Minutes of Proceedings
Date: Wednesday, 20 February 2013
Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings
2:02 pm The meeting opened in public session.
Apologies are listed above.
2:03 pm Mr Clarke and Mr Girvan entered the meeting.
2. Minutes of the meeting on 13 February 2013
Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.
3. Matters Arising
Correspondence from Mr John Ringland
The Committee correspondence from Mr John Ringland alleging fraud at Lisburn Technical College.
The Committee was briefed by the Comptroller and Auditor General on the issues highlighted by Mr Ringland.
2:11 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee accepted C&AG's assessment that this well-rehearsed case was not an issue of fraud and that further investigation would not constitute a prudent use of resources. The Committee also agreed to forward the correspondence to the Department for Employment and Learning to bring to its attention certain inconsistencies.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that the secretariat should establish what guidelines are followed by other legislatures in prioritising whistleblower work, for Committee consideration at a future meeting.
Correspondence from the Assembly Commission
The Committee noted correspondence copied to it from Mr William Hay, Chairperson, Assembly Commission to Mr Alastair Ross, Chairperson, Committee on Standards and Privileges highlighting the Commission's consideration of the report on 'The Unauthorised Disclosure of a Draft Report of the Public Accounts Committee'.
The Committee considered a paper from the Clerk setting out the options available to it regarding the circulation and data-marking consideration of committee meeting packs.
2:29 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.
2:30 pm Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to lift the restrictions it had placed on access to sensitive papers and suspend reading room arrangements, in light of strengthened procedures described in the correspondence.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that routine meeting packs should continue to be distributed within the current service standards.
Agreed: The Committee agreed that packs containing sensitive or confidential information including draft committee reports should be distributed at the earliest opportunity when members are available to sign for their receipt.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to Mr Ross to acknowledge the letter and the work done by Standards and Privileges Committee at its request, and to copy this to the Speaker.
2:42 pm Mr McKay entered the meeting.
Correspondence from the Northern Ireland Audit Office
The Committee noted correspondence from the Northern Ireland Audit Office providing detail sought by the Committee following consideration of the Audit Office estimate for 2013-14.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Audit Committee for information.
4. DFP Annual Theft and Fraud Report
The Committee considered correspondence from Ms Fiona Hamill, Treasury Officer of Accounts, Department of Finance and Personnel attaching the 'Annual Theft and Fraud Report 2011-12'.
2:57 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.
3:04 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.
Agreed: Following discussion of the report the Committee agreed to write to invite Ms Hamill to a future meeting for a comprehensive briefing on the report.
3:17 pm The meeting went into closed session.
5. Issues Paper on 'Invest NI: A Performance Review'
The Committee considered and developed an issues paper relating to the evidence session held on 'Invest NI: A Performance Review'.
6. Consideration of Draft Committee Report on 'Northern Ireland Housing Executive: Management of Response Maintenance Contracts'
The Committee considered its draft report on 'Northern Ireland Housing Executive: Management of Response Maintenance Contracts'.
Paragraphs 1 - 5 read and agreed.
Paragraph 6 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 7 – 10 read and agreed.
3:45 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.
Paragraph 11 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 12 – 20 read and agreed.
Paragraphs 21 – 22 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 23 – 29 read and agreed.
Paragraphs 23 – 25 read and agreed.
3:52 pm Mr Dallat left the meeting.
Paragraphs 23 – 29 read and agreed.
Paragraphs 26 – 29 read and agreed.
Paragraph 30 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 31 – 33 read and agreed.
Paragraph 34 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 35 – 36 read and agreed.
Paragraph 37 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 38 – 40 read and agreed.
Paragraph 41 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 42 – 43 read and agreed.
4:09 pm Mr Rogers left the meeting.
Paragraphs 44 – 46 read and agreed.
4:11 pm Mr McKay left the meeting.
Paragraphs 47 – 48 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 49 – 54 read and agreed.
Paragraph 55 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 56 – 59 read and agreed.
Paragraph 60 – 62 read amended and agreed.
New paragraph added.
Paragraph 63 read, amended and agreed.
Paragraphs 64 – 71 read and agreed.
Paragraph 72 read, amended and agreed.
Consideration of the Executive Summary
Paragraph 1 – 7 read and agreed as per the main report.
Agreed: The Committee agreed the correspondence to be included within the report.
Agreed: The Committee ordered the report to be printed.
6. Updated forward work programme
The Chairperson drew members' attention to the updated forward work programme.
The Chairperson briefed the Committee on a proposed visit to the Public Accounts
Committee, National Assembly of Wales.
The visit would follow up on the Welsh PAC's visit to the Assembly in September 2012 looking at best practices and comparative approaches taken in the course of the Committee's work.
Agreed: The Committee agreed to conduct the proposed visit on 18 – 19 March 2013.
The Committee agreed to consider this agenda item at its meeting on 27 February 2013 due to loss of quorum.
8. Any other business
There was no other business.
4:43 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.
9. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 27 February 2013 at 2:00 pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4:45 pm.
Ms Michaela Boyle
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
27 February 2013