Thursday, 20 January 2011

Northern Ireland Water - Lack of Transparency and Accountability

The refusal/reluctance of Northern Ireland Water (NIW) to release information on more than one occasion is more than just a side-bar issue. There’s the related matter of DRD’s failure to keep notes and minutes of some meetings with NIW executives. An audit trail is required for justice to be done and to reduce the option for scape-goating.

Prior to the creation of NI Water, Water Service Board/Executive Team minutes were published in line with good practice. To date NI Water Executive Team/Committee minutes have continued to be published. At its September meeting the NI Water Board decided that going forward, Board meeting minutes will be published on this site in place of Executive Committee Minutes. .. source

I persuaded NIW to publish Board minutes on the internet and to update the publication of Executive minutes ie the second sentence is untrue, ET minutes were discontinued in November 2009 and were only updated in August 2010; I failed to persuade it to produce minutes in the sort of detail that was available prior to November, 2009, and to continue Executive minutes. Why haven’t the NEDs been acting on these transparency and accountability issues?

The Minutes of the meeting of 29 July, and 9 August conference calls were agreed. The Board agreed that in future, minutes of its meetings would be published [on the internet]. … 30.09.2010

The draft Minutes of the Board Meeting held on 30 September were noted. It was agreed to incorporate some additional points into the final agreed minutes. … 28.10.2010

The online Board minutes are in pdf format but not in user-friendly cut and paste form; I use an OCR program, especially for lengthy quotes.

Padraic White was present at the September and October meetings. As the minutes are only available for publication after the subsequent meeting I don’t know whether or not the November meeting should be online.