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:
The Senator has made a number of points and I will recap on some of them. On stakeholder engagement, as the Senator knows we were here about three years ago and we had no contact with the elected members at that point, except through this forum, by which people like the Senator were a strong conduit between local government members and the Upper House. Since then we have made a determined effort to add to our stakeholder lists, including both LAMA and the AILG, with the AILG attending our recent good practice seminar in Kilkenny. We value the involvement between the associations and NOAC because it shines a light on the other thoughts on and insights into the delivery of public services around local authorities. We also met the chairs of the audit committees in August last year, which was a first for us but that was an important exercise because we were able to compare notes in how we view the audit aspect of local government.
The point the Senator made on late reports is salient in terms of the current performance indicator report. Lots of the local authorities comply with the cut-off date but then it was necessary to extend it because some local authorities needed to be facilitated, in that the information they were sending us had to be verified. We may go back with a query, for example. There might be other issues with the timing by which some local authorities would deal with their financial reports and that would push them out to the end of the year, which has a knock-on effect. That is something we are mindful of and we continue to work with the local authorities to ensure the timely publication of our reports and to help infuse that debate around local government. It is another resource and another layer of accountability in how that business is transacted.
I thank the Senator for his long-standing support of the local government sector and for his acknowledgement of the work we do on the board. We value that.