Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: Wednesday, 06 June 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

2:00 pm The meeting opened in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 30 May 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Finance and Personnel attaching correspondence from the Department confirming its intention to introduce the Budget (No.2) Bill (NI) 2012 to the Assembly on the 18 June 2012.

The bill aims to regularise Excess Votes within DCAL and DSD as recommended by the Committee in its Excess Votes Report 2010-11.

Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Finance and Personnel attaching correspondence from the department detailing the current position of outstanding Post-Project Evaluations for each department.

Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Stephen Peover, Accounting Officer, Department of Finance and Personnel attaching the findings of a review of programme and project activity undertaken to complete the MOR on the Committee’s inquiry on ‘Review of the Gateway Process’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Finance and Personnel for its consideration.

Correspondence from the Committee for Justice

2:13 pm Mr Anderson declared an interest stating that he is a member of the Committee for Justice.

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Justice attaching a copy of the Hansard following its evidence session with officials on the qualification of Legal Services Commission accounts previously reported on by the Public Accounts Committee in its inquiry on ‘Managing Criminal Legal Aid’.

Correspondence from Save the Mid

2:15 pm Mr Easton declared an interest stating that he is the Assembly Private Secretary for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Hugh McCloy, Chair, Save the Mid highlighting issues arising from the Rutter & Hinds Report on ‘Unscheduled Care Services’.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed, given its remit to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Health, Social Services and Public Safety for its consideration.

Correspondence from the Department of Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Stephen Peover, Accounting Officer, Department of Finance and Personnel relating to the accuracy of figures quoted in a recent debate.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to Mr Peover to clarify the initial issue raised by Mr Dallat.

2:21 pm Mr Hussey entered the meeting.

Correspondence from the Committee for Regional Development

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Regional Development relating to the introduction of a revised management statement/financial memorandum between DRD as sponsor department and NI Water.

The Department undertook to complete this in its response to the MOR on the Committee’s previous inquiry on ‘Procurement and Governance in NI Water’.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to seek an update on the Department’s progress to its commitments in the MOR; to clarify the position regarding the potential conflicts of interest in the role of the accounting officer against the requirements under companies legislation; and to submit outstanding queries on this issue.

Agreed: The Committee further agreed to request MOR updates and submit outstanding queries to departmental accounting officers on the MORs on Adult Literacy and Numeracy and Improving the Quality of Care in Homes for Older People.

Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Finance and Personnel seeking a response to its discussion paper arising from the recommendations from the ‘Executive’s Review of Financial Processes’.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that the secretariat should formulate a draft response in conjunction with the Audit Office for its consideration at its meeting on 20 June 2012.

Correspondence from Sir Gerry Loughran re BTI report

The Chairperson read into the record a letter from Sir Gerry Loughran to record the period of his employment as DETI Permanent Secretary against inaccuracies in departmental information in the Committee’s report on the Bioscience and Technology Institute.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to incorporate the correspondence within the electronic copy of the report on the Committee website for completeness.

4. MOR on the Use of Locum Doctors by NI Hospitals

The Committee considered the Memorandum of Reply to the Committee’s report on ‘The Use of Locum Doctors by NI Hospitals’.

Members put a number of questions to Mr John McKibbin, Acting Treasury Officer of Accounts, Department of Finance and Personnel.

2:33 pm Mr Murphy entered the meeting.

2:36 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

Agreed:  Mr McKibbin undertook to respond in writing to clarify the points raised by the Committee.

Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; Mr Eddie Bradley, Assistant Auditor General; and Mrs Claire Dornan, Audit Manager; briefed the Committee on the report.

2:48 pm The meeting went into closed session.

5. Draft Forward Work Programme

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

2:55 pm Mr Hussey declared an interest stating that he is a member of the Policing Board for Northern Ireland and Chairperson of its Audit Committee.

3:13 pm Mr Hussey left the meeting.

3:20 pm Mr Hussey entered the meeting.

3:32 pm Mr Anderson and Mr Girvan left the meeting.

3:43 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

3:47 pm Mr Hussey left the meeting.

4:07 pm Mr Murphy left the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the NIAO report ‘School Design and Delivery’ to the Committee for Education for its consideration.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to host a proposed visit by the Public Audit Committee from the Welsh Assembly after the summer recess.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the secretariat should develop options for a best practice visit to another legislature in the autumn term 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to conduct a take-note debate on the Committee’s work in plenary before summer recess. 

Agreed: The Committee decided and agreed the timing and order of the reports it will consider in autumn 2012 and January 2013.

6. Consideration of Draft Committee Report on ‘The Transfer of Former Military and Security Sites to the NI Executive and Ilex Report and Accounts’

The Committee considered its draft report on ‘The Transfer of Former Military and Security Sites to the NI Executive and Ilex Report and Accounts’.

Paragraphs 1 - 7 read and agreed.

Paragraph 8 read, amended and agreed.

4:12 pm Mr Girvan left the meeting.

Paragraph 9 read and agreed.

Paragraph 10 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 11 -22 read and agreed.

Paragraph 23 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 24 – 27 read and agreed.

Paragraphs 29 – 30 read and agreed.

4:20 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

Paragraphs 31 - 37 read and agreed.

Paragraph 38 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 39 – 50 read and agreed.

4:28 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

4:30 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

Consideration of the Executive Summary

Paragraph 1 – 7 read and agreed.

Agreed: The Committee agreed the correspondence to be included within the report.

Agreed: The Committee ordered the report to be printed.

8. Any other business

Correspondence to the Head of the Civil Service

The Committee considered a draft letter to Dr Malcolm McKibbin in response to the Committee’s meeting on 30 May 2012.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence subject to one agreed amendment.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 at 2:00 pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4:43 pm.

Mr Paul Maskey MP
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
20 June 2012

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