The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 26 September 2012

Venue: Room 29, Parliament Buildings

2:08 pm The meeting opened in public session. 

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 19 September 2012

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed. 

2:05 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence re Casement Park

The Committee noted anonymous correspondence sent to Mr Michael Copeland MLA regarding the tendering process and decisions relating to the appointment of designers to work on the redevelopment of Casement Park.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the correspondence to the Audit Office who undertook to factor the query into his financial audit of the Stadiums project in the medium term.

Draft response to Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister

The Committee considered and agreed a draft letter to the Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding its legislative proposals for the Assembly Ombudsman for Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Commissioner for Complaints.

2:14 pm Mr Girvan left the meeting.

2:16 pm Mr Girvan entered the meeting.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to forward the letter as drafted.

Correspondence from Mr John Dallat MLA

The Committee noted correspondence copied to it by Mr John Dallat highlighting concerns over procurement practices in the South East Education and Library Board.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to receive an update from the C&AG upon the conclusion of his investigation.

NIAO Report on Police Service for Northern Ireland – Use of Agency Staff

The Chairperson raised a point for discussion on the Audit Office’s forthcoming report.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to consider this in closed session.

4. End of Session Report 2011 - 2012

The Committee considered a draft copy of its end of session report for 2011 – 2012.

Pages 1 – 13 read and agreed.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed to publish the report on its webpage.

5. Memorandum of Reply

The Committee considered the memorandum of reply to the Committee’s previous reports on the ‘Uptake of Benefits by Pensioners’, ‘The Bioscience and Technology Institute’ and ‘The Transfer of Former Military Security Sites to the Northern Ireland Executive and Ilex Accounts 2010 – 2011’.

2:35 pm Mr Anderson and Mr McQuillan entered the meeting.

2:50 pm Mr Copeland left the meeting.

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

Ms Hamill undertook to clarify some information contained in the MORs.

2:52 pm The meeting went into closed session.

6. Any other business

NIAO Report on Police Service for Northern Ireland – Use of Agency Staff

The Committee discussed the timing of publication of the Audit Office’s forthcoming report on ‘Police Service for Northern Ireland – Use of Agency Staff’ on which the Committee will take evidence at its meeting on 10 October 2012. Mr McLaughlin noted that the inquiry had originated with Policing Board members who would therefore have an interest in discussing the matter at the Board with the PSNI accounting officer, Matt Baggott.

The Committee noted that the Northern Ireland Policing Board was due to meet the Committee’s witness Mr Baggott at a meeting before the Committee’s evidence session.

The Comptroller and Auditor General advised that it would in fact be feasible to publish before the Policing Board meeting.

2:57 pm Mr Copeland entered the meeting.

The Committee considered its founding standing order, its statutory primacy over reports of the C&AG and the constraints on witnesses imposed to enforce that primacy. The Committee noted that without prejudice to its primacy on reports of the C&AG, unusually, another body had a governance interest in this matter.

Agreed:  The Committee agreed that while the matter might be aired at the Policing Board meeting, existing protocols to restrict comment by witnesses (DAO1/11) should nevertheless be adhered to.

Agreed: That the Clerk should write to the Northern Ireland Policing Board to clarify this.

Consumer Council Annual Report and Accounts 2011 – 2012.

The Chairperson briefed the Committee that the Consumer Council had published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2011 – 2012 and that a hard copy was available in the Committee Office to view.

9. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 3 October 2012 at 2:00 pm in Room 29, Parliament Buildings.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3:13 pm.

Ms Michaela Boyle
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
3 October 2012

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