These are the Board Meeting minutes from 24 April 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 Damian Casey.
2. Minutes of the meeting held on 27th March
The minutes of the meeting held on 27th March were read and approved. Proposed by Phyllis Morgan and seconded by Tom Daly.
3. Matters Arising from the minutes not on agenda
The Chair reported that he and the CEO had met with the Appeals Officer before the Board meeting. Members of the Board requested that a meeting between the Appeals Officer and the Board be arranged at some point later in the year.
4. Annual Report
The issue of including accounts in the report was discussed and it was agreed that reference should be made to the fact that our accounts are subject to audit by the C&AG and would be available when the audit is complete. Subject to agreed minor changes in the structure, suggested by Damian, the Annual Report was approved. Proposed by Tom Daly and seconded by Austin Currie.
5. Criteria second edition
The revised criteria and guidelines were considered again by the Board and approved. This was proposed by Austin Currie and seconded by Katherine Finn.
Questions were raised about whether the limit on assistance with third level fees and travel to education were adequate. This was discussed and it was noted that individuals had already received assistance and were satisfied but that, as with all elements of the scheme, this will be kept under review and amended if it the evidence indicated that it prevented needs from being met.
6. CEO Work Report
The CEO presented the work report for the period 28th March to 11th April. Key issues discussed and decisions arising were:
- Contracts with four application advisors have now been finalised and it is expected that they will all be in place by the end of May
- The backlog of applications awaiting the appointment of an applications advisor is at a critical point. The proposal to contract external individuals to make initial telephone calls and assessments was considered by the Board and was supported provided that it complied with procurement and tendering requirements.
- In this context the issue of employing survivors to do this work was discussed. It was clarified that we are restricted by the rules of public procurement and employment legislsation and that it is not possible under these to discriminate in favour of survivors.
- It was suggested that Board members could be involved in processing applications but this was not considred practical since the legislation provides that applications and decisions on them are a matter for the executive and that we have given assurances in our information material that Board members will not be involved in any way with applications as this is a matter of concern to many.
- The possibility of a contractual relationship with an organisation in the UK to improve our responsiveness to applicants living there was considered and agreed in principle. It will be revisited when a formal proposal is received from the organisation.
- The positive tone of the samples of correspondence from applicants who had received assistance was noted by the Board
- The response to a request for grant aid from Caranua for the provision of services to survivors by Coventry Irish Society was noted by the Board
- It was noted that, as agreed at the last meeting a letter had been sent to the Minister regarding contributions from religious congregations
- It was agreed that the CEO should meet Towards Healing in response to a written request.
Two contracts entered into since the last meeting were noted by the Board. These were for necessary reconfiguration of our email system and for assistance with the preparation of invitations to tender.
A question was raised about the frequency of Board meetings and it was agreed to continue to hold meetings monthly for the time being, although the July meeting will need to be rescheduled. It was also agreed that the Board should arrange to hold some of its meetings each year outside of Dublin and outside of Ireland.
Bernadette Fahy announced her resignation from the Board during the meeting. The Chair was asked to discuss her position with her before she formally notifies the Minister of her intention.
10. Next Meeting
The next meeting of the Board will be held on 22nd May 2014at 10.30 a.m. in the Department of Education and Skills.