Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 15 February 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 8 February 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from the Northern Ireland Audit Office

The Committee noted an update from C&AG regarding allegations relating to the development of a HR/Payroll system within the Education and Library Boards.

Agreed:  the Committee agreed that C&AG report back on any developments.

Correspondence from Mr Ian Houston

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Ian Houston regarding Northern Ireland Prompt Payment Olympics.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward this information to NIAO and reply to Mr Houston.

Correspondence from Further Education Network

The Committee noted correspondence from the Further Education Network in relation to an Assembly Question and related issues within North West Regional College.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the query to the Committee of Employment and Learning for its consideration.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the background information to NIAO.

Clerk’s Brief re Whistleblower Process

The Clerk briefed the Committee on the processes relating to the handling of correspondence received from whistleblowers.  Members noted the Clerk’s brief.

2:21 pm Mr Easton left the meeting.

Correspondence from Department of Finance and Personnel  

The Committee noted correspondence from Ms Fiona Hamill, TOA providing the information sought by the Committee in relation to the MOR on ‘Managing Criminal Legal Aid’.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the information to the Justice Committee for its consideration.

Correspondence from Department of Employment and Learning

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Alan Shannon, Accounting Officer, DEL in response to the Committee’s request for assurances sought relating to concerns of the handling of a whistleblower details within South Eastern Regional College. 

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to acknowledge Mr Shannon’s letter and request to be updated as soon as possible on the Department’s detailed assessment.

4. NIAO Estimate 2012-2013

NIAO officials Mr Kieran Donnelly, Comptroller and Auditor General and Mr Joe Campbell, Audit Manager briefed the Committee on the estimate.  

Members put a number of questions to Mr Kieran Donnelly, C&AG.

Agreed:  The Committee approved the proposed estimate and agreed to write to the Audit Committee and reflect this decision.

2:29 pm The meeting went into closed session.

5. Issues Arising from the Oral Evidence Session on NIAO Report ‘Use of Consultants’

The Committee considered an issues paper relating to the previous week’s evidence session.

2:31 Mr Easton entered the meeting.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to proceed with the drafting of the report on the terms outlined in the issues paper and additional proposals made by members.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to write to the Department to request further information.

3:00 Mr Easton declared an interest stating that he is the Assembly Private Secretary for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. 

3:01 Mr Easton left the meeting.

3:02 Mr Anderson left the meeting.

3:07 Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

6. Consideration of Draft Committee Report on ‘The Use of Locum Doctors by Northern Ireland Hospitals’

The Committee considered the second draft of its report on ‘The Use of Locum Doctors by Northern Ireland Hospitals’ 

Paragraphs 22 – 23 read and agreed.

Paragraph 24 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 31 read and agreed.

Paragraph 32 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 33 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 35 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 42 – 43 read and agreed.

Consideration of the Executive Summary

Paragraph 1 – 17 read and agreed.

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

Agreed: The Committee ordered the report to be printed.

Mr Murphy left the meeting 3:25pm

7. Any other business

NI Water

The Chairperson made the Committee aware of an update from NIAO on papers submitted previously by a Committee member regarding its inquiry into Northern Ireland Water, to which the member had sought a further reply.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the papers should be circulated to members after the meeting.  

Bioscience Technology Institute

The Chairperson informed the Committee that the follow-up information requested following the evidence session had been received and was quite substantial.  The Chairperson suggested that members meet at a suitable time next week to read over the documentation.  

Agreed: The Committee agreed that an opportunity be provided before next week’s meeting for members to read the BTI documents.

7. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 2:00 pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3:29 pm.

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

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