Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 17 January 2023

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government

Local Government Performance Indicators and Public Spending Code: National Oversight and Audit Commission

Photo of Paul McAuliffePaul McAuliffe (Dublin North West, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank out witnesses for being here today. The first question I want to ask Mr. McCarthy draws from my experience both on the Committee of Public Accounts and this committee regarding the whole area of local government auditing. There have been several media reports around different accounts of spending in different local authorities. I know from our discussions at the Committee of Public Accounts that there is a feeling that the local authorities are not accountable to the Comptroller and Auditor General. However, because of the resources that are available, for example, to members of the Committee of Public Accounts in the form of the Comptroller and Auditor General, who is the independent liaison to Oireachtas Members and so on, a far greater level of scrutiny is possible for those bodies that are accountable to the Comptroller and Auditor General. On the other hand, for the local authority system we have a scenario where, effectively, local authority members are competing with other demands they have on their time. There might be only one or two members on an audit committee. The amount of time available in a monthly council meeting is quite restricted and, therefore, to have discussions around audit reports and so forth is more limited. Has NOAC looked at the scrutiny and the resources available for independent scrutiny at local government level?


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