Mr Murphy left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee considered a correspondence schedule from the Clerk and agreed the correspondence to be included within the report.

Agreed: The Committee ordered the report to be printed.

7.  Consideration of draft Committee Report on Excess Votes

The Committee considered the draft Committee Report on Excess Votes (Northern Ireland) 2010 – 2011.

4:22 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

4:25 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

4:29 pm Mr Girvan left the meeting

Paragraphs 1 – 18 read and agreed.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the summary of the report and ordered it to be printed.

8. Press Release ‘Uptake of Benefits by Pensioners’

The Committee considered a draft press release on its forthcoming report on ‘Uptake of Benefits by Pensioners’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the press release as drafted.

9. Any other business

There was no other business.

10. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 9 May 2012 at 2:00 pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4:34 pm.

Mr Paul Maskey MP
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
9 May 2012

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