McKenzie tells watchdog he resigned “to get their attention”

A number of people have been asking where the watchdog Consumer Council has been during the whole debacle over the period of upheaval at Board level in NI Water… Sam McBride has an interesting series of emails in which their chief executive expresses her own personal support for Laurence McKenzie…

Some of it throws a rather different light on McKenzie’s motivation for resigning:

…on the morning of January 22, 2010, two days after Mr MacKenzie withdrew his resignation as NI Water chief executive, Ms McKeown wrote to him: “…good luck with a hard task in the knowledge that you’ve handled things correctly so far and no reason that shouldn’t continue”.

Mr MacKenzie responded: “Thanks for this, it means a lot at the minute! My biggest difficulty isn’t sorting out the issues but the fact that my board is against me completely.

“They really do not understand that as AO (accounting officer) I had no option but to tell the department. I see we are in for a meeting on Tuesday at your place. I’m looking forward to that.”

On the evening of February 17, Ms McKeown then wrote to Mr MacKenzie: “Hi Laurence, hope you are keeping well despite current issues.

“Relieved to read this week that your resignation offer was declined – not sure why you offered it as NIW badly needs your kind of leadership.

“Pl (sic) give me a call when review complete so that we can prepare for any media interest. Take care. A.”

In response to that e-mail, the NI Water boss said of his resignation, which was retracted within days: “A – the issue was not being taken seriously – had to get their attention. I will call you once the [Independent Review Team’s] review is complete.”

Quite apart from the cosiness of this chat between between the CEO of NI Water and the and the consumer watchdog, McKenzie, at least in this instance is putting light on the matter consistent with his communication with the Utility Regulator, in which he suggested there was ‘no deep concern’ over the issue of procurement…

His difficulty, it seems, was less the issue of procurement that’s been blasted from the roof tops and more a matter of getting the Board to agree with him…

, , , ,

  • drumlins rock

    Just for some background, from the BBC news story announcing the sackings of the NEDs

    “The chief executive of the NI Consumer Council, Antoinette McKeown, said consumers must be told about any financial implications which may have arisen as a result of how contracts at NI Water were awarded.

    “They need to know that they are getting the best possible value for their money and the reality is now they don’t know,” she said. ”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8563672.stm

  • Mick Fealty

    I really couldn’t say Benjamin. I argued yesterday that caution should be the watchword but I cannot account for what the Board may or may not know…

    I’m told that Mr McKenzie has been considering all his options. The Board may want to tie him in rather than go through the financial pain of paying him off…

    And they may want to avoid an embarrassing investigation which would have to consider the probity of the basis on which the NEDs were sacked.

    It seems an extreme way to ‘get their attention’…

  • Oracle

    A McKeown is a bloody disgrace, she is supposed to be head of the consumer council looking after our affairs not watching the back of the head of a utilities asking for a heads up to deal with media interest…

    in other words screw the public we’ll spin this to save you

    **** resign McKeown resign today *****

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Signing up to this agreement commits each partner to a variety of things, including being open and honest with each other… ”

    Except the public who pay for it all obviously..

  • drumlins rock

    I’m having fun here searching the Boards and staff of Quango’s to find connections, and its like doing a family tree at a Hillbilly wedding, maybe its a good thing and shared “expertise” helps all involved, but I do wonder is there just too much of it, and too many are making it a craeer in itself.

  • Sean Og

    A very cosy relationship between McKeown and McKenzie. Im not sure this type of relationship serves the public interest.

  • Mick, I think the relationship between DRD and NIW lies at the heart of the matter and, as we can see from Priestley’s contribution to the PAC July 1 meeting, Priestley was struggling to get NIW to recognise the issue of accountability re. public funds.

    MacKenzie’s ‘autocratic’ style IMO was bound to lead to confrontation with an NIW that wanted to do its own thing, irrespective of ministerial policy. November 16, 2009, could have represented a major break between MacKenzie and maybe not just the NEDs but also the EDs. NIW didn’t publish ET minutes for that date or since.

    I think the Minister will want to back MacKenzie and I suspect the unbalanced make-up of the interim Board will allow him to do that. I’ve yet to see the Consumer Council or the Commission for Public Appointments seriously challenge this imbalance.

  • William Markfelt

    **** resign McKeown resign today *****

    Seconded.

    WE are the consumer. She has failed to act in OUR best interests, and -serious question- what mechanisms do WE, the ‘shareholders’ in her organisation, have for her removal?

  • Jj

    “confrontation with an NIW that wanted to do its own thing”

    Brring illegality, this was precisely why the GoCo was created in the first place and the basis on which the Board members were appointed, that NIW would be a stand alone company, operating at arms length from government and able to enjoy financial flexibilities not possible if it remained as part of the civil service.

    The financial flexibilities enjoyed by NIE didn’t appear to trouble MacKenzie one jot. His familiarity with a more commercial environment, with a customer base contiguous with that of NIW, was the outstanding reason why he got the job in the first place!

  • William Markfelt

    ‘On the evening of February 17, Ms McKeown then wrote to Mr MacKenzie: “Hi Laurence, hope you are keeping well despite current issues…’Take care. A.”

    Oh, please! It’s just too nauseating for words.

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/The-Consumer-Council-defends-chief39s.6497940.jp

    “The e-mails from the chief executive (Antoinette McKeown) were in her capacity as head of the Consumer Council”

  • Jj, the GoCo was established one month before the arrival of the current Minister and water charges were on the horizon. The Minister set his face against such charges and the Office for National Statistics later reclassified NIW.

    We would need to see the brief MacKenzie was given when he took up the appointment. Somehow or other allegedly he wasn’t told that he was the accounting officer yet that description can be found in the Hillyard report 22 January 2008.

  • “Got to keep it in the family” (Undertones)

  • Mike Scott

    Is the new Board really going to throw it’s weight behind MacKenzie today – with various investigatinos outstanding and surely another PAC hearing to come? Why would they do that – they may face an early and humiliating U turn within weeks.

  • snowstorm

    That is a ridiculous email exchange between the representative of the Consumer and the head of a utility.

    Was she this cosy with Priestly too??

  • Pigeon Toes

    William
    McKenzie tells watchdog he resigned “to get their attention”

    Reminds me of this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3OO42dKxfY
    (0.37 to .45 secs)

    Also wildly nauseating…

  • William Markfelt

    Do we have any indication yet as to where Larry ‘filled her in’ when they met ‘face to face’?

  • Sean Og, they’re both members of the Chief Executives Forum as are many of our Permanent Secretaries so you’d expect a high level of familiarity.

    CEF also partners with Common Purpose. From the CEF website: “Common Purpose aims to improve the way society works by expanding the vision, decision-making ability and influence of all kinds of leaders.” Is such networking in the public interest?

  • BRAINWASHING!

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Do we have any indication yet as to where Larry ‘filled her in’ when they met ‘face to face’?’

    I should clarify reasons for asking. Coffee and a wee chat at NIW’s or NICC’s offices, kosher.

    Coffee and a wee chat in some cafe, and stuck on ‘expenses’ which the consumer paid for, not so kosher.

    I don’t mind some in-house hospitality. I do resent providing their lunches.

  • Sorry for the capital letters Nevin, but if it’s good enough for DRD & NIW then IT’S FEKKIN GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME!

  • Pigeon Toes

    “Mr MacKenzie responded: “Thanks for this, it means a lot at the minute! My biggest difficulty isn’t sorting out the issues but the fact that my board is against me completely.

    “They really do not understand that as AO (accounting officer) I had no option but to tell the department. I see we are in for a meeting on Tuesday at your place. I’m looking forward to that.”

    Now why was Mc Keown being given such detail?
    MacKenzie is arguing that he had no choice in telling the DRD, but what’s his reason in “baring all” to Mc Keown?

  • William Markfelt

    ‘His difficulty, it seems, was less the issue of procurement that’s been blasted from the roof tops and more a matter of getting the Board to agree with him…’

    He’s an autocrat, so I say you should get used to it.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘I’m looking forward to that.”’

    I bet he was. Stuck in the middle of all this drama and powerplay, it must have been somewhat refreshing to know the Counsumer Council would give him an easy ride.

  • DC

    Mick, it is an interesting exchange. Interesting in the sense that it is mild mannered and supportive and all too human, but in a positive way for once.

    Perhaps only open to question in that the tone should have been more cold and mechanistic like an automaton to prevent any clouding of judgement based on personal emotions? But then to be like that it means you must adopt the style of a constant cynic and always be a critical thinker – is this not a style you are against? As I know you tend to loathe the popular attitude out there among the public who are deeply cynical about the actions and motives of politicians and public sphere leaders in general.

    Btw did anyone get any access to ‘Wee Dangermouse’s’ digital postbox?

  • Pigeon Toes

    William, the point I am making (badly), is that Larry is complaining that the board were against him, because they did not understand that he HAD to tell the DRD of the problems.

    No such onus exists for Mc Keown being copied in… So why was he shooting off to her?

  • Jj

    Nevin

    Priestly advised MacKenzie of the full implications of the Ao role some months into his appointment. The Board exprssed concerns that this role could bring him into conflict with the Board and his own role in relation to membership of that Board. In the end, we can see how the conflict would be resolved – “they go or I go”.

    Not, I think, the spirit of working together that was envisaged.

    Appointing this man was a mistake.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “popular attitude out there among the public who are deeply cynical about the actions and motives of politicians and public sphere leaders in general.”

    Has this debacle done anything to persuade the great unwashed that such cynicism is misplaced?

    “The e-mails from the chief executive (Antoinette McKeown) were in her capacity as head of the Consumer Council”

    Quite obviously they were not, unless she had already to take sides. Wouldn’t the CE have discussed the Consumer Councils position with her board?
    If so why were the Consumer Council “taking sides” as such?
    Unless shes a bit of an autocrat too….

  • William Markfelt

    I couldn’t possibly guess, PT.

    It must be embarrassing for both of them to see all this come dribbling out, particularly for McKenzie just prior to the board meeting, and the clear inference that other directors didn’t have THEIR minds on the job, re the seriousness of the matter.

  • wild turkey

    “Relieved to read this week that your resignation offer was declined – not sure why you offered it as NIW badly needs your kind of leadership.

    “Pl (sic) give me a call when review complete so that we can prepare for any media interest. Take care. A.”

    uh, if i understand this logically, the CE of the consumer council NICC) is suggesting that NIW and the NICC jointly prepare for any media interest in what i take to be the ‘independent’ review. this raises a number of serious questions. amongst these are:-

    1. if the NICC is the ‘watchdog’ agency that acts on behalf of the consumer, should it have such a cosy, and perhaps hidden, relationship with a major utility?
    2. as a watchdog, does not IN THEORY the NICC perform role vis a vis firms in the energy and transport sector similar to that of the press vis a vis politicians? ie somewhere between sceptical and (politely?) advesarial?
    3. can we take it that the esteemed management board of NICC was advised of their CEO’s contact, support and seeming cooperation with McKenzie
    4. If yes to 3 above, did they endorse the position articulated by their CEO in the emails? if so when?
    5. If no to 3 above, should they be?
    6. if no to 3 above, was the NICC acting strictly in a personal, and “human” capacity?
    7. If no to 5 above, uh, just what is the role and remit of the NICC management board?
    8. am i correct in my interpretation that the CEO of NICC is offering to that “we”, ie MacKenzie and McKeown, prepare for media interest in the report regardless of the fact that the report is, supposedly in progress, unpublished and therefore, IN THEORY, the NICC CEO can have no knowledge of the findings and/or recommendations of said report?
    9.For example, if the review found serious fault with some actions of MacKenzie, how can the CEO of an impartial agency with oversight responsibilities for NIW, acknowledged in the CEOs letter of June regarding interim appointments, suggest “WE” prepare for media interest?

    i am sure others can add questions to the list. feel free, of course in a mild mannered, supportive and positive way.

  • Reading between the lines that would appear to be exactly what happened!
    It is quite possible that Mr. MacKenzie had knowledge / evidence of a number of DRD “wrong doings”
    That would certainly explain why the department were so keen to dismiss the NEDs and fill in the “facts” later.
    THE WHOLE THING STINKSOF WRONG DOING AND COVER-UPS!

  • Oracle

    The consumer council has been severely compromised beyond repair in this matter, nothing but the resignation of McKeown will suffice, a very sad day indeed for the consumer council.
    Who has the ability to fire this woman from her cosy position if she lacks the courage to resign!

  • drumlins rock

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8563672.stm

    Please have a quick look at the BBC Report, normally this might amount to the only information anyone would ever read concerning the sackings of the directors, in any dispute I for one either like to hear both sides or falling short of that will accept the view of an independant neural party, it now appears that “neutral” viewpoint was pre-arranged, very much on one side of this dispute and even thought the statment as made is vague it is clear she is offering her full support to L McK.
    It now appears the “conspiracy” streches further, and even if Ms McKeown is only a bit player her support was certainly a vital part of ensuring that any media coverage of the sacking was taken at face value.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘The Consumer Council represents consumers on water and sewerage matters. We do this by working WITH the Northern Ireland Assembly, Northern Ireland Water and the economic and environmental regulators to make sure that consumers are at the centre of any decisions and policies.’

    (my capitals).

    And ain’t that the truth.

    http://www.consumercouncil.org.uk/water/

  • drumlins rock

    Consumer Council Is Asking Questions On Your Behalf
    Thursday 19 August 2010
    The Consumer Council has commented on this week’s developments regarding investigations into Northern Ireland Water (NI Water). Antoinette McKeown, Chief Executive of the Consumer Council said: “These latest developments are a further blow to consumer confidence, which had already plummeted following the revelations about NI Water’s misuse of public money. Very serious questions must be answered. Earlier this week the Consumer Council asked for and has now secured a meeting with Minister Murphy and we will be pressing him with those questions on consumers’ behalf.

    “This week we also called on Bruce Robinson, Head of the Civil Service, to appoint an interim DRD Permanent Secretary, who will ensure DRD is accountable to the public, and we welcome Bruce Robinson’s decisive action today.

    “Our focus – consistent with our remit – continues to be on the effective delivery of public services. The public needs to have confidence that NI Water’s board is delivering value for money and that DRD is monitoring the board to hold it to account.

    “While the Consumer Council recognises the inquiries now taking place – and respects the role of those tasked to undertake them – trust has been broken and the Consumer Council now needs assurances so that we can fulfil our role as consumers’ representatives, and ensure this situation never happens again.”

  • William Markfelt

    By the way, it would be some laugh if Sam McBride had the balls to actually request these emails directly from the NICC.

    And if he did, kudos!

  • drumlins rock

    Consumer Council ‘appalled’ By Ni Water Breach
    Friday 12 March 2010
    The Consumer Council has said it is appalled following confirmation of a serious breakdown in management by Northern Ireland Water (NI Water).

    Antoinette McKeown, Consumer Council Chief Executive said: “Consumers will be demanding answers and have the right to know the financial implications of this mismanagement. They need to know that they are getting the best possible value for their money and the reality is now they don’t know. On their behalf the Consumer Council wants to scrutinise the full detail of the report into this investigation so that we can begin to restore consumer confidence which will be in shreds.

    “We welcome the Regional Development Minister’s immediate action at Board level. In addition, we are also calling for an immediate investigation at senior management level so that executives involved in this mismanagement are also made accountable. This must never happen again. More than that, the new Chief Executive must ensure consumers are confident that it will not happen again.

    “We have sought and received assurances from him that there will be open and honest communication from NI Water with consumers and an immediate plan of action to address these failures. The Consumer Council also wants to see the right people appointed at Board level who will ensure that consumers are at the heart of every decision taken by NI Water from now on regarding this vital, public service. The Consumer Council will scrutinise NI Water even more closely to ensure it is delivering a high quality, safe public service and that it is fully answerable for public money.”

  • Oracle

    This woman has more faces than the Albert clock …. she simply must go

  • Pigeon Toes

    Oracle
    Re your call for McKeowns resignation, you might like to read
    Northern Ireland Appropriation Account 2000-2001, NIA 34/01

    In particular the section on DHEFETE. where PLAYBOARD is discussed….

    .Who was the Chief Executive of Playboard when the actions refered to in NIAO report took place?

    http://www.niauditoffice.gov.uk/pubs/onepress.asp?arc=False&id=91&dm=0&dy=0

  • drumlins rock

    wonder did Priestly write this one too? almost reads as if he did!

  • WT, the performance of the CCNI and its CE don’t remind me of a watchdog; no one’s going to lose the back of their trousers!!

  • Pigeon Toes

    “While they’ve all been screwing us for years, it will be interesting to see who is going to whom now. We need someone to ask the penetrating questions.”

  • Pigeon Toes

    “While they’ve all been screwing us for years, it will be interesting to see who is going to shaft whom now.

    We need someone to ask the penetrating questions.”

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Quite obviously they were not,’

    Does anyone else think that an over-arching government culture leads to a trickle down into the civil service and associated quangos?

    And that there’s a long tail, so that the culture of specific governments lasts after they’ve gone?

    It seems that each time one of these CEs speaks, there are faint reminders of the Presidential style of Tony Blair,

    McKenzie, Priestly and now McKeown appear to be treating these bodies as their own personal playthings.

    Is there any real need for a board of directors if we’re dealing with President McKenzie, President Priestly and now President McKeown?

    What’s the structure of the Consumer Council that allows their CE to fly solo (or so it would appear) on matters pertaining to how she ran things, and is hopping into bed, figuratively speaking, with the machinery of government?

    Of course, as someone pointed out earlier, perhaps she’s an autocrat too.

    The NICC are seriously wounded by these email revelations today. The NIW board meeting can’t last much longer, surely, and hopefully we’ll hear McKenzie has gone imminently.

  • William Markfelt

    “Consumers will be demanding answers and have the right to know the…implications of this mismanagement.’

    Yes indeed, Antoinette. Consumers are indeed demanding answers to the implications of mismanagement at the NICC where there has been, or so it would appear, a carve up between the NICC and NIW.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘the impressive track record and achievements of the CEO,;

    They’re bloody easily impressed.

    Why just an NED statement? Wasn’t it a full board meeting? Or are the NEDs getting their revenge in first?

  • Pigeon Toes

    “And of course our own internal disciplinary procedures relating to the findings of the IRT report must be allowed to run their course without prejudice.”
    What they aren’t finished yet? Hmm
    Do those people even work there any more?
    Benjamin,
    (hen was the restructuring announced? ( The process which led to the post held by David Gilmour being made redundant)

    How many posts were made redundant at that time?

  • This is all smelling a bit fishy. I would have expected knees to be trembling at the moment instead they are appearing to bare all?

  • William Markfelt

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11111967

    BBC has a shorter version online now.

  • Pigeon Toes

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-11111967

    “A company spokesman said those disciplinary procedures are aimed at finding out who was responsible for failing to ensure proper tendering for £28m in Northern Ireland Water contracts”

    Er, I thought NIW, DRD , the Minister , NICC had all decided that they had already done that….

  • just sayin’

    Ahhh the CEF!

    Would you believe they are running a 1/2 day seminar on 9th December called “Public Accountability for Senior Managers”.

    Content includes:

    “The programme will cover:
    •what is meant by corporate governance, accountability and responsibility in government;
    •stewardship of public funds;
    •regularity and propriety in the conduct of public business;
    •the personal responsibility of the designated Accounting Officer;
    •the role of the Northern Ireland Audit Office; and
    •the work of the Public Accounts Committee.”

    Bit late? Talk about couldn’t make it up!!

  • A company spokesman said those disciplinary procedures are aimed at finding out who was responsible for failing to ensure proper tendering for £28m in Northern Ireland Water contracts.

    Surely as “Accounting Officer” MacKenzie is accountable?
    – As per ACAS code, no disciplinary action should have been taken until all the facts had been established.

    There is still an awful lot here that needs to be investigated!

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Mr McKenzie was one of the key players in the recent controversy’

    Shouldn’t that be ‘ongoing and deepening controversy’?

  • Pigeon Toes

    And probably in the process of a gagging order, as ongoing media speculation is prejudicing that “investigation”.

    Feck me, even their wonderful Independent Review wasn’t able to identify those responsible.

    Which in itself is more than a bit curious, as they must have been examining the audit trail of those contracts… But er not assigned to any member of staff . Funny how that one vital piece of information in each case seems to have disappeared into the ether…

  • DC

    Tend to agree with you on that one re the “needs to be investigated” bit.

  • CEF’s ‘strategic aims are to support the democratic process and the transformation of public services to better meet the needs of good government.’

    Surely this means that CEs of organisations that are supposed to be holding public bodies to account – in the public interest – should not be CEF members.

    Antoinette McKeown of CCNI and Kieran Donnelly of NIAO are both CEF members – as is Matt Baggott of PSNI.

  • drumlins rock

    How long are we stuck with these “interim directors” and have they any cedibility considering the circumstances of their appointments?
    Had to laugh at the “cleanest Water in the Island of Ireland” sure why not make it in the UK? most of the water comes via. Dalriada Water anyways, NIW “buys” it off them.

  • JS :
    what is meant by corporate governance, accountability and responsibility in government – HOW TO LIE

    stewardship of public funds – HOW TO EMBEZLE

    regularity and propriety in the conduct of public business – HOW NOT TO GET CAUGHT

    the personal responsibility of the designated Accounting Officer – THE SCAPEGOAT

    the role of the NIAO – TO COVER UP ANY ALLEGATIONS OF WRONG DOING

    The work of the PAC – TO SWALLOW WHATEVER WE FEED THEM

  • The water seems to be the only clean thing in this whole sorry saga!

  • William Markfelt

    ‘the “cleanest Water in the Island of Ireland”’

    We can but hope some of the dirtiest hands in the island of Ireland don’t taint it.

  • William Markfelt

    “The non-executive directors of the interim board of NI Water met today informally with our CEO to be brought up to speed with NI Water affairs in advance of our board meeting in September.’

    So just McKenzie’s ‘yes men’ were assembled to have a statement written on their behalf then?

  • wild turkey

    ah, take me to the river

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vGD8aQ2GKr0

    WTF, its Friday and it is the Revernd Al in top form

  • DC

    *this woman*

    What about the men in this…

  • drumlins rock

    The more I read this the dodgier it looks, It would be very interesting to see if there are any other correspondence between parties at this stage.

  • just sayin’

    Splodge I suspect it all means they wish those pesky politicians would feck away off and let them run the country – in all of our interests of course 😉

  • CCNI will be putting our/their questions and concerns to the Minister in the middle of next week so if you want to have your voice heard NOW is your big moment 🙂

  • William Markfelt

    Where do we submit them, Nevin?

    My question to Conor is ‘Will you accept Antoinette’s resignation right now, Minister?’

  • wild turkey

    W M

    point of clarification.

    actually you should post your letter to Arlene Foster, minister of the Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment (DETI). obviously if a groundswell movement should arise this issue, postcards or emails might be a more efficacious medium. Acquaintances in S Tyrone Fermanagh say the minister is atune and astute to public sentiment.

    Ms Foster (DUP) stood in for First Minister Robinson during some recent dificulties.

  • mopp head

    what about this link between the previous consumer council head and NI Water?

    Oh no, hang on. This involves the grievously wronged Chris Mellor, aka St Christopher of Mellor. So it doesn’t fit into general conspiracy theory here. Move along

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/consumer-championrsquos-business-emails-to-company-she-policed-14844876.html

  • William Markfelt

    Alternatively, you could stop crying your eyes out and make a more cogent argument against the sacked NEDs.

    All I’m getting from you is ‘you’re all bullying poor Larry, waah, waah, waah’.

    Make your case!

    As for the link, it simply demonstrates that NICC is routinely rotten, and the current CE has just picked up in a culture that ‘could give rise to a perception’ the same as the last one.

  • William Markfelt

    Remember: if you are going to offer a more cogent defence of Larry, you need to come up with a better argument than ‘but Larry said there were procurement issues’.

  • mopp head

    Dear me, have you thought of a holiday? I haven’t mentioned “Larry” once. Maybe you would like to explain why you are spending so many hrs whingeing about how Mellor (ex-CEO) was treated. Then you can get back to linking NIW with the CIA and lost tribe of Israel.

  • CCNI represents the public interest, William, so there are some questions you can put to it via its press office. Details on its website.

    Questions to the Minister can be routed through his SpAd, Stephen McGlade private.office@drdni.gov.uk

  • wild turkey

    thanks for the link MH

    it provides a very useful context for the emails between the current NIW and NICC currently under discussio. the relationship discussed in the article could prove a useful template to others in the medium and long term planning of their, uh , career strategy. sadly, words like “back scratch yours mine” might come to mind of some of the commenters here. who knows? lets see.

    again, thanks, a very useful contextual article in the current circumstances. like the say, northern ireland is open for business.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Maybe you would like to explain why you are spending so many hrs whingeing about how Mellor (ex-CEO) was treated.’

    Because of the way he was treated?

    Mick has explained this in fine detail two or three times now. What bit of it aren’t you getting?

    Now, are you going to outline the failures of the NEDs, since you obviously believe they failed in their duties, and back it up with some evidence that demonstrates their failures.

    Do that and I’m happy to type the words ‘I was wrong, Mopp Head was right’ out 100 times.

  • William Markfelt

    ‘Then you can get back to linking NIW with the CIA and lost tribe of Israel.’

    Didn’t Moses part a body of water? (The NIW Board could use him. He’d be a dab hand with leaks)

    And I think the same book that features Moses mentions someone walking on water. I don’t recall if the author of that chapter was Antoinette McKeown.

  • mopp head

    given that you have made clear Govt procurement rules are neither here nor there with you, then I think the debate might be best left to your wee friends here. I suspect the NEDs weren’t playing down the rule breaches when they were trying to convince Murphy to spare their asses. And if they were as serious as they then admitted, then the man who was acting ceo for 14 months might just have a smidgen of responsibility. Then again, it could all be a plot involving DRD, NIAO, Appointments Commissioner, PAC, Consumer Council and Lord Voldemort

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a really very interesting link MH…More later, when I have time…

  • William Markfelt

    ‘you have made clear Govt procurement rules are neither here nor there with you, ;

    Who said that? Where?

  • Mick Fealty

    WT,

    That’s one way of interpreting it, though I am not sure that was the intention of the person who leaked the emails to the BelTel in the first place…

    What’s also interesting about that story is: 1, the currency it still retains on ‘the hill’, and 2, the fact that nothing actually came of it.

    The trail of strangeness actually stops at the email correspondence… ie the business talked about was never consummated…

  • Pigeon Toes

    Well ask “you wee friends”and the Minister in DRD, just how seriously they were taking Procurement, FOI , DPA and Human Right laws (etc) in 2007 and 2008.
    (Hint: the” independent investigations” were carried out to support their stance at the time)
    In other words, it’s a bit feckin rich to be so “morally “motivated now.
    And if you are the best Keyboard Monkey, that Connolly House has to offer, it’s no wonder that party are in terminal decline…..

  • McCavity

    The TOR for the IRT was based on the NIW audit report (15 Jan 2010 version 1) yet the IRT report made reference to the audit report dated 27 Jan 2010 which was version 4 and an addendum of Feb 10.

    Why was the audit report changing (from version 1 to 4 and then an addendum) while the work of the IRT was proceeding and who was making the changes and why ? Surely this was varying the TOR and questions Independence yet again.

    Version 4 of the audit report makes some interesting points.

    Only 24 contracts were listed as being in breach in some way or another.

    The total spend of these contracts is circa 8m but much of that was spent prior to any breach having occurred. For example total spend on the biggest contract is 3m but only 0.6m was spent after the contract was wrongly extended. Thus the spend as a result of the breaches is less than £5.5m. At very best competitive bidding this might have reduced prices by, lets be generous, 10%. So worst potential loss is say around £550k. Given NIW annual spend is around £400m that means a loss at worst of ~ 1%.

    If the NED’s were dismissed on this basis then what are we saying that if losses of this sort can be shown to exist elsewhere in government then all these boards must be fired ? Wow its going to be a busy few months! It seems from what you have all said that the procurement failures at NIE were larger yet no one fired their Board ?

    As a tax payer I do not want to see poor use of public funds but this issue as a bit of maths shows is very minor compared to very much more serious losses that have been uncovered. However, the regulator, the consumer council, NIAO and even the media have all avoided any investigation or comment on these – perhaps thats the plan!

    If heads are to role then lets understand the criteria for dismissal and apply it in all areas.