These are the Board Meeting minutes from 11 December 2013
Sylda Langford, Chair
There were apologies from Tom Daly and Katherine Finn.
2. Minutes of the meeting Held on 14th November
The minutes of the meeting were read and their adoption was postponed until the next meeting pending confirmation of an item with an absent Board member.
3. Matters Arising from the minutes not on agenda
There were no items under this heading.
4. CEO Work Report
The CEO Work Report 15th November to 6th December was circulated in advance of the meeting and considered by the Board. Issues, discussion and decisions arising were:
Section 1- Data Collection and Research
As requested at the previous meeting the Board was presented with details of the consultation meetings with survivors and survivor groups in Ireland and England that had been held.
Section 2. Consultation, Communication and Engagement
The CEO informed the board that she had held a very constructive meeting in the Irish embassy in London with the main representative groups there.
It was also noted that liaison officers have now been appointed for all the local authority regional areas and we now have three officers in the Department of Social Protection to liaise with.
Section 3. Making Scheme of Assistance Operational
The Board agreed that there would be no need to hold any formal launch of the scheme when it becomes operational in January.
Section 4. Staffing, Premises and Office
The Board was informed that the Head of Communications and four Case Worker positions had been posted on the Public Appointments Service website the day before. Because of the selection process involved and the upcoming Chrsitmas Break the Case Workers will not be appointed in time for the scheduled launch in January. As a contingency measure a call out was made for applications for two month contracts to cover the gap and a good response has been received.
It was proposed to the Board that the post of Administrative Officer Grade IV, which has been vacant for five months, could be filled by means of an internal competition. This was proposed by Phyllis Morgan and seconded by Damian Casey conditional on the approval of DES (Department of Education and Science) on the process.
Section 5. Finance, Governance & Compliance
A draft Performance Management Agreement with the DES was circulated to the Board.
Section 6. Finalising the Education Finance Board
On the matter of the destruction of the EFB (Education Finance Board) files the Board was informed that DES had advised that it was a matter for the Board alone. The Board asked to see the opinion of the DPC (Data Protection Commissioner) in writing before making any decision.
5. Reports from Audit and Risk Sub Committee
Audit & Risk
The committee had met the previous day when a draft expenditure report to the end of November was discussed. The Chair of the sub-committee circulated the summary details of the draft report and explained it. A final report for 2013 will be presented to the Board in January.
In discussing the current arrangements for paying staff salaries the Board asked that DES be approached again to see if they would provide the payroll function for all staff.
6. Financial Aspects of the Scheme of Assistance
The Board was presented with a spreadsheet, prepared by a team of consultants, which enabled the preparation of a draft budget for the scheme of assistance under the various services that may be provided. It was agreed by the Board that it provided a very good model and starting point.
7. Proposed Operational Budget 2014
A draft operational budget was circulated to the Board which was discussed. It was agreed that advice should be sought on the Appeals Officer estimate.
The Board was then made aware that until the budget had been formally agreed and signed by them the executive would have no authority to spend any money in 2014. As a result it was agreed that the Board should meet again on Wedneday next, 18th December. This will be a two item agenda where the Board will also have to formally accept the scheme under the headings of the application process, criteria, approved services and limits.
A letter from the Ombudsmans Office regarding a decision of the EFB in 2012 was read out to the Board. Bernadette Fahy said that she would provide answers to the questions raised.
Individual letters from the Munsters Survivors Group to the Board Members were given out.
It was agreed that the Board would consider funeral costs under section 19(3) of the Act.
The Chair informed the Board that with great reluctance she had decided that she would have to resign from the position as Chair due to having to undergo major dental surgery in early 2014 as this would prevent her from fulfilling her duties as Chair at a critical time for the work of the Agency. She has informed the Minister and a new Chair will be appointed. She will continue as chair until a new Chair is appointed so that there is a seamless transition between Chairs.
The Board noted this announcement with regret.
10. Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Board will be held on 18th December at 10.30 a.m.