The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr Phil Hogan, T.D., announced today (4 July 2014) the establishment of the National Oversight and Audit Commission, (NOAC), for the local government sector.
The establishment of the NOAC is part of the reform process legislated for by the Local Government Reform Act 2014 and is a very significant development in public accountability, bringing an added dimension of independent scrutiny to local government performance. The need for enhanced scrutiny of the local government system was recognised in the Action Programme for Local Government, published by Minister Hogan in October 2012, not least in those areas of new focus for the local government sector, particularly in terms of community and local economic development.
The NOAC’s statutory functions are wide and specifically the Commission is required to;-
o Scrutinise performance of any local government body against relevant indicators as selected by NOAC (to include customer service) or as prescribed in Ministerial regulations;
o Scrutinise financial performance, including Value for Money, of any local government body in respect of its financial resources;
o Support best practice (development and enhancement) in the performance of their functions by local government bodies;
o Monitor and evaluate adherence to Service Level Agreements entered into by any local government body;
o Oversee how national local government policy is implemented by local government bodies;
o Monitor and evaluate public service reform implementation by any local government body or generally;
o Monitor adequacy of corporate plans prepared by Regional Assemblies and councils and evaluate implementation of the plans by any local government body or generally;
o Take steps under its other functions for the purpose of producing any report requested under the Act as well as produce reports under its own initiative; and
o Carry out any additional functions conferred by Ministerial order.
Members of the NOAC that have been appointed by the Minister so far are:
– Pat McLoughlin (chairperson)
– Tara Buckley
– John Buckley
– Donal Enright
– Garett Fennell
– Constance Hanniffy
– Martina Moloney
– Michael Nolan
– Colleen Savage
– Henry Upton
Other members that will shortly be appointed by the Minister will include a local authority member nominated by the Association of Irish Local Government.
The Minister has charged the Commission with taking up the baton from the Local Government Efficiency Review and said “it is critical that the NOAC becomes very active immediately in terms of reviewing the further progress made on the efficiency agenda over the last 15 months and identifying the next areas of efficiency activity”. This imperative is reflected in the composition of the NOAC which includes the chair and a member of the Local Government Efficiency Review Implementation Group.
“The development of a more sophisticated set of performance indicators to replace the existing service indicators used by local authorities is a prerequisite to carrying out the first of NOAC’s statutory functions” he added.
The Minister concluded “I wish the members of the NOAC well in their important and demanding work overseeing the local government sector and know that the users of local authority services will benefit greatly from its work.”
Note for Editors:
Pat McLoughlin, chairperson of the NOAC, is the Managing Director of PML Consulting and former CEO of IPSO (Irish Payment Services Organisation). He chaired both the Local Government Efficiency Review Group and the Local Government Efficiency Review Implementation Group and he is a member of the Department of Justice and Equality Independent Review Group. Garrett Fennell is Managing Director of GFC Consulting Ltd and was also a member of the Local Government Efficiency Review Implementation Group. John Buckley is a former Comptroller & Auditor General. Martina Moloney is the retiring CEO of Galway County Council. Constance Hanniffy is a former member of Offaly County Council, Henry Upton is a former member of Dublin City Council and Michael Nolan is a former member of Kildare County Council. Tara Buckley is the Director General of RGData – the representative body for the independent retail grocery sector. Colleen Savage is a Board member of the National Consumer Agency. Donal Enright is an officer of the Minister.