Contractual Conditions - Ignite NI - Chris McClelland

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

In the following article, it is stated that Chris McClelland is the Programme Director of the Ignite NI program in Belfast.

https://www.siliconrepublic.com/start-up...

Please forward;

1) A full copy of the written criteria / qualification required in the open tender procedure in this contract for the role of 'Programme Director'.

2) Details of how Mr McClelland met these contractual requirements.

3) The name and details of the according qualifications as provided in their tender submission of the person who was previously Ignite NI Programme Director within this contract.

3) A copy of the email sent by the Invest NI administrator to the deciding manager / team proposing this change, and the subsequent email correspondence approving this decision.

4) Names of the companies that were unsuccessful in the relating tendering process for the relating contract award.

5) Details of the process and criteria of how key personnel in such a contract can be changed.

Simon Goodley

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

Dear Mr Goodley

 

FOI 1159

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

 

Thank you for your information request below which was received
today/yesterday or date.  Your request is being dealt with under the terms
of the above legislation.

 

We will aim to respond to your request as soon as possible but no later
than 20 working days from the day after receipt of your request.

 

If you have any queries about this email, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

 

Best Regards

 

Clodagh

 

Clodagh Claxton
Information Governance Officer
Information Governance Team
Invest Northern Ireland, Bedford Square, Bedford Street. BT2 7ES.
Direct T: +44 (0) 28 9069 8864
Email: [1][email address]
[2]www.investni.com   [3]www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk

 

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

3 Atodiad

Dear Mr Goodley

FOI 1159

Please find attached our response to your recent request for information.

Thanks
Jane

Jane McKenna
Information Governance
Invest Northern Ireland, Bedford Square, Bedford Street. BT2 7ES.
Direct T: +44 (0) 28 9069 8226
Email: [email address]
www.investni.com www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk
Text Relay Number: 18001 028 9069 8226
If you are calling using a textphone from outside the UK please call: +44 151 494 1260 028 9069 8226

For details on how we use your personal data, including your rights, please visit: investni.com/privacy

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI Invest Northern Ireland / Martin Adair, Programmme Manager – Propel Pre Accelerator & IgniteNI Accelerator

For clarification purposes -

The questions asked and responses provided;

1) A full copy of the written criteria / qualification required in the open tender procedure in this contract for the role of 'Programme Director'.

'Information provided in form of a scan of tender documentation' - acknowledged.

2) Details of how Mr McClelland met these contractual requirements.

Your response - 'Invest NI does not hold the information requested'

3) The name and details of the according qualifications as provided in their tender submission of the person who was previously Ignite NI Programme Director within this contract.

Your response - 'Mr Tristan Watson held the dual role of CEO of Ignite and Programme Director, IgniteNI. In regards to the qualifications of this individual, I wish to advise you this information cannot be disclosed for the reasons given in Annex 1, attached to this letter.'

4) A copy of the email sent by the Invest NI administrator to the deciding manager / team proposing this change, and the subsequent email correspondence approving this decision.

Your response - 'The decision to appoint Mr McClelland was made by Ignite. Invest NI was aware of this decision when it consented to his recruitment into the role of Programme Director. Invest NI does not hold written justification in regard to the recruitment of Mr McClelland as Programme Director, this decision was made verbally at a meeting on 3 December 2018.'

5) Names of the companies that were unsuccessful in the relating tendering process for the relating contract award.
Your response - 'I wish to advise you this information cannot be disclosed for the reasons given in Annex 1, attached to this letter. '

6) Details of the process and criteria of how key personnel in such a contract can be changed.

Your response - 'Invest NI recognise that Ignite is a private company and the effective management of that company may necessitate changes to its personnel. Changes to key personnel may be effected with the prior agreement/approval of Invest NI. Such agreement /approval shall not unreasonably be withheld. Detail at Section 14.2/3/4 of the attached Standard Conditions of Contract.'

PLEASE PROVIDE FURTHER CLARIFCATION TO THE FOLLOWING POINTS;

1) At what date did Martin Adair commence his current role as Propel Manager? What previous experience does Mr Adair have in a) working with early stage startup businesses, and, b) in managing programmes of this nature.

2) Your reply to question 2) was as follows;

'Invest NI does not hold the information requested'

Please provide clarification to your response.

Are you stating that Invest NI does not hold, or never has held any information as to how Mr Chris McClelland’s experience in his role as Programme Director meets the contractual requirements as set out in the awarding tender.

Your response communicates that there has never been any written justification to support the decision by Invest NI, for the approval for this significant change to allow Ignite NI to make a replacement to key personnel in a contract. Please clarify this.

Are we correct in concluding that this decision was made verbally by Martin Adair, between himself and a member of staff from Ignite, on an independent basis, with no consultation with any colleagues or legal advisors with Invest NI?

In addition no written record was produced, shared or now held by Invest NI?

3) Your reply to question 4) was as follows:

'The decision to appoint Mr McClelland was made by Ignite. Invest NI was aware of this decision when it consented to his recruitment into the role of Programme Director. Invest NI does not hold written justification in regard to the recruitment of Mr McClelland as Programme Director, this decision was made verbally at a meeting on 3 December 2018.'

Please provide clarification to your response.

At what date was Invest NI made aware of the decision to appoint Mr McClelland by Ignite to the role of Programme Director?

How was this decision to appoint Mr Chris McClelland made by Ignite communicated to Invest NI?

In such a contractual agreement, would it not be normal for a supplier, in this case Ignite, to forward a proposed change to a key member of staff (Mr Chris McClelland), and as such both parties would have to agree to this change in personnel?

Why is there no written justification held by Invest NI in relation to a significant change to the material nature of a significant contract? And, why can no written explanation be provided by Invest NI?

Would it be normal practise within Invest NI to not hold any written justification when a contract is amended in such a way?

Relating to the meeting held on 3rd December 2018.

At what location and time was the meeting held?

Who was present at this meeting, in part or for the whole of the meeting? Was Martin Adair, Propel Manager, or Mr Chris McClelland Ignite present?

By whom was the decision made in Invest NI to allow Ignite to make the change to a key personnel within this contract (with a prior request or not?) ?

Please provide any minutes recorded for that meeting.

If no minutes were recorded for that meeting, please offer a reason why this was the case.

Please provide a copy of the email sent by Martin Adair to notify his colleagues of this material change to the contract. Including the names of the recipients and their job roles within Invest NI.

How was this decision communicated to the relevant parties within Invest NI? If it was by email, please can you share the email(s) relating to this decision.

At what date did Mr Chris McClelland commence his duties as Programme Director with the accelerator programme?

At what date did Tristan Watson cease acting as the Programme Director?

Had Mr Chris McClelland held any previous paid role within Ignite NI that held an operational activity in this Invest NI funded programme, prior to his appointment as Programme Director?

4) Your reply to question 6) was as follows:

‘Changes to key personnel may be effected with the prior agreement/approval of Invest NI. Such agreement /approval shall not unreasonably be withheld.’

Please provide clarification to your response.

Did Invest NI given prior agreement to the change in personnel in this contract?

On what basis was the decision to make the change in personnel a reasonable one?

In this instance, what would the normal process of assessment and authorisation be within Invest NI to make such a significant material change to a contract of this nature?

Were any legal advisers (either internally or externally) consulted to give any input on this significant contractual adjustment?

Were the Central Procurement Directorate consulted and informed of this change? If so were they asked for their advice prior to any decision to make this key personnel change, or after the event?

Have any similar changes in key personnel been made to any other contracts of this nature by Invest NI in the past 5 years? If yes, please provide information relating to this changes.

I look forward to your full responses to these points of clarification.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Goodley

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

Dear Mr Goodley,

FOI 1159

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

Thank you for your email.

As per the section 45 code of practice under the above legislation, Invest NI has a duty to conduct an internal review for those applicants who are dissatisfied with its initial decision.

This internal review is a first stage review for applicants prior to the involvement of the Information Commissioner. The internal reviewer is independent from the initial decision and considers whether the original response was appropriate.

This process will normally be completed within 20 working days. It is envisioned that a response will be issued to you no later than 1st November 2019. In the event that we will be unable to meet this deadline we will advise you accordingly.

Thanks,
Jane

Jane McKenna
Information Governance
Invest Northern Ireland, Bedford Square, Bedford Street. BT2 7ES.
Direct T: +44 (0) 28 9069 8226
Email: [email address]
www.investni.com www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk
Text Relay Number: 18001 028 9069 8226
If you are calling using a textphone from outside the UK please call: +44 151 494 1260 028 9069 8226

For details on how we use your personal data, including your rights, please visit: investni.com/privacy

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

4 Atodiad

Dear Mr Goodley,

FOI 1159 Internal Review

Please find attached our response to your recent request for an internal review.

Thanks,
Jane

Jane McKenna
Information Governance Team
Invest Northern Ireland, Bedford Square, Bedford Street. Belfast. BT2 7ES.
Direct T: +44 (0) 28 9069 8226
Email: [email address]
www.investni.com www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk
Text Relay Number: 18001 028 9069 8226
If you are calling using a textphone from outside the UK please call: +44 151 494 1260 028 9069 8226

For details on how we use your personal data, including your rights, please visit: investni.com/privacy

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI Invest Northern Ireland,
For the clarification and those interested in this enquiry for the benefit of search engine visibility, here is your response in full:

>>

[email address]
Bedford Square
Bedford Street
Belfast
BT2 7ES

Telephone: 028 90698345

Email: [email address]

Our Ref: FOI 1159

Date: 1st November 2019
Dear Mr Goodley

Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA)

I can confirm that I have completed the internal review requested on 4th October 2019.

In line with guidance from the Information Commissioner, this review is an opportunity to make a fresh decision based on the available evidence. During the review process I have considered the information associated with your request and have spoken with the relevant Invest NI staff.

On review of the original response in relation to your 6 questions asked on 11th September, I am content that these questions were addressed and the exemptions were applied appropriately. I am therefore content to uphold the original decision.

I will address your further clarification questions:

1. At what date did Martin Adair commence his current role as Propel Manager? What previous experience does Mr Adair have in a) working with early stage startup businesses, and, b) in managing programmes of this nature.

The information you are requesting relates to third party personal information. The disclosure of this information would constitute a breach of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and as such will be withheld under the exemption as defined at Annex 1 of this letter.

2. a Are you stating that Invest NI does not hold, or never has held any information as to how Mr Chris McClelland’s experience in his role as Programme Director meets the contractual requirements as set out in the awarding tender?

I can confirm that Invest NI does not hold this information.

b. Your response communicates that there has never been any written justification to support the decision by Invest NI, for the approval for this significant change to allow Ignite NI to make a replacement to key personnel in a contract. Please clarify this.

c. Are we correct in concluding that this decision was made verbally by Martin Adair, between himself and a member of staff from Ignite, on an independent basis, with no consultation with any colleagues or legal advisors with Invest NI?

d. In addition no written record was produced, shared or now held by Invest NI?

Ignite advised Invest NI verbally in in November 2018 of the intention to change personnel, and confirmed in writing on 29th November 2018 (Record 1). The decision was discussed by Ignite and Invest NI at a meeting on 3rd December 2018 and was approved by the Invest NI director of Skills & Competitiveness, Niall Casey at that meeting. Whereas no formal minutes were recorded for this meeting, I include an extract of a monthly report dated 7th December 2018 that refers to the meeting and the decision made (Record 2).

3.a. At what date was Invest NI made aware of the decision to appoint Mr McClelland by Ignite to the role of Programme Director?
How was this decision to appoint Mr Chris McClelland made by Ignite communicated to Invest NI?

Ignite advised Invest NI verbally in in November 2018 of the intention to change personnel which was confirmed in writing in an email of 29th November 2018 (Record 1).

b. In such a contractual agreement, would it not be normal for a supplier, in this case Ignite, to forward a proposed change to a key member of staff (Mr Chris McClelland), and as such both parties would have to agree to this change in personnel?

The replacement of key personnel under this contract is governed by Clause 14.2 of the Conditions of Contract which states “Any replacements to the Key Personnel will be subject to the agreement of the Client (not to be unreasonably withheld). Such replacements will be of at least equal status or of equivalent experience and skills to the Key Personnel being replaced and be suitable for the responsibilities of that person in relation to the Services.”

c. Why is there no written justification held by Invest NI in relation to a significant change to the material nature of a significant contract?
d. And, why can no written explanation be provided by Invest NI?
e. Would it be normal practise within Invest NI to not hold any written justification when a contract is amended in such a way?

Invest NI acknowledges that a record should have been maintained on the discussions held in respect of the justification for replacement of key personnel under this contract. However Invest NI is content that the changes of staff was in line with the requirements of the contract due to the process followed. Whilst this is a change to the personnel delivering the contract (as this contract allows), it is a not material change to the contract defined in the Public Contract Regulations, as provision for the replacement of key personnel is provided for in the Conditions of Contract.

Relating to the meeting held on 3rd December 2018.
f. At what location and time was the meeting held?
g. Who was present at this meeting, in part or for the whole of the meeting? Was Martin Adair, Propel Manager, or Mr Chris McClelland Ignite present?

The meeting was held at Invest NI HQ Bedford Street at 10.30am. The attendees were as follows: Martin Adair, Invest NI Propel Manager; Niall Casey, Invest NI Director for Skills & Competiveness; Tristan Watson, CEO Ignite

h. By whom was the decision made in Invest NI to allow Ignite to make the change to a key personnel within this contract (with a prior request or not?)?

The decision was made by Niall Casey, Invest NI Director for Skills & Competiveness in line with the contract.

i. Please provide any minutes recorded for that meeting.
j. If no minutes were recorded for that meeting, please offer a reason why this was the case.

Please see response to question 2 above. There is no requirement for minutes to be taken at operational meetings, however, as noted in response to question 3e, it would be normal practise to keep a record of the decision made at this meeting to demonstrate the justification for replacement personnel.

k. Please provide a copy of the email sent by Martin Adair to notify his colleagues of this material change to the contract. Including the names of the recipients and their job roles within Invest NI.
l. How was this decision communicated to the relevant parties within Invest NI? If it was by email, please can you share the email(s) relating to this decision?

No email is held. In the internal review it was confirmed that this change of personnel was communicated verbally to Invest NI colleagues. As noted above the contract allowed for this change so it is not considered material.

m. At what date did Mr Chris McClelland commence his duties as Programme Director with the accelerator programme?

Mr Tristan Watson CEO Ignite has confirmed that, despite an expected earlier date in record 1, Mr McClelland commenced his duties officially at the beginning of January 2019.

n. At what date did Tristan Watson cease acting as the Programme Director?

Tristan Watson has not ceased acting as Programme Director and still continues to fulfil elements of this role in respect of budget and overall performance of the programme.

o. Had Mr Chris McClelland held any previous paid role within Ignite NI that held an operational activity in this Invest NI funded programme, prior to his appointment as Programme Director?

Mr Chris McClelland held a previous role as an Entrepreneur In Residence.

4.a Did Invest NI given prior agreement to the change in personnel in this contract?

Yes, agreement was given by Invest NI Director of Skills & Competiveness, Niall Casey at the meeting of 3rd December (Record 2).

b. On what basis was the decision to make the change in personnel a reasonable one?

The information provided to the Invest NI representatives at the meeting of 3rd December 2018 enabled them to approve the decision of Ignites choice of Programme Manager.

c. In this instance, what would the normal process of assessment and authorisation be within Invest NI to make such a significant material change to a contract of this nature?

Whilst this is a change to the personnel delivering the contract (as this contract allows), it is a not material change to the contract defined in the Public Contract Regulations, as provision for the replacement of key personnel is provided for in the Conditions of Contract. The assessment would be made by the Invest NI operational team who manage the contract.

d. Were any legal advisers (either internally or externally) consulted to give any input on this significant contractual adjustment?

The contract explicitly allows for the replacement of key personnel, therefore was not a material contract adjustment which required legal advice. This was an operational decision.

e. Were the Central Procurement Directorate consulted and informed of this change? If so were they asked for their advice prior to any decision to make this key personnel change, or after the event?

There was no requirement to consult with the Central Procurement Directorate as the contract explicitly allows for the replacement of key personnel.

f. Have any similar changes in key personnel been made to any other contracts of this nature by Invest NI in the past 5 years? If yes, please provide information relating to this changes.

I can confirm that Invest NI may hold information that falls within the scope of question 4f, however, I have estimated that it will cost more than the appropriate limit to respond to this question, and impose a resource and time burden on Invest NI due to the number of contracts that would need to be reviewed to establish if this particular change of personnel occurred.

The Fees Regulations associated with the UK Freedom of Information legislation remove the obligation from public authorities to respond to requests for information should the cost of doing so exceed the appropriate limit. This limit is in respect of costs an Authority reasonably expects to incur in determining whether it holds the information requested, locating the information (or documents containing the information), retrieving such information or documents and extracting the required information from said documents.

We may take into account the costs attributable to the time that staff are expected to spend on these activities at the rate of £25/hour up to a limit of £450.

Given the length of time that would need to be spent to locate, retrieve and extract the requested information this would exceed our limit. The scope of your request would require Invest NI to manually search a significant volume of information across both electronic and paper files. This exercise would take significantly more than the allowed 18 hours and it is difficult for us to estimate what we could provide within the required timeframe.

In summary I can confirm that I am content to uphold the original decision in response to your request dated 4th October 2019 and uphold the application the exemptions at section 40(2) and s43(2) as detailed within that response. I am also content that the public interest in withholding the information outweighs that in disclosure.

I have also provided further clarification to your 28 questions and include records as detailed in the Release Schedule attached. As noted above some information cannot be disclosed for the reasons provided at Annex 1.

If you are unhappy with the results of this internal review, you have the right to appeal to the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF, who may undertake an independent review.

Yours sincerely

Steve Chambers
Head of Internal Operations

>>

Yours sincerely,

Simon Goodley

Dear FOI Invest Northern Ireland,
>>

From: Tristan Watson [mailto:[email address]] On Behalf Of Tristan Watson Sent: 29 November 2018 15:43 To: Martin Adair <[email address]> Subject: Staffing
Hi Martin
Just to confirm that I spoke to his afternoon and have given him his notice.
From next week the programmes will be headed by Chris McClelland, with workng4 days a week, and ontinuing in her associate role.
See you Monday.
Thanks
Tris
Tristan Watson
CEO J Ignite
@tristanwatson

>>

Yours sincerely,

Simon Goodley

Dear FOI Invest Northern Ireland Stephen Chambers / Martin Adair / Niall Casey,

Please can you confirm that you included an extract of a monthly report dated 7th December 2018 that refers to the meeting and the decision made (Record 2) - in your response to me dated 1st November.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Goodley

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

Dear Mr Goodley

I can confirm that Record 2 was an extract of a monthly report dated 7th December 2018 which reflected the decision made at the meeting of 3rd December 2018.

Regards

Clodagh

Clodagh Claxton
Information Governance officer
Information Governance Team
Invest Northern Ireland, Bedford Square, Bedford Street. Belfast. BT2 7ES.
Direct T: +44 (0) 28 9069 8864
Email: [email address]
www.investni.com www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk
Text Relay Number: 18001 028 9069 8864
If you are calling using a textphone from outside the UK please call: +44 151 494 1260 028 9069 8864

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI Invest Northern Ireland,

It would seem that the timeline of events and information provided by Invest NI could create some confusion.

The narrative of the email sent by Tristan Watson of Ignite to Martin Adair Invest NI on Thursday 29 November, makes it clear to the reader that the decision to place Chris McClelland to ‘head the programmes’ had been made.

Tristan Watson writes:

‘From next week the programmes will be headed by Chris McClelland’.

[Assuming programmes being referred to here are the Propel pre-Accelerator and the Ignite Accelerator.]

It therefore could be concluded that this subject it had been discussed and agreed on that date or prior to that email being sent.

Tristan Watson was confirming a conversation that had taken place between himself and Martin Adair. The email is not introducing the subject matter, or requesting that the possibility to consider Chris McClelland as a future Programme Director, or how would this process of personnel change take place. On the contrary, his email was written to give a documented record of a decision that had been discussed and considered between himself and Martin Adair.

As Invest NI states;

‘Ignite advised Invest NI verbally in in November 2018 of the intention to change personnel’

No specific date provided for the when they verbally communicated with Invest NI or which staff member was advised.

Hence, the matter had been one for discussion and new personnel would have to be selected and appointed, as in line with operational procedure.

In this email, Tristan Watson of Ignite confirms that Chris McClelland will commence in this new position next week, that being the week commencing Monday 3 December 2018.

On the morning of 3 December a meeting was held at Bedford House with Martin Adair, Niall Casey and Tristan Watson present. Remarkably, no minutes of this meeting were recorded or held by Invest NI, contrary to normal practise.

Invest NI states that;

‘it would be normal practise to keep a record of the decision made at this meeting to demonstrate the justification for replacement personnel’.

But no record was made, nor shared as part of this FoI request. The meeting was held in Invest NI offices, yet no record or minutes of a meeting were produced, which was included at least a discussion of a significant change in the contract makeup for a leading programme. No minutes were taken or could be provided in a |FoI request, nor as a consequence to any other Invest NI staff member or programme audit, so it is uncertain of the scope and content of the meeting.

Invest NI state
- ‘The decision was made by Niall Casey, Invest NI Director for Skills & Competiveness (sp?) in line with the contract’.

However no record was made of this decision by either of the Invest NI staff present at the meeting on 3 December. Neither Martin Adair or Niall Casey produced a documented review and justification of this change in personnel.

It is apparent from Record 1, Tristan Watsons email, that this decision to appoint Chris McClelland had already taken place on or before 29 November. It was agreed between Martin Adair and Tristan Watson at a meeting, again with no minutes or record held by Invest NI. Martin Adair also did not communicate this decision by email to any staff member in Invest NI or his line manager.

Invest NI states;

'No email is held. In the internal review it was confirmed that this change of personnel was communicated verbally to Invest NI colleagues.'

It is acknowledged that changes in personnel by private companies in such programmes will from time to time occur. Invest NI have by right the authority to assess any proposed changes, and give their agreement or otherwise.

Invest NI states that;

‘Such agreement /approval shall not unreasonably be withheld’

The question has to be asked. Would such agreement /approval not be unreasonable to be withheld if Ignite cannot provide the documentary evidence required by Invest NI as to how Chris McClelland meets the person specification in the contract. It was not provided in any meeting, report or communication. In fear of repetition, that written justification and reporting for this change in personnel, seemingly failed to take place.

I see in previous FoI responses to this question a failure to provide this information. So, it might be assumed that at this stage, that this information cannot be presented and shared in this request, as it does not exist. That seems to be the response of Invest NI. The decision to make the personnel change was agreed verbally, with no reference to terms in the contract, with the absence of any legal or procurement input. A decision made in isolation with no advice or input, with no procedural check and assessment of the contract status for the person specification, at least there is no documented record to support this.

Invest NI acknowledges;

‘that a record should have been maintained on the discussions held in respect of the justification for replacement of key personnel under this contract.’

And,

‘Invest NI does not hold written justification in regard to the recruitment of Mr McClelland as Programme Director, this decision was made verbally at a meeting on 3 December 2018.’

A decision made by Niall Casey. Verbally, with no written justification.

Then, one must ask, which staff member(s) in Invest NI in this instance failed to ensure that adequate records were produced and stored? If the two staff members present were Niall Casey and Martin Adair, is there a failing in duties on their behalf?

Remarkably, Invest NI have now been able to inform that;

‘Mr Tristan Watson CEO Ignite has confirmed that, despite an expected earlier date in record 1, Mr McClelland commenced his duties officially at the beginning of January 2019.’

Why were Invest NI not able to confirm this information in your response? Does any record of this subsequent change exist within Invest NI?

In the notes of the meeting on 7 December, it is noted that previous staff members of Ignite;

‘have been replaced by Chris McClelland as Programme Director’.

This is not in the future tense, it is in the current tense.

It is also not documented as why the previous staff members were departing Ignite employment or participation in Programme delivery.

If Chris McClelland did not start until January 2019, who was the Programme Director for the programmes in this month? Additionally, were Ignite financially reimbursed for the provision of a programme director for the month of December 2018?

Either he was the Programme Director in December 2018, or he was not.

Irrespective of the legalities of the contract terms, it could be asked whether Martin Adair and/or Niall Casey, either lack the experience to manage programmes of this nature, or did any Invest NI staff member deliberately chose to ignore their operational accountability of their individual roles.

Have standard traditional operational procedures for making a change of this nature within Invest NI been ignored? It appears that Invest NI allowed a supplier to appoint personnel, without any written authorisation or the absence of any internal operational justification took place, other than a verbal communication and a confirmation of the decision in a review meeting.

Who is the programme director?

There also a number contradictions in the reference to the role being carried out by Chris McClelland in the programmes as ‘Programme Director’. This role which is fully in the public domain, so any contradiction in this FOI request is baffling.

https://syncni.com/article/3205/last-cha...
http://www.businesseye.co.uk/top-tech-pr...
https://www.insidermedia.com/news/irelan...
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m0006034
https://www.businesstelegraph.co.uk/star...

At one point Invest NI states that

‘Tristan Watson is still the Programme Director’;

Yet, in relation to Chris McClelland that

‘Invest NI was aware of this decision when it consented to his recruitment into the role of Programme Director’;

You also state at one point in your response that

‘Tristan Watson has not ceased acting as Programme Director’.

You do confirm that Chris McClelland is the Programme Director on a number of instances.

One could conclude that these contradictory responses in relation to who is the Programme Director are either a result of ineptitude, or a reluctance or a deliberate effort not to provide a full and accurate response. Or possibly a combination of both.

I suggest that the Invest NI management team / board needs to consider an appropriate investigation into the issues raised in this FoI request, in particular (1) the possible decision to appoint a person who is not qualified to hold the role of Programme Director, (2) the timeline of events as stated by Invest NI does not seem to support the position that the change in personnel was proposed by Ignite and adequately assessed by Invest NI staff and (3) where there seems to be insufficient records and documented justification for this operational decision.

Where Invest NI cannot furnish any documented justification for the decision to appoint Chris McClelland as Programme Director by either Martin Adair or Niall Casey, in a straightforward FoI request.

From your website I see that Invest NI has a clear statement on its corporate responsibility, with the strapline of ‘Do the right thing’.

Where you explain that ‘Do the right thing’ puts responsible business practice at the heart of our decision-making.

If you choose not to consider this option, please inform me as to how to request that Invest NI investigate this matter.

Do the right thing.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Goodley

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

Dear Mr Goodley,

 

Thank you for your email of 4th November 2019 in which you raised a number
of points in relation to the internal review of your FOI request. A small
number of those points represent requests for clarification of our
response and I would like to take the opportunity to address those
requests.

 

1.           ‘If Chris McClelland did not start until January 2019, who
was the Programme Director for the programmes in this month?’

 

Tristan Watson was Programme Director during December 2018.

 

2.           ‘Additionally, were Ignite financially reimbursed for the
provision of a programme director for the month of December 2018?’

 

Ignite were reimbursed for the services provided by Ignite in December,
including the Programme Director duties fulfilled by Tristan Watson during
that period.

 

You have also raised a number of points in relation to the administrative
management of the Pre-Accelerator (Propel) and Accelerator programmes. I
would like to assure you that your comments will be taken into account as
we go forward with the programmes.

 

As outlined in my previous response, if you are unhappy with the results
of the internal review, you have the right to appeal to the Information
Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9
5AF, who may undertake an independent review.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Steve Chambers

Head of Internal Operations

 

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dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear FOI Invest Northern Ireland,

Thank you your response.

We would like to be assured you that our comments made relating to Martin Adair and Niall Casey's conduct will be taken into account by senior management and/or the board of invest Northern Ireland.

Yours sincerely,

Simon Goodley

FOI Invest Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland

Dear Mr Goodley,

 

Thank you for your further email. I can confirm that this is the case.

 

Kind regards

 

Steve Chambers

Head of Internal Operations

 

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