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

Mr. Michael McCarthy:

There is a fundamental connection. The Deputy is right. I have had the experience where the local authorities say it is with the Department. Deputies could submit a parliamentary question and discover it is not with the Department, which is waiting for another chain of communication from the local authority. There is a determined effort on our part to get objective analysis of information we get from those stakeholders, whether the 31 local authorities or the Department. The ultimate accountability around that are the elections to this House and to local authorities in terms of bringing in that element of wider transparency and accountability. Then it is a matter of the direction of travel in the relationships and information-sharing between the stakeholders. That is the perspective we take. We have to verify and validate information and have a number of sources to go to for that. We do not have jurisdiction over the dynamic between the Department and local authority.

One of our focuses is outreach to elected members through representative bodies like the AILG. We build better relationships with them and use the experience they have and give us to inform our practice when dealing with our line Department or other Departments. It is a work in progress in terms of building those networks and relationships to allow us to do the best job we can. The view of the elected member is important to us, which is why we have made a determined effort to develop that relationship and get those insights. We have good insights from management and chief executives. We do regular profile and validation visits with them but the conversation on the inside that we would share with elected members is important.


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