Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 19 September 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 12 September 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed subject to one amendment.

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from Bangor resident

The Committee noted correspondence from a Bangor highlighting concerns over planning approval that has been granted near his home.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed since this matter does not fall within its remit to forward it to the Committee for the Environment for its consideration.

2:05 pm Mr McKay entered the meeting.

Correspondence from a Whistleblower re DEL

The Committee noted correspondence sent to the Chairperson from a whistleblower relating to a bursary scheme in respect of a Management and Leadership Development programme within the Department for Employment and Learning.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to Audit Office.  The C&AG undertook to examine the allegations and report his findings to the Committee in due course.

Correspondence received re Domiciliary Care

The Committee noted correspondence sent to the Chairperson which alleges that public money has been wasted as a result of a tender opportunity.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to Audit.  The C&AG undertook to examine the tendering process followed and report his findings to the Committee.

Correspondence re Tender for Fire Protection Equipment

The Committee noted from correspondence from a contractor highlighting concerns over the transparency of a recent tender exercise it submitted a bid for to provide fire protection equipment to Translink.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to Audit Office.  The C&AG undertook to query the lack of transparency in the tender specification and other matters and to report his findings to the Committee.

2:21 pm The meeting went into closed session.

4. Issues Arising from the Oral Evidence Session on ‘NIHE Management of Response Maintenance Contracts’

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

2:51 pm Mr Hussey left the meeting.

2:53 pm Mr Easton left the meeting.

2:57 pm Mr Hussey entered the meeting.

3:07 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

The Committee also considered FOI material introduced by Mr Hussey and Mr Haire’s commentary on the correspondence included in the material.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to continue to consider calling additional witnesses in this inquiry.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek from DSD an additional document mentioned in the correspondence.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to factor this discussion into the drafting of its report and to reconsider the issues paper when written evidence is received.

Agreed: The Committee reflected on feedback from the Public Accounts Committee of Wales and agreed to seek proposals for scrutiny development work from the Secretariat.

5. Clarification of MORs

The Committee considered an options paper which set out the background to the formulation and handling of Memoranda of Reply and comparative approaches within neighbouring legislatures.

3:21 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

3:26 pm Mr McKay left the meeting.

3:46 pm Mr Hussey left the meeting.

3:54 pm Mr McKay entered the meeting.

Agreed: The Committee agreed an amalgam of options c) and d) in seeking answers on the MORs on NI Water, Adult Literacy and Numeracy and Quality of Care in Homes for Older People. The Committee further agreed to a programme of comparative work on these and other matters.

6. Any other business

The Chairperson outlined the issues arising from a recent meeting with the Head of the Civil Service which she attended with the deputy Chairperson.

7. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 at 2:00 pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4:03 pm.

Ms Michaela Boyle 
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
26 September 2012

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