News & Events

Caranua Board minutes 06 November 2014

These are the Board Meeting minutes from 06 November 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

Austin Currie

David Lane

Phyllis Morgan

Frances Harrington

Katherine Finn

In attendance

Mary Higgins

Conor Morrison

1.         Apologies

Apologies were received from Damian Casey and Tom Daly.

2.         Minutes of the meeting held on 1st October 2014

The minutes of the meeting of 1st October were agreed.Proposed by Austin Currie, seconded by Phyllis Morgan.

3.         Matters Arising from the minutes not on agenda

(a) Towards Helaing

The CEO informed the Board that no payments had been made to Towards Healing to date.

(b) Working with Irish welfare organisations in the UK

The CEO confirmed that we are in regular contact with organisations in the UK and have a list of contacts provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs.  The Chair gave the CEO a list that he had been given by Sally Mulready and asked that the two lists be checked against one another.

(c) External Review

The CEO reported on the process of tendering for a company to carry out an external review of Caranua.  Nine companies had been sent the tender, three had indicated that they would make a bid and two had actually submitted bids.  These will be reviewed by the sub-committee when Damian Casey returns from leave and a selection made.

4.         Report on Applications

The statistical report on the processing of applications to the end of October had been circulated to the Board.  The statistics were considered in some detail.  While it was accepted that progress did appear to have been made in relation to the higher number of payments and expenditure, it was felt that the number of individuals paid was still low, relative to the number of people who had made applications.

In the course of discussion it was agreed that there should be some improvements in the presentation of the statistics for the next meeting:

  • The number of individuals paid should be set against the number of completed applications received, rather than stage 1 applications received
  • There should be a relationship between the applications received and payments made (i.e. what proportion of payments relate to applications received in January, February etc)
  • The CEO will provide a more detailed breakdown for the next meeting.

5.         CEO Report   

The CEO spoke to the Work Report which had been circulated in advance with the Board papers.  The following issues arising and decisions were made:

  • The scheduled outreach meetings had been very successful with positive feedback from service providers and survivors alike.  There was some discussion again about Board members attending these sessions.  While it was agreed that this is generally desirable, Board members would need to indicate their interest in advance so that appropriate arrangements could be made by the office
  • David Lane raised concerns about the “unacceptable actions” section of the Customer Charter.  It was agreed that the charter should not be published until David Lane reviewed that section.  This was proposed by Austin Currie and seconded by Phyllis Morgan
  • The section on “staff wellbeing” was considered carefully by the Board and the issues of stress among staff members was noted as a serious issue by the Board and one to be a standing item in the report
  • The issue of the departure of the Director of Services to take up another post through redployment was considered by the Board.  The Board agreed that a letter of thanks and appreciation should be written to Fiona
  • The Board agreed that a temporary contract, pending the filling of the Director of Services post, should be offered with immediate effect, given that there is no appropriate panel in the Public Appointments Service
  • The CEO reported two breaches of the Data Protection Acts, whereby information relating to one person was inadvertently sent to another.  The appropriate actions have been taken and staff training is in the process of being organised to ensure additional vigilance in this important issue
  • The issue of our new premises has now reached a critical stage.  The Department of Education and Skills has refused to approve the fit out.  As a result of the delays, the lease will be lost
  •  There was discussion on the potential of a confined competition for survivors by the Public Appointments Service and it was thought that the cost could be prohibitive.  The Chair will check this out
  1.         Report of Audit & Risk Sub-Committee  
  • The latest expenditure figures to the end of Ocrtober were noted by the Board.
  • The report of the payments processes and systems was deferred to the next meeting since Damian was not present.
  • The Chair requested that a copy of the draft Accounts for 2013 be circulated to all the members.
  1.         Correspondence

A letter had been received from the Minister for Education and Skills in response to ours proposing that the range of services we could approve be expanded.  In this she asked for additional information about our proposal in terms of their implications and rationale.  It was agreed that the CEO should prepare draft arguments for consideration by the Board at its next meeting.

The Board requested that any letters from the executive to the Minister should be copied to them at the time of issue, rather than as part of the Board papers.

  1.         Parliamentary questions 

The most recent responses were noted by the Board.  In this context, the CEO reported that following a request, she and the Head of Communications and Engagement had met with Ms Mary Lou MacDonald, T.D. of Sinn Fein about the work of Caranua and the needs of her constituents.

  1. Contracts

The Board noted the award of two contracts for ICT support and additional telephone lines and handsets provided by Eircom.

  1. Governance

The Chair had asked the CEO to prepare a paper outlining our compliance with governance issues.  This was circulated but time did not allow for consideration of the paper.

  1. A.O.B. 

The Chair agreed that he would raise the issue of the vacancy on the Board with the Minister at his meeting with her next week.

  1.       Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Board will be held on Friday 12th December 2014at 10.30 a.m. in the Department of Education and Skills.