Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Public Accounts Committee

Business of Committee

9:00 am

Photo of Seán FlemingSeán Fleming (Laois, Fianna Fail)
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Much of the response refers to purchases of surplus emissions allowances from other European Union member states. Deputy Catherine Murphy is correct in reference to the years of overachieving. Using the word "overachieving" is making out that the recession, and the level of development we did not have at that time, were achievements. That is set out in the document. We will ask for an update on the interdepartmental work group. Members are free to raise these policy issues in the Chamber and other forums. It is a major policy issue. The committee will seek an update on the working group.

The next item related to education and training boards, ETBs. We discussed this issue extensively and requested improvement in the presentation of appropriation accounts to show payments to the education and training boards. We also recommended the strengthening of oversight of the governance of the ETB sector, the implementation of performance indicators for ETBs and that ETB boards be strengthened and comprehensive governance training given. All of those recommendations have been accepted and we are as good as we can be in terms of getting on top of the ETB sector. We made one other recommendation that the chairperson of the ETB boards take responsibility for the submission of accounts. That has been accepted and there has been a major improvement in that regard.

The committee recommends that the minutes of the ETB boards be made available publicly and promptly through their websites following approval by the boards. That recommendation has also been accepted. Some ETBs do that already while others do not. The Department stated that it intends to make this an explicit requirement in the context of its current review of the code of practice of the governance of ETBs. It is good it will be made a requirement from now on because some of the ETBs do not do it. We are achieving something.