These are the Board Meeting minutes from 22 May 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
There were no apologies.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 24th April
The minutes of the meeting of 24th April 2014 were considered by the Board and some minor corrections agreed. With these, the minutes were approved, proposed by David Lane and seconded by Phyllis Morgan.
3. Matters Arising from the minutes not on agenda
(a) Annual Report
The final report has been submitted to the Minister and is due to be laid before the Houses of the Oireachtas. Once the Comptroller and Auditor General has finalised the accounts, we can add these to the report and publish it. It was agreed that the term “scheme” should be replaced with “services” where it appears in the version of the report for publication.
The Guidelines have been finalised, given the final go ahead by NALA and sent to the printers. It was agreed that changes should be made to them to ensure that it was clear that the published limits were subject to flexibility, particularly in the area of education. David Lane asked that it be noted in the minutes that he did not support the approval or adoption of the second edition of the Guidelines.
(c) Proposal for addressing the backlog in applications
The CEO reported that she had made a submission to the DES on using the services of an external agency to contract temporary workers who could be deployed to supplement existing staff in the making of initial telephone calls to eligible applicants and was awaiting approval from them for this.
The Board again discussed the proposed approach, agreed that it complied with any tendering and other issues and that the CEO should write on its behalf to the DES to highlight again the urgency of the situation. It was also acknowledged that we would support opportunities for survivors to apply for roles within Caranua.
4. Presentation on the operation of the scheme
A presentation was made to the Board by Fiona Coyne and Mary Higgins on the Application Process, setting out the various stages involved in the process. There were a number of questions on the process and it was agreed that the Part 2 Application Forms would be sent to Board members when they were printed.
5. CEO Report
The CEO presented a verbal report on the work report for the period 25th April to 14th May which had been circulated with the Board papers. Key issues discussed and decisions arising were:
- Work has progressed on the fit out of the new office premises and it is hoped that we will move in August
- All staff will be in place by the 28th May and the two temporary contracts will cease by this time
- At a scheduled Performance Management Agreement meeting with the DES, attended by the Chair and CEO, we were informed that Caranua is not covered by the State Claims Agency on the basis of legal advice. The Board asked that the CEO seek the legal advice from the Department and also express the strong concerns of the Board at this position
- At the same meeting, the DES recommended that we should consider taking Temporary Clerical Officers from the panel with the Public Appointments Service to address our staffing shortage
- Arrangements have now been finalised for the destruction of the EFB files
6. Report of Audit & Risk Sub-Committee
Damian Casey reported on the most recent meeting of the Audit & Risk Sub-Committee:
- The committee has reviewed the Financial Model and will use this to track expenditure on services against the budget on an ongoing basis
- The auditors have been approached to develop proposals on optimum financial compliance in the payment of approved applications
- The committee expressed its view that Caranua will require additional staff to deal with higher level of payments
- The committee has agreed that minutes of its meetings could be published on the website, as part of a new section on governance and compliance
7. Report on budget and expenditure January to March 2014
The financial report for the first quarter of the year, against the budget was considered. It was noted that there is a current underspend in some areas, in large part due to our not having a full complement of staff in place and our not yet paying rent.
Correspondence circulated to and noted by the Board:
- A letter from the Minister to the Chair expressing concern at delays in processing applications, to be addressed at a meeting scheduled to take place on 30th June
- A letter from the Minister in response to ours inquiring as to the likely amount of funds to be received from religious congregations. An additional €5 million is expected by 2015.
- Letter from Munster Survivors inviting Board members to a Mass of Reconciiliation to be followed by the launch of Towards Peace, an initiative of religious congregations on 25th May. To be attended by Fiona and Mary
- There will be a screening of States of Fear on 24th May, organised by the Mary Rafferty Fund. Members of staff will attend and Katherine Finn.
- Request to support a National Day of Reflection for those abused as children on 21st June – the Board decided that they could not provide financial support for this as it was outside the criteria.
9. Parliamentary questions
The most recent responses were noted by the Board. This will be a standing item on the Board agenda.
The Board noted the award of two contracts. Brian Harvery will provide a summary of Oireachtas debates on the RISF Bill. Bluewave Technologies will be further developing the CRM system.
In the context of a discussion on the legislation currently being prepared to extend the Enhanced Medical Card to Magdalene survivors, it was agreed that Caranua should make a submission to the DES asking that the enhanced medical card be extended to survivors covered by our services.
12. Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Board will be held on 19th June 2014at 10.30 a.m. in the Department of Education and Skills. There was discussion on meeting arrangements for the summer and it was agreed to cancel the meetings scheduled for July and August and bring the September one forward to 4th September.