Committee Questions Officials on Financial Procedures
Date: Wednesday, 06 July 2011
Reference: COFMDFM 03/11/12
The Committee for the Office of the First Minister/deputy First Minister has quizzed Departmental officials about their financial procedures at an extraordinary meeting held today in Parliament Buildings.
The emergency meeting was called after the Comptroller and Auditor General ‘qualified’ the Office of the First Minister/deputy First Minister’s (OFMDFM) resource accounts for 2010-11. He did this by issuing opinions of concern over certain areas of Departmental spending including disbursements to arm’s length bodies and procurement practices.
Chairperson of the Committee, Tom Elliott MLA said: “I am personally very surprised that OFMDFM has fallen so short in terms of acceptable practices and having monitoring systems in place. Given these financially constrained times, it is crucial that all departments follow best practice. We have a right to expect that OFMDFM should be giving a lead to other departments as they fund arm’s length bodies and undertake public procurement.
“One of the issues that most concerns us is that the Department’s procedures—both financial and with regard to procurement—were flagged up as unacceptable in 2008.
“The Department has informed the Committee of new systems it has put in place to achieve best practice. The Committee welcomes these new checks and will monitor them as they bed in.”
Notes to Editors:
Committee Chairperson: Tom Elliott MLA (UUP)
Deputy Chairperson: Chris Lyttle MLA (All.)
Trevor Clarke MLA (DUP)
Colum Eastwood MLA (SDLP)
William Humphrey MLA (DUP)
Alex Maskey MLA (SF)
Francie Molloy MLA (SF)
Sandra Overend (UUP)
George Robinson MLA (DUP)
Caitríona Ruane MLA (SF)
Jimmy Spratt MLA (DUP)