Affected Bodies

Department for Communities (Northern Ireland) did not have the information requested.

Dear Department for Communities (Northern Ireland),

I would be grateful if you could advise if any of your ALB's or NDPB's have been affected by the 16th May 2019 judgement of Madam Justice McBride, whereupon it was found that for certain decisions the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland had no power to delegate responsibility to discharge statutory powers to staff.
If any have been affected, I would ask that you;

(i) list the names of NPDBs or ALBs affected
(ii) what changes if any have been made to those NDPBs or ALBs affected, and the date these changes were implemented.
(iii) if none were affected, please state so.

Yours faithfully,

Trevor McKee

ProbityaacNI

Bell, Colleen, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

Dear Mr McKee,

 

I am writing in response to your email of 6 September 2019 in which you
request information concerning the wider impact of Madam Justice McBride’s
Judgment regarding delegation of powers within the Charity Commission for
Northern Ireland (CCNI).

 

The Departmental Solicitors Office has undertaken work on behalf of the
Department for Communities to ascertain the wider implications of the
Judgment and has written to all other Northern Ireland Departments in that
regard. This work is ongoing and it is therefore not possible at this
stage to determine whether the Judgment has any impact for other bodies,
the extent of any effect, or the bodies which may have to respond to the
Judgment in addition to CCNI, which has established a Committee to make
emergency decisions, pending the outcome of its appeal. Once this
information is gathered the Department will seek legal advice on it and it
is therefore likely that it could be exempted from disclosure under
Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000, if requested.

 

I trust this is helpful.

 

Regards,

 

 

Colleen Bell | Charities Team | Voluntary and Community Division
|Department for Communities

4^th Floor |NINE Lanyon Place |Lanyon Quay |Belfast |BT1 3LP

Contact:*|[email address] | ( Tel: (028) 90 829424| (
DD: 38424

 

 

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 'Affected Bodies'.

Dear Ms Bell

Thank you for your response. I understand that Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 is a qualified exemption subject to a public interest test, and that it is not immediately evident from what you have stated so far how it might potentially apply. However I can deal with that in the fullness of time if it becomes relevant.

What is immediately relevant is the research the DSO is undertaking, and the length of time that has passed since this purported risk first became apparent.
As you know the DFC became a third party intervener in this matter citing the reason you have given on the 29th November 2017. The research into the departments NDPB's was completed for that litigation and no risk was found to exist. In any event, the research necessary could be conducted and completed in one day, it is a reasonably straightforward process, requiring little skill or knowledge.

For example, in the Libraries Board subject to the "Libraries Act (Northern Ireland) 2008" and contained within article 9 (1) of schedule 1 to that act (reproduced below), we can see that there is a power of delegation to staff.

"Delegation to committees and staff
9—(1) The Authority may, to such extent as it may determine, delegate any of its functions to—
(a)
any committee of the Authority;
(b)
any employee of the Authority.
(2) Any committee of the Authority may, to such extent as the committee may determine, delegate any functions of the committee to any employee of the Authority."

There is no further body of research to conduct, it has all been completed within the litigation. It appears that there are no other bodies affected by the decision of the High Court, and no other NDPB's acting outside of their powers. It therefore follows that the department should have no further interest in any onward application to the NI Court of Appeal. Please can you confirm that this is the case?
If this is the case, then any exemption applied to releasing the information would attract a strong public interest challenge sufficient to warrant disclosure of the information, simply because of the vast amounts of public money being invested. I would also respectfully advise that if requests and exchanges are continuing with the departments NDPB's and other Government departments and their NDPB's, then I submit the information cannot lawfully be described as privileged.

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,

Trevor McKee

ProbityaacNI

DfC FOI, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

Mr McKee,

 

I am writing to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence below.

 

Regards

 

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

Level 5 | Nine Lanyon Place | BELFAST | BT1 3LP

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

 

 

show quoted sections

Ireland, Martin, Department for Communities (Northern Ireland)

1 Attachment

Mr McKee,

 

Please find attached correspondence in response to your recent request.

 

Regards.

 

Martin

 

Martin Ireland | Charities Team | Voluntary and Community Division|
Department for Communities

4th Floor | 9 Lanyon Place | Lanyon Quay | Belfast | BT1 3LP

Contact: *| [email address] |  ( Tel: (028) 90
829444|  ( DD: 38444

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