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09 Oct 2017
Caranua Board minutes 26th July 2017

These are the Board minutes from 26th July 2017

We are happy to publish the minutes of our Board meetings so that Board activities and decisions are accountable. There is always a delay between the meeting held and the publication of the minutes.  This is because the minutes must be approved before they can be published.  Minutes are approved at the meeting after the meeting they are a record off.  For example, if a Board meeting is held in March and the next meeting is held in April, the minutes of the March meeting will not be on the website until after the April meeting. 

 

MINUTES OF THE BOARD MEETING of 26th July 2017

Present:     

David O’Callaghan, Patricia Carey, Tom Daly, Katherine Finn, Frances Harrington, Dr. Mary T. Lodato, Francis Treanor.

Apologies:                  

Damian Casey, Thomas Cronin, Mary Higgins

In attendance:             

Rachel Downes, David Yeomans (Secretary), Dalton Tatton (Item 1 only), Sinéad Fennell, Caitríona Ní Mhúrchú. 

Item

 

Discussion

Decision

Action

Time

 

1.     Apologies and Quorum

The Chairman noted that apologies had been received from two members and noted that a quorum was present. 

 

 

 

2.     Meeting with Mr Tattan (Dept. of Education & Skills)

The Chairman welcomed Mr Dalton Tatton, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Education & Skills to the meeting.  Mr Tattan thanked him for the opportunity to meet with them and thanked the new members for their interest in serving on the Board.  He said that it was important that the Department and Caranua has a good working relationship.  He referred to the challenges involved, including the need to demonstrate fairness and dignity in dealings; appropriate use of monies spent and good Governance & Oversight.  A short discussion followed on a number of matters including reaching UK survivors and Office Accommodation.

 

 

 

3.     Minutes

The draft minutes of the meeting held on 21st June 2017 were approved, as proposed by Patricia Carey and seconded by Francis Treanor.

 

 

 

4.     Matters arising not on the Agenda

There were no matters arising.

 

 

 

5.     Action Points from last meeting

The Board noted that all action points were included in the agenda for the meeting.

 

 

 

6.     Report on Applications and Spend

The Board reviewed the current status of applications noting that over €60m had now been paid in grants for services.  The Board discussed the challenges in providing more face-to-face assessments while caseloads are still very high, noting that repeat applications continue at a significant rate.  The Board re-iterated that priority must be given to new applicants, who are yet to receive any funding, over repeat applicants, noting while this may lead to more criticism, it is a function of the Board to promote equity in utilising the Fund.  The Board agreed that a detailed proposal on staffing requirements, in the context of the Strategic Plan, be submitted to the Department.

 

 

Staffing Plan to be submitted to Department

 

 

Aug 2017

 

7.     Report from the Executive

The Board noted that arrangements for the move to new premises are still to be finalised and approved but that it is expected that these will be completed shortly with the move being end Sep 2017.

 

 

 

8.     Strategic Plan 2017-2019 Update

The Board reviewed progress in setting operational plans/targets, noting the recent improvements made to the IT case management system and the planned implementation of an enhanced financial system.  The Board noted that this will be a regular agenda item.

Strategic Plan Updates to be regular Agenda item

Ongoing

9.     Governance Matters

Confidentiality Agreements were circulated by the Secretary and all Board members present signed and returned them.

The Board reviewed the Update report on the implementation of the revised Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies together with recent correspondence from the Department of Education & Skills Central Governance Unit.  This correspondence set out the findings of their review of the application of the previous Code across all bodies under the aegis of the Department.  In addition to general findings, it also set out those specific to Caranua including highlighting good practice in relation to transparency on its website and financial reports.  The Board noted that the Secretary and the Chair of the Audit Committee will be meeting in August to progress compliance.

The Board agreed to the Terms of Reference for the Sub-committee to Review the 2016 Criteria, noting that the external evaluation component has been tendered.  The Chair of the Sub-Committee expected to have the review complete early in Q4.

The Board noted the list of contracts included in the papers for the meeting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terms of Reference Agreed for Criteria Sub-Committee

 

10.  Finance & Risk Matters

In the absence of the Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee, the Secretary briefed the Board on its meeting of 12th July 2017 including updates on the audit of the 2016 Accounts, which is currently underway, the finalisation of funeral contracts and their assessment of recent Appeals Officers’ decisions.

The Board noted that the Management Accounts to end June 2017 would be available shortly and will be available through the Board web-portal.

 

 

11.  Correspondence & PQs

The Board reviewed the list of requests and responses noting the increased level of such correspondence and the administrative burden being imposed on Caranua.

 

 

12.  Any Other Business

The Board approved the opening of a dedicated account to hold an amount repaid by an applicant “on trust” rather than lodging it back to the Fund.

The Board was circulated with a summary of the potential effects of a decision of the Appeals Officer on 3rd July 2017 concerning the application of the €15,000 limit, together with an anonymised/ redacted copy of the appeal decision.  The Board considered Legal Advice received on the matter, including the potential advantages/risks of taking a challenge or accepting the decision.  Following a debate on the matter, the Board concluded that the potential effect on the equity of current and future applicants necessitated the lodging of an appeal to the High Court pursuant to Section 22(6) and authorised the Secretary to sign the necessary affidavit and documentation on behalf of the Board.  The Board noted, notwithstanding this action, that the CEO has approved the grant under exceptional needs.

The schedule of meetings for the rest of the year were agreed being 21st September 2017, 2nd November 2017 and 14th December 2017.

The meeting concluded at 14:00.

Dedicated Account to be opened

 

 

 

 

Appeal to High Court on €15k limit in decision AP138/2016

Aug 2017

 

 

 

 

31st July 2017