Accountability Meetings

The request was partially successful.

Dear Department for Communities (Northern Ireland),

1. How often has the Permanent Secretary DFC and previously DSD, or the VCU, in his/her role as Head of Sponsor Branch, met with each Charity Commissioner, to discuss their roles, accountability and give general appraisals within the past 5 years.

2. Please publish the recorded minutes of each meeting.

These meetings will be pursuant to the MSFM and schedule 1 part (2) of the Charities Act (NI) 2008,

Yours faithfully,

Trevor McKee

ProbityaacNI

Seaman, Liam, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

Dear Mr McKee

 

Please see attached acknowledgement to your Freedom of Information request
DfC 2018/0013.

 

Regards

 

Liam

 

 

Seaman, Liam, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

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  • Attachment

    Dfc 2018 0013 reply T McKee CCNI PS meetings with Charity Commissioners.docx

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Dear Mr McKee

 

Please see attached response to your Freedom of Information request DfC
2018/0013.

 

Regards

 

Liam

 

 

Dear Department for Communities (Northern Ireland),

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)'s handling of my FOI request 'Accountability Meetings'.
Thank you for your response this far. I reproduce below the relevant sections of the MSFM. It confirms to me the the Department should hold the recorded information. I am however content that you confirm that no such accountability meetings have taken place at any time, which seems to be the inference to be drawn from your response.

RESPONSIBILITIES AND ACCOUNTABILITY
3.1 The Minister
3.1.1 The Minister is accountable to the Assembly for the activities and performance
of CCNI. The Minister’s responsibilities include:
7
 approving CCNI’s strategic objectives and the policy and performance
framework within which CCNI will operate (as set out in this Management
Statement and Financial Memorandum and associated documents);
 keeping the Assembly informed about CCNI’s performance;
 approving the amount of grant-in-aid to be paid to CCNI and securing
Assembly approval; and
 carrying out responsibilities specified in the founding legislation and the
CCNI’s strategic plan including appointments to the CCNI Board, approving
the terms and conditions of CCNI Commissioners, approving the terms and
conditions for the appointment of the Chief Executive, approval of terms and
conditions of staff and laying of the annual report and accounts before the
Assembly.
3.2 The Accounting Officer of DfC
3.2.1 The Permanent Secretary for DfC as the Department’s Principal Accounting
Officer (the Departmental Accounting Officer), is responsible for the overall
organisation, management and staffing of DfC and for ensuring that there is a
high standard of financial management in the Department as a whole. The
Departmental Accounting Officer is accountable to the Assembly for the issue of
any grant-in-aid to CCNI. The Departmental Accounting Officer designates the
Chief Executive of CCNI as CCNI’s Accounting Officer, and may withdraw the
Accounting Officer designation if it is believed that the incumbent is no longer
suitable for the role.
3.2.2 In particular the Departmental Accounting Officer of DfC shall ensure that:
 CCNI’s strategic aims and objectives support the DfC wider strategic aims
and any relevant PfG objectives and targets;
 the financial and other management controls applied by DfC to CCNI are
appropriate and sufficient to safeguard public funds and for ensuring that
CCNI’s compliance with those controls is effectively monitored (“public
funds” include not only any funds granted to CCNI by the Assembly but also
any other funds falling within the stewardship of CCNI);
 the internal controls applied by CCNI conform to the requirements of
regularity, propriety and good financial management; and
 any grant-in-aid to CCNI is within the ambit and the amount of the Request
for Resources and that Assembly authority has been sought and given.
3.2.3 The responsibilities of a Departmental Accounting Officer are set out in more
detail in chapter 3 of Managing Public Money Northern Ireland (MPMNI).
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3.3 Departmental Sponsor Team
3.3.1 Within DfC, nominated members of Voluntary and Community Directorate staff,
will form the sponsor team for CCNI. The Team, in consultation as necessary
with the Departmental Accounting Officer, is the primary source of advice to the
Minister on the discharge of their responsibilities in respect of CCNI, and the
primary point of contact for CCNI in dealing with DfC. The sponsor team shall
carry out its duties under the management of a senior officer, who shall have
primary responsibility within the team for overseeing the activities of CCNI.
3.3.2 The sponsor team shall advise the Minister on
 an appropriate framework of objectives and targets for CCNI in the light of
the Department’s wider strategic aims and any relevant PfG objectives and
targets;
 an appropriate budget for CCNI in the light of the Department’s overall public
expenditure priorities; and
 how well CCNI is achieving its strategic objectives and whether it is
delivering value for money.
3.3.3 In support of the Departmental Accounting Officer, the sponsor team shall:
On performance and risk management
 monitor CCNI’s activities on a continuing basis through an adequate and
timely flow of information from CCNI on performance, budgeting, control,
and risk management, including early sight of CCNI’s Quarterly Stewardship
Statement;
 address in a timely manner any significant problems arising in CCNI,
whether financial or otherwise, making such interventions in the affairs of
CCNI as DfC judges necessary to address such problems; and
 periodically carry out a risk assessment of CCNI’s activities to inform DfC
oversight of CCNI; strengthen these arrangements if necessary; and amend
the MSFM accordingly. The risk assessment shall take into account the
nature of CCNI’s activities; the public monies at stake; the body’s corporate
governance arrangements; its financial performance; internal and external
auditor’s reports; the openness of communications between CCNI and DfC;
and any other relevant matters.
On communication with CCNI
 inform CCNI of relevant Executive/Government policy in a timely manner; if
necessary, advise on the interpretation of that policy; and issue specific
guidance to CCNI as necessary;
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 bring concerns about the activities of CCNI to the attention of the full board
of Commissioners, and require explanations and assurances from the
Commissioners that appropriate action has been taken;
 DfC and CCNI hold bi-monthly liaison meetings which are chaired by the
Sponsor Branch G7; and
 representatives from the Sponsor Branch together with representatives from
the wider sponsor team meet with CCNI on a regular basis (in advance of
CCNI’s board meetings).

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

Yours faithfully,

ProbityaacNI

O'Hara, Damian, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    FOI Internal Review DFC IR 2018 0009 Acknowledgement CCNI Meetings with Permanent Secretary.DOCX.docx

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Mr McKee,

 

Please find attached an acknowledgement of your request for an internal
review of how the Department managed a recent enquiry.

 

Regards

 

Damian O'Hara| Information Management Branch | Department for Communities

Ground Floor | Lighthouse Building | 1 Cromac Place |Gasworks Business
Park | Ormeau Road |BELFAST | BT7 2JB

Contact: * damian.o'[email address] | ( Tel: (028) 90 829137
| ( DD: 38137

 

 

 

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Dear Damian,

Can I have a update please?

Yours sincerely,

ProbityaacNI

Dear Damian,

In the absence of a reply I will raise the issue with the ICO.

Yours sincerely,
Trevor McKee
ProbityaacNI

Dear O'Hara, Damian,

Can I mark this request as info not held and as confirmation that no accountability meetings have ever taken place. In addition an internal review has been refused?

Yours sincerely,

ProbityaacNI

DfC FOI, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

Dear Mr McKee

 

I acknowledge receipt of your email below and have passed your
correspondence to the Department’s FOI Reviewing Officer who will respond
to you directly.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Helen Lindsay

Information Management Branch

Department for Communities

Ground Floor Lighthouse Building

1 Cromac Place, Gasworks Business Park

BELFAST,

BT7 2JB

Contact: * helen.lindsay@communities-ni. gov.uk

 ( Tel: (028) 90 829117 | ( DD: 38117

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Dear DfC FOI,

May I have a response please?

Yours sincerely,

ProbityaacNI

DfC FOI, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

Mr McKee,

 

Thank you for contacting the Department.  I have passed your e-mail to the
FOI Reviewing Officer.

 

Regards

 

Damian O'Hara| Information Management Branch | Department for Communities

Ground Floor | Lighthouse Building | 1 Cromac Place |Gasworks Business
Park | Ormeau Road |BELFAST | BT7 2JB

Contact: * damian.o'[email address] | ( Tel: (028) 90 829137
| ( DD: 38137

 

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Boyce, Adrian, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    FOI Internal Review DFC IR 2018 0009 CCNI Meetings with Permanent Secr....pdf

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Mr McKee,

Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.
I have checked my records to confirm that your request for an internal review was answered on 8th March 2018.
I am unsure why you did not receive the original response, therefore please find attached a copy of the Internal Review.

Best Regards,

Adrian

____________________________________________________________________________
Adrian Boyce |Information Management Branch | Department for Communities
Ground Level | Lighthouse Building | 1 Cromac Place | Belfast | BT7 2JB
| Email: [email address] | Tel: (028) 9082 9046

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Dear Boyce, Adrian,

Can i refer you to the Minutes of Board Meeting No. 40 held on Monday 22 September 2014
at 10:25 hrs, 257 Lough Road, Lurgan, which appear inconsistent with your response?

Yours sincerely,

ProbityaacNI

Dear Boyce, Adrian,

Also as another point of inconsistency, the annual report and accounts 2017/18.

Yours sincerely,

ProbityaacNI

Dear Adrian,

I urge you in the light of the inconsistencies I have identified, and recent statements apropos the Charity Commission, to immediately provide the information requested.
I would encourage you to consider carefully the grave importance of the requested information, and recent statements made publicly by the department, and the Charity Commission.

Yours sincerely,
Trevor McKee
ProbityaacNI

Dear Adrian,

Can you please confirm my request?

Trevor McKee
Yours sincerely,
ProbityaacNI

Dear Adrian,

In order to close of this request (unresolved by your answer), I intend to escalate this confidentially to the Permanent Secretary and the Head of the Civil Service. I will do this in the absence of a substantive reply, and by the 13th September 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Trevor McKee

ProbityaacNI

Dear Adrian,

To assist you in making a decision, may I refer you to DFC/2019-0071.
I am content to correspond outside of this medium if it helps.

Yours sincerely,

Trevor McKee
ProbityaacNI

Boyce, Adrian, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

Mr McKee,

 

Further to your email seeking clarification regarding your Freedom of
Information Request (DFC/2018-0013) and the information supplied to
another requester (DFC/2019-0071) on a related subject.

 

In your original request for information (DFC/2018-0013) you asked “How
often has the Permanent Secretary DFC and previously DSD, or the VCU, in
his/her role as Head of Sponsor Branch, met with each Charity
Commissioner, to discuss their roles, accountability and give general
appraisals within the past 5 years”. The Department explained that the
information requested is not held and this was upheld at Internal Review.

 

Within the request for information (DFC/2019-0071) that you refer to, the
requester asked “Please provide the number of accountability meetings the
DfC (and formerly) DSD have had with the Commissioners of CCNI since
2010”. The Departments response stated that there had been 10
accountability meetings within the timeframe indicated.

 

I believe the issue lies in your misperception of accountability meetings.
The responsible Minister (or the Permanent Secretary since the Executive
has not been functioning) meets with the Chief Commissioner and other
representatives on an annual basis as required by the MSFM. The Permanent
Secretary does not meet with each Charity Commissioner individually and
therefore the information you requested is not held by the Department. For
clarity the Chief Commissioner does undertake a performance appraisal with
the relevant Deputy Secretary (Grade 3) on an annual basis.

 

I trust this has provided final clarification on this matter.

 

Regards,

 

Adrian

 

_______________________________________________________________________________

Adrian Boyce |Information Access Manager |Information Management
Branch|Department for Communities

Level 5 | 9 Lanyon Place | Belfast | BT1 3LP

Contact: * Email: [1][email address] | ( Tel: (028)
9082 9046 |

 

Supporting people, Building communities, Shaping places

 

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