Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 01 February 2012

Venue: Room 29

2:01 pm The meeting opened in public session.

1.  Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2:02 pm Mr McLaughlin entered the meeting.

2:03 pm Mr Anderson and Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

2:04 pm Mr Murphy entered the meeting.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 25 January 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Committee noted an update from Mr Gerry Lavery, Accounting Officer, Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on the Department’s progress against the commitments it undertook in the MOR on the  Committee’s ‘Control of Bovine Tuberculosis’ report.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to clarify some information contained within the response.

Correspondence from Dr Malcolm McKibbin and Mr Gerry Lavery

The Committee noted correspondence from Dr Malcolm McKibbin Head of the Civil Service and Mr Gerry Lavery, Accounting Officer, Department of Agriculture in response to concerns raised by the Committee in its inquiry into ‘Reducing Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources – The Farm Nutrient Management Scheme’.

2:28 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

2:30 pm Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.

The Chairperson informed members that a note of his meeting with the Head of the Civil Service and the Accounting Officer of the Department of Finance and Personnel was being prepared and would be circulated to members with next week’s papers.

Correspondence re Bioscience Technology Institute

The Committee noted correspondence sent anonymously highlighting concerns over the level of oversight of the Bioscience Technology Institute following the Committee’s evidence session on 18 January 2012.

A member advised the Committee that they were also in receipt of correspondence from a whistleblower pertaining to the Committee’s inquiry.

Agreed: The Committee agree to forward the information raised to the Comptroller and Auditor General to investigate the issues and report back to the Committee.

4. Memorandum of Reply

2:53 pm Mr Anderson declared an interest stating that he is a current member of the Committee for Justice.

The Committee considered the Memorandum of Reply to the Committee’s report on ‘Managing Criminal Legal Aid’.

Members put a number of questions to Ms Fiona Hamill, Treasury Officer of Accounts, Department of Finance and Personnel.

Agreed:  Ms Hamill undertook to clarify and respond in writing to the points raised by the Committee.

5. Briefing on the NIAO Report on ‘Use of External Consultants by Northern Ireland Departments: Follow-up Report’

Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General; Mr Eddie Bradley, Assistant Auditor General; and Mrs Joan McClelland, Senior Auditor; briefed the Committee on the report.

3:06 pm Mr McQuillan left the meeting.

3:09 pm The meeting went into closed session after the C&AG’s initial remarks.

3:10 pm Mr Dallat left the meeting.

3:11 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

3:11 pm Mr Dallat entered the meeting.

3:15 pm Mr Copeland and Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.

3:32 pm Mr Anderson left the meeting.

3:38 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

The witnesses answered a number of questions put by members.

6. Any other business

University of Ulster, Jordanstown

The Chairperson briefed the Committee on an invitation to meet Management and Corporate Governance students from the University of Ulster, Jordanstown.

7. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 8 February 2012 at 2:00 pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3:45 pm.

Mr Paul Maskey MP MLA
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
8 February 2012

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