Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government
Land Development Agency
1394. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government the measures in place to ensure transparency in the actions of the Land Development Agency;; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6995/20]
The Land Development Agency (LDA) is currently established as a State body under secondary legislation pending its establishment as a commercial State agency under legislation which it is hoped will be enacted later this year.
In line with all commercial and non-commercial State bodies, the LDA is required to comply with the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, which is based on the underlying principles of good governance including accountability and transparency. The Code provides guidelines for both parent Departments and State bodies to ensure appropriate governance procedures are followed and contains provisions in relation to oversight, as well as financial reporting arrangements and establishment of committees, including in relation to audit and risk. The LDA is also subject to the requirements of the Public Spending Code.
In line with its establishment order, the LDA is currently governed by an interim Board. On enactment of the legislation expected later this year, a Board for the LDA will be appointed in accordance with the Guidelines on the Appointment to State Boards. The Board provides ongoing strategic direction and oversight in regard to the LDA’s activities and ensures that it complies with all corporate governance and transparency provisions. The Board is also responsible for the completion of an Annual Report each year on the activities of the Agency and the report for 2019 will be published in the coming months.
In line with the Code of Practice, the LDA and my Department meet on a regular basis to ensure that my Department is updated on the work of the Agency and to discuss other relevant issues. There is currently a Memorandum of Understanding in place between my Department and the LDA to cover the interim period until the primary legislation is enacted. Following this, the LDA will be subject to the usual Departmental oversight arrangements for Commercial State Agencies as set out under the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies.
In addition, my Department has engaged with NewERA to provide financial and commercial advice in relation to the operations of the LDA. Furthermore, the legislation will provide that the LDA will be subject to annual audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General, with such audits being examinable by the Public Accounts Committee.
It should also be noted that the LDA, as a public body, is subject to the Freedom of Information (FOI) Acts.