These are the Board Meeting minutes from 22 January 2015
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 Katherine Finn, who is recovering from a car accedent. The Board asked that their best wishes for a speedy recovery be passed on to her on their behalf.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 12th December 2014
The minutes of the meeting of 12th December were approved. Proposed by Tom Daly and seconded by Phyllis Morgan.
3. Matters Arising from the minutes not on agenda
(a) Towards Healing
It was agreed that the Chair, Frances Harrigton and CEO would meet with Towards Healing in relation to the MOU.
(b) Customer Charter
The Customer Charter was considered and discussed again. It was agreed to change the heading “what we expect from you” to “how you can help us to help you” and to remove “that is one month” explaining 20 working days. Subject to these changes being made, and following a vote, the Board decided that the Charter should be published with links to the policy.
Tom Daly expressed his regret that following discussion that the Board had made this decision. David Lane had prepared a written statement and asked that it be recorded in the minutes verbatim, as follows:
I wish it to be recorded in minutes that I strongly oppose the procedure for punishments and and sanctions within the Policy Statement of the Caranua Customer Charter in relation to unacceptable ‘conduct’ being published. It is an infringment on the rights of Former Residents to have a procedure outlining punishments and sactions which do not apply to them. It is also a reminder of institutional rules and regulations. And for this reason I want to distance myself from the decision made by the Board.
(c) External review
The Board noted the report on the progress made by Mazars on the external review and the fact that a presentation of their findings will be presented to the Board on 24th February next.
(d) Performance Delivery Agreement
The Board considered the draft agreement prepared by the Department of Education and Skills. It was happy with the contents of the agreement in general but asked that there be greater clarity and specificity in Sections 4 and 9. The CEO will approach the Department in relation to this. Subject to these clarifications, the agreement was approved, proposed by Tom Daly and seconded by Damian Casey.
(e) Board vacancy
The vacancy on the Board has been advertised by the Public Appointments Service and a link to this advertisement is on our own website. While it was not clear quite how the selection process would work, it was agreed that if there is a selection board, that the Chair should represent Caranua on it.
4. Report on Applications
The Board considered the report on the processing applications which had been circulated as part of the Board papers. The continued progress was noted and expenditure to the end of the year of almost €9 million. New applications continue to be received at an average rate of 160 per month. This has been stable over the last six months and it should now be possible to begin to make projections in terms of the number to be processed within specified time frames.
5. CEO Report
The CEO work report had been circulated with the Board papers. The following discussions and decisions arose:
- The Board noted the departure of Conor Morrison to return to a post in the Houses of the Oireachtas and expressed its appreciation for his work and extended their best wishes to him in the future
- An outreach session for applicants had been held in the Aislinn centre on 18th December and considered to be very valuable
- The Board is supportive of an outreach event to be held in Birmingham
- Given the high turn over of temporary staff it was agreed to offer six months contracts in an effort to secure some greater stability among them. This will be reviewed following the finalisation of the external review and any recommendations on staffing arising from it
- The Board noted that the Bill providing for an enhanced medical card for Magdalene women was due to go before the Dail. In this context it was agreed that ensuring coordination among the various schemes for survivors would be important in order to avoid duplication
- It was agreed in principle to contract with Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland for the provision of services.
6. Report of Audit & Risk Sub-Committee
Damian provided a verbal report on the last meeting of the Audit and Risk committee which took place on January 16th. The draft expenditure for 2014 and operational budget for 2015 were circulated with the Board papers and considered at the meeting, together with information on the investment account.
7. Proposal on Expanded Services
In the context of the very crowded agenda, it was felt that this issue should be deferred to a future meeting and that in the meantime, the CEO should further develop more detailed proposals.
The issue of the role of Board members in the application process and the processing of applications by individuals was revisited. It was riterated that there should be no direct involvement as this would be contrary to the legislation and good governance. It was agreed that where a member of the Board wished to make an enquiry on behalf of an applicant or in relation to an application, that this should be made through the CEO only.
The Chair raised a question about the need for an internal audit function, in keeping with requirements in the Code of Practice for State Board. As the organisation is small, it is considered adequate to carry out periodic reviews, as our accountants have done in the past. However, it was felt that this may be an issue that will be addressed in the external review.
The correspondence was noted by the Board and the CEO was asked to reply to the three letters on its behalf. A further meeting will be held between VOTES and the Chair, accompanied by Frances.
10. Parliamentary questions
There have been no recent PQs.
There were no new contracts during this time period.
It was agreed to provide the Board with a composite list of contracts and consultancies, in addition to the reports that are made on these at each meeting.
13. Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Board will be held on Tuesday, 24th February 2015at 10.30 a.m. in the Department of Education and Skills. This meeting will focus on the presentation from Mazars on their review.