“OFMDFM are aware of the issues raised…”

On Friday [evening? – Ed] the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers issued a statement in response to concerns about their appointment of an individual to an ‘independent’ review who “could be perceived as having a conflict of interest.” 

In particular, the appointment of Philip Holder to the second layer of the investigation into the role and responsibilities of the NI Regional Development Minister, and the Department, in the NI Water saga.

From the OFMDFM statement

OFMDFM are aware of the issues raised by the BBC. There are two strands to the Review which were agreed by the Executive. It is not a single person review.

There is a need for urgency in the Review to ensure that the mistakes by NIW over the Christmas period are not repeated. [added emphasis]

The Review was established on 6 January 2011. Both stands of the Review have already begun. The findings will be delivered in a composite report around the end of February.

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  • A conflict of interest or potential conflict of interest is not in itself a problem, albeit the perception of a conflict of interest is increasingly becoming an audit finding in itself in the anal audit world.

    It is whether it is declared or recognised or known about, the extent of the interest, and how it is dealt with that matters. It maybe that in some cases the person concerned has to withdraw there being no other way to mitigate the conflict.

  • OFMDFM may be aware of the issues raised but it appears not to have addressed the ‘conflict of interest’ issue in this response.

    Back in 2008, my associates and I queried the appointment of Steve Rowsell to investigate inter alia a procurement issue when he’d previously acted as a Government expert witness on two previous CPD-related procurement cases.

  • enviro

    For an article on “Northern Ireland gets the water it pays for” by Owen Polley with a link at the end to another article on some of the issues with privatisation of water services, see the current issue of “irish environment” an online resource for environmental matters on the island of Ireland at http://www.irishenvironment.com