Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

2:03 pm The meeting opened in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 6 June 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Stephen Peover, Accounting Officer, Department of Finance and Personnel regarding the roles of the Public Accounts Committee and the Audit Committee.

Correspondence from the Department for Employment and Learning

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Alan Shannon, Accounting Officer, Department for Employment and Learning providing an update on South East Regional College.

2.08pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel signalling a delay with laying of the Memorandum of Reply in respect of The Use of External Consultants by Northern Ireland Departments.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider the MOR at its meeting on 4 July 2012.

Draft letter to the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee considered a draft letter to the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding the Executive’s Review of Financial Processes.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to issue the letter to the Committee for Finance and Personnel.

Correspondence from the Department for Regional Development

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr David Orr, Accounting Officer, Department for Regional asking for more time to respond to the Committee’s letter of 15 June on the MORs ‘Performance in NI Water’ and Procurement and Governance in NI Water’.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to Mr Orr’s request and to consider his reply after the summer recess.

4. Briefing on Northern Ireland Audit Office Reports on Statements of Rate Levy and Collection (2009-2010) & (2010-11)

2.14pm Mr Easton left the meeting.

2.16pm Mr Murphy entered the meeting.

The Committee considered the above reports and updated information from the Department of Finance and Personnel on Statements of Rate Levy.

The Committee also considered a briefing paper from the NIAO and correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel regarding a recent briefing on rating.

The Committee noted receipt subject to embargo of the NIAO report “The National Fraud Initiative: Northern Ireland”.

Mr Kieran Donnelly Comptroller and Auditor General; Ms Louise Mason, Assistant Auditor General; Richard Emerson, Audit Manager; and Joe Campbell, Audit Manager briefed the Committee on the reports.

2.18pm The meeting went into closed session after the C&AG’s initial remarks.

The witnesses answered a number of questions put by members.

2.33pm Mr Girvan left the meeting.

2.34pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

2.45pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

2.50pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

2.59pm Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.

3.02pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that due to celebrations in the Stormont Estate on Wednesday 27 June 2012, the evidence session scheduled on this subject would be held on Thursday 28 June at 2 pm in the Senate Chamber.

5. Committee Report on The Transfer of Former Military and Security Sites to the Northern Ireland Executive and Ilex Report and Accounts.

The Committee considered a draft press release on its forthcoming report on “The Transfer of Former Military and Security Sites to the Northern Ireland Executive, and the Ilex Accounts 2010-11’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to issue the press release as drafted.

6. Committee Report on Safeguarding Northern Ireland’s Listed Buildings.

The Committee considered correspondence relating to the above Committee report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to factor this correspondence into the Committee report.

7. Draft Forward Work Programme

The Committee considered a draft forward work programme for September to December 2012.

3.10pm Mr Hussey declared an interest as a member of the Policing Board and the Chair of the Audit Committee of the Policing Board.

Agreed: The Committee Clerk would seek guidance on Mr Hussey’s position in relation to a forthcoming item of business on the Committee work programme.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to write to the relevant Accounting Officers in relation to forthcoming Committee business.

8. Any other business

The Committee noted correspondence from the Chairperson of the Committee on Standards and Privileges on the publication of its “Report on the Unauthorised Disclosure of a draft report of the Public Accounts Committee”.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to consider the contents of the report and review information handling in light of these, in due course.

The Chairperson thanked the Committee Clerk and team for their work in providing support to him and to the Committee, and thanked Members for their hard work and support during his four years as Committee Chairperson.

Members of the Committee thanked the Chairperson for all his work and effective leadership of the Committee and wished him well for the future.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting will be held on Thursday 28 June 2012 at 2pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.15 pm.

Ms Michaela Boyle MLA
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
28 June 2012

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