C&AG confirms to Kelly rules around civil servants on boards

14 February 2019

At today’s meeting of the Public Accounts Committee the Comptroller and Auditor General confirmed to Labour Party Health spokesperson and Vice Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Alan Kelly TD that civil servants are subject to circular 2010/12. 

Circular 2010/12 from the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform sets out very clearly the responsibilities of a Civil Service Board appointee and what action he/she should take and how he/she should inform the Department Secretary General and the Minister.

Deputy Kelly said:

“This morning at PAC the C&AG confirmed to me that Circular 2010/12 sets out very clearly the rules around civil servants sitting on State boards.

“For weeks now Ministers Donohoe and the Taoiseach have been insisting that the Government’s Chief Procurement Officer has been acting in a “personal capacity” in his role on the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, the comments from the C&AG confirm what I have been saying for weeks, the CPG could not have been acting in a personal capacity.

“As per this circular, the Chief Procurement Officer should have been reporting the ongoing issues with the cost overrun to Minister Donohoe or indeed the Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

“We know that the Taoiseach has said on the Dáil record that he believed that the Chief Procurement Officer was acting within his “fiduciary duty” and was being fully loyal to the Board under what he believed to be governed by the Companies Act. The National Paediatric Hospital Development Board is not a company under the Companies Act, this is a State Body where completely different corporate governance rules apply.

“Civil servants have a duty to the State and it is clear that a lack of reporting structure between the Department of Public Expenditure and their representative on the Board was extremely lacking. We need to hear now from the Minister for Public Expenditure why his own officials aren’t adhering to circular 2010/12, if reporting structures will be set up for similar boards to ensure we don’t end up in similar situations with other boards and finally we need Minister Donohoe to outline to consequences of this not happening in the case of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board.”

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