These are the Board Meeting minutes from 04 September 2014
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.
David O’Callaghan, Chair
Apologies were received from David Lane, Damian Casey and Katherine Finn.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 19th June 2014
The minutes of the meeting of 19th June 2014 were considered by the Board and approved. This was proposed by Phyllis Morgan and seconded by Tom Daly.
3. Matters Arising from the minutes not on agenda
(a) Annual Report
Members of the Board noted that they had received printed copies of the report.
(b) Letter with Application Form Part 2
The letter which is sent with the Application Form Part 2 and had been circulated to the Board with the Board papers was noted.
(c) Insurance cover
In the course of reviewing our insurance cover for public liability, it became clear that the cover provided by the State Claims Agency was for individuals and did not provide indeminity or protection for the organisation. A quote has been received for this cover and was agreed by the Board, proposed by Austin Currie and seconded by Tom Daly. The details of the policy are now to be brought to the attention of the Department of Education and Skills.
(d) Towards Healing
As reported in the Board papers, we are awaiting a final proposal from Towards Healing on precisely how they will make referrals to us so that we can fund the cost of counselling services where their clients have received 80 counselling sessions. The Chair expressed concern at why this had not been concluded and will make contact wtih the Chair of Towards Healing directly.
(e) Temporary clerical officer panel
As reported in the Boad papers, the competition for temporary clerical officers is closed and 28,000 applications had been received. A discussion was held again on the potential for Caranua to assist survivors in gaining employment. The Chair undertook to personally look into how this could be done.
4. Report on applications and review of process
- The statistical report on the processing of applications which had been circulated with the Board papers was considered. The report described the progress that has been made in making assessment calls and payments. We have now made over 1200 assessment calls and payments of almost €2 million. Half of these payments were made in August.
- The Chair expressed grave and deep concerns about the state of progress and the Board instructed that Part 2 of the application form should be issued to all applicants, with an appropriate letter.
- Payments to date revealed that expenditure on housing is much higher than we had anticipated and that the average payment per person was higher than we had allowed for in our projections. It was agreed that we need to revisit the original expenditure projections and the CEO will arrange this.
- A review of the applications process recommended that application forms be sent at the time that eligiblity to apply is confirmed and this was agreed. The review also recommended that the CEO should be authorised to approve payments of up to €25,000 and report those payments to the Board. It was agreed that the CEO and the Director of Services should be authorised to approve payments of up to €50,000 and bring these to the attention of the Board. Payments over this amount must be brought to the Board for approval. This was proposed by Tom Daly and seconded by Austin Currie.
- It was also agreed that the contract for temporary staff should be extended for six months. The Chair has given notice of this to the DES and the CEO is to apply formally for sanction in the normal way.
- It was also agreed that decisions on specified applications can be made by Advisors rather than the Deciding Officer.
- A proposal to enter into an arrangement with an approved housing body in Ireland, on a pilot basis for six months was considered by the Board. Its adoption was proposed by Tom Daly and seconded by Phyllis Morgan.
- It was agreed to enter into arrangements with two hospitals on a six month pilot basis. This will provide improved access to consultant assessments and treatment.
- Dentistry is a significant need and some of the treatment costs are high (in excess of €30,000. Work is continuing to put in place a system of referring such applications to the HSE or HSE recommended Dental Surgeon for an assessment of the appropriateness of the treatment and the costs.
- A proposal to partner with AGEUK to provide assistance to individual applicants in places where there was not an existing survivor support group or Irish welfare agency was rejected by the Board. It was agreed to work through support groups in the UK which receive funding from the Irish Government.
5. Expansion of services for survivors
A proposal for expanded services was presented to the Board. This was informed by the views of Board members, our own experience of the things that applicants are looking for and the views of survivor support groups in Ireland and the UK. The proposed services were:
1. Funeral costs
2. Funding for family reunification
3. Addressing the needs of poeple who are isolated, without support structures
4. Addressing the needs of people who have complext needs, dementia, stroke, cancer and sudden chronic illness
5. Activities that help people to move on and recover
6. Assistance for people caring for survivors
7. Assistance to survivors to guidance counselling and employment.
The Board felt that points 3 and 4 could be covered already in the range of services set out in the legislation and agreed that we should make a recommendation to the Minister on the others. It was also suggested that eligibility should be expanded to include survivors who had not received redress.
On the issue of an enhanced medical card, the Board agreed that the key objective is to do what we can to get improved access to services for who are eligible to apply to us. While we can continue to make the case on the ground of equity for the extension of the enhanced medical card to them, we should concentrate on securing services at the same time.
6. CEO Report
The CEO work report for the period 20th June to 28th August had been circulated with the Board papers and its contents were noted by the Board.
7. Report of Audit & Risk Sub-Committee
Tom Daly reported on the recent meeting of the sub committee. The review of the internal process and risk management has commenced by the auditors. It was agreed that we should defer consideration of the investment strategy until the next meeting.
(a) David Lane raised concern about people not being able to get through on the telephone. The CEO undertook to look into this. He also requested that all Board members be invited to any future outreach meetings and this was agreed by the Board.
(b) Department of Education and Skills replied to correspondence arising from the last Board meeting:
- In response to a query about the process for recommending expanded services, we have been referred to the relevant sections in the legislation
- The DES is not encouraging about Caranua applicants receiving an enhanced medical card
- Our proposal that the Board be delegated authority to approve contracts up to €50,000 is still under consideration
- The Department has rejected the request for an official from the DES to attend Board meetings on the basis that is not explicitly provided for in the legislation
- A letter has been received from the DES regarding the terms of our PDA and in particular our time standards and evaluation process and this has been replied to.
(c) Coventry Irish Society’s request for a meeting with Board members was considered and the CEO will make contact with them.
9. Payments and contracts over €25,000
These were presented to the Board. One was approved. Decisions on the others could not be made as the clinical assessments were still outstanding. These will be communicated with the Board members when they become available, rather than waiting until the next meeting.
It was agreed that the Chair should write a letter to Bernadette Fahy acknowledging her contribution to Caranua.
11. Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Board will be held on Wednesday 1st October at 10.30 a.m. in the Department of Education and Skills.
Meeting with Brian Mooney
Following the formal business of the Board, members were joined by Brian Mooney. Brian works as a Guideance Counsellor in Dublin and writes a column on education for the Irish Times. He is also a former member of the Education Finance Board. Brian spoke about the importance of providing tailored responses to the education needs of survivors and of seeing education in its broadest way.