PUBLIC ACCOUNTS COMMITEE
MINUTES OF PROCEEDINGS
THURSDAY, 5 MARCH 2009
ROOM 144, PARLIAMENT BUILDINGS
Mr Paul Maskey (Chairperson)
Mr Roy Beggs (Deputy Chairperson)
Mr Thomas Burns
Mr Jonathan Craig
Mr John Dallat
Mr Trevor Lunn
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin
Ms Dawn Purvis
Mr George Robinson
Mr Jim Shannon
Ms Alison Ross (Assembly Clerk)
Mrs Gillian Lewis (Assistant Assembly Clerk)
Mr Darren Weir (Clerical Officer)
Mr Jim Wells
The meeting opened at 2.00pm in public session.
Apologies are listed above.
2. Minutes of the meeting on 26 February 2009.
Agreed : The minutes were agreed.
3. Matters arising.
The chairperson welcomed Ms Janet Ryder AM, a member of the Audit Committee, National Assembly from Wales, and Mr John Grimes, Clerk, who were on a visit to Parliament Buildings.
Agreed : Members agreed that the visitors would be able to remain during the closed session of the Committee meeting.
Members considered the draft itinerary for the visit and meeting in InterTradeIreland, Newry, on 12 March 2009.
2.05pm Ms Purvis joined the meeting.
Agreed: Members agreed the itinerary.
Members considered the correspondence from the Accounting Officer, Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, relating to costings for all laboratories across Northern Ireland.
Agreed: Members agreed to refer the correspondence to the Health, Social Services and Public Safety Committee to consider and take forward any issues.
2.07pm Mr Burns joined the meeting.
4. Launch of Committee Report on Road Openings by Utilities.
Members considered the Clerk’s briefing papers providing options for the launch of the Committee Report on Road Openings by Utilities. The Committee received oral briefing from the Assembly Press Officer.
Agreed: Members agreed to defer the launch of the report until Monday, 23 March or Tuesday 24 March 2009, depending on the media availability.
Agreed: Members agreed that as a fall back position, a press release should be issued and the report published on the agreed date.
Agreed: Members agreed that the Clerk and Press Officer would arrange for a press statement at a relevant site, and that the Press Officer would gauge interest and report back.
Agreed: Members agreed that those members available would attend for the press statement.
Agreed: Members agreed that the Clerk should provide a progress report on the press interest and site at next week’s meeting.
5. Ministerial Direction.
Members considered a Ministerial Direction from the Minister for Agriculture and Rural Development relating to assistance to farmers for crop losses due to flooding. Mr Kieran Donnelly, Deputy C&AG, and Mr Joe Campbell, Audit Manager, briefed the Committee on the paper.
Agreed: Members agreed that no further action needs to be taken on the Ministerial Direction.
6. Briefing on NIAO Report ‘Financial Auditing and Reporting: Accountability of the North/South Bodies 1999-2007’.
Mr Kieran Donnelly, Deputy C&AG; Ms Louise Mason, Assistant Auditor General; Mr Lindsay Green, Audit Manager and Mr Gary Christie, Audit Manager, briefed the Committee on the NIAO Report, ‘Financial Auditing and Reporting: Accountability of the North/South Bodies 1999-2007’.
2.35pm The meeting went into closed session .
There were declarations of interest from members as follows:
Mr Beggs: Treasurer of Carrickfergus Neighbourhood Development Group and former member of Carrickfergus Local Strategic Partnership.
Mr Burns: Member of Antrim Local Strategic Partnership Board in relation to PEACE I and II.
Mr Craig: Member of Lisburn and Castlereagh PEACE III Partnership.
Mr Maskey: Member of Belfast City Council; Director of Belfast Visitor Convention Bureau; Director of Upper Andersonstown Community Forum; Director of Féile an Phobail; Fáilte Feirste Thiar; and West Belfast Partnership Economic Development Committee.
Ms Purvis: Vice-Chair, Management Committee of Ex-Prisoners Interpretive Centre (EPIC).
The witnesses answered a number of questions put by members.
2.55pm Mr Burns left the meeting.
7. Press Releases.
Members considered two press releases relating to the evidence session on 12 March 2009 in Newry, and the launch of the Committee Report on Road Openings by Utilities.
Agreed: Members agreed the press release relating to the evidence session on 12 March 2009 in Newry.
Agreed: Members agreed the press release relating to the launch of the Report on Road Openings by Utilities.
8. Any other business.
Members noted the Department of Finance and Personnel Report on Fraud in Government Departments 2007-08.
9. Date, time and place of next meeting.
The next meeting will be held on Thursday, 12 March 2009 at 2.00pm in the Conference Room, InterTradeIreland, Newry.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting at 3.18pm.