Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 07 September 2011

Venue: Room 29

2:00 pm The meeting commenced in open session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are listed above.

2. Minutes of the meeting on 29 June 2011

Agreed: The minutes of the last meeting were agreed.

3. Matters Arising

Correspondence from Sir Bruce Robinson

The Committee noted correspondence from Sir Bruce Robinson, Head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service in response to a request for information sought by the Committee following its briefing on 29 June 2011.

2:06 pm Mr Hussey and Ms McCann entered the meeting.
2:07 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

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

Correspondence from the Committee for Standards and Privileges

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Standards and Privileges providing an indicative timeline of the Interim Assembly Commissioner’s report on the matter of Assembly Privilege raised by the Committee in the last mandate.

Correspondence re Waringstown Rath and Grange

The Committee noted correspondence from a member of the public highlighting concerns around allegations of fraud in planning decisions for a site in Waringstown which contained a rath and a listed grange.

2:35 pm Mr Anderson declared an interest stating that he is a Councillor at Craigavon Borough Council.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the C&AG should investigate whether there is evidence of fraud in this case and whether recommended improvements to controls have been made; and report back to the Committee on his conclusion.

Correspondence received re the Northern Ireland Policing Board

The Committee noted correspondence regarding the level of legal fees incurred as a result of a fair employment tribunal.

2:50 pm Mr Hussey declared an interest stating the he is a current member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

2:50 pm Mr Byrne declared an interest stating that he was a member of the Northern Ireland Policing Board at the time of the issues that have been highlighted by Mr Ryder.

2:50 pm Mr Anderson and Ms McCann declared an interest stating that they are current members on the Committee for Justice.

The C&AG briefed the Committee and undertook to provide some additional information.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the additional information to the Committee for Justice once it had been received from the C&AG.

Correspondence received re Conway Mill Preservation Project

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Kieran Donnelly, C&AG detailing his intention to undertake a short review into the issues highlighted to the Committee by Conway Mill Preservation Trust.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that the C&AG should report back the findings of the review to the Committee upon its conclusion.

The Committee noted correspondence from Mr Will Haire, Accounting Officer, Department for Social Development detailing the Department’s next steps to identify the extent of the allegations.

Correspondence from the Committee for Education

The Committee noted correspondence from the Clerk to the Committee for Education enclosing correspondence from a member of the public highlighting concerns over data protection and privacy issues.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to forward the matter to the Audit Office as requested by the Committee for Education.

Correspondence from a Whistleblower re Western Education and Library Board

The Committee noted anonymous correspondence highlighting concerns over contract procurement within the Western Education and Library Board.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to refer this to the Committee for Education for onward transmission to the Department.

4. Members Interests

The Chairperson drew Members’ attention to the register of interest which was published on 29 June 2011.

Agreed : Members agreed to contact the Clerk to the Committee for Standards and Privileges should any future amendments be required.

5. Memorandum of Reply

The Committee considered correspondence from Mr Paul Sweeney, Accounting Officer, Department of Education providing the additional information the Department undertook to provide to the Committee in the MOR on the ‘Management of Substitution Cover for Teachers’.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to request an update on the progress made by the Department next year and, further agreed to forward the correspondence to the Committee for Education for its consideration.

3:00 pm The meeting went into closed session.

6. Consideration of Draft Committee Report on ‘Reducing Water Pollution from Agricultural Sources - The Farm Nutrient Scheme’

3:01 pm Mr Frew declared an interest stating that he is the current Chairperson of the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development.

Paragraphs 1 – 11 read and agreed.

Paragraphs 12 – 16 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 17 – 21 read and agreed.

Paragraph 22 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 23 – 34 read and agreed.

3:32 pm Mr Anderson left the meeting.

Paragraphs 35 read amended and agreed

3:34 pm Ms McCann left the meeting.

36– 37 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 38 read and agreed.

3:38 pm Mr Frew left the meeting.

3:39 pm Mr Anderson entered the meeting.

Paragraphs 39 – 48 read and agreed.

Paragraph 49 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraph 50 read and agreed.

Paragraph 51 read, amended and agreed.

Paragraphs 52 – 58 read, amended and agreed.

3:45 pm Mr Byrne left the meeting.

3:45 pm Mr Frew entered the meeting.

3:50 pm Ms McCann entered the meeting.

3:52 pm Mr Byrne entered the meeting.

4:00 pm Mr Easton left the meeting.

4:09 pm Mr Frew left the meeting.

The Committee was briefed by the C&AG and considered the written response from the Department.

Agreed: The Committee agreed to seek further information from the Department and agreed to consider a further draft copy of the report at its meeting next week once the additional information has been received.

7. Any other business

The Chairperson informed the Committee that a report published by AdviceNI had been sent to the secretariat team and advised the Members should they require a copy of the report to contact the secretariat team.

8. Date, time and place of next meeting

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 at 2:00 pm in room 29.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 4:25 pm.

Mr Paul Maskey
Chairperson, Public Accounts Committee
14 September 2011

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