Another conflict of interest in yet another NI Water review team…

You can never quite guess which way this Northern Ireland Water story is going next. So now there’s another question hanging over the appointment of a review team set up to look at the foul up over Christmas announced within hours of the conclusion of Mr MacKenzie’s negotiation over his departure deal on Friday. Two days into his appointment as CEO, MacKenzie learned that he was to have two bosses. The duly Board of the GoCo of course, but he …

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NI Water: Minister failed to pick up Board’s early questions about Dixon?

Okay, another bullish performance from Minister Murphy here on the UTV report, though it is rare to see such a normally competent performer stuck for words in front of a camera. What’s complicated things for him was the robust nature of the questioning from Conall McDevitt, on the amount of work the Minister did to come to his conclusion that the Independent Review Team was indeed independent. He reasonably asserts that he cannot be across all the correspondence coming in …

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Priestly drafted Dixon letter of complaint to PAC

The BBC are reporting, ahead of this evening’s UTV Live [added link], that they have seen an email sent by suspended NI Regional Development Permanent Secretary Paul Priestly to Independent Review Team member Peter Dixon following the 1st July PAC meeting. From the BBC report The email sent by Mr Priestly on 2 July followed a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee. At the meeting questions were asked about the independence of a review into NIW, which led to the sackings. It confirms …

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NI Water: “As for the minister, he’s not commenting…”

I see Senator Mary White’s husband Padraic is taking on the role of Chair for NI Water. I hope he has a guarantee that he cannot be sacked for failing to address a problem he’s not been told about until he’s actually under investigation. Okay, back to the main story. There’s a nice piece by Martina Purdy which probably sums up most people’s feeling about this Byzantine tale from NI Water. It’s interesting that she concludes with a note that the Minister …

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NI Water: Board prevented from acting on contents of Internal Audit?

The Coalition government at Westminster clearly attach great public importance to Non Executive Directors on Departmental Boards. On his appointment as lead Non Executive Director to the Government, Lord Browne of Madingley laid out this description of the role of NEDs to departmental boards: “This is a role within Government but also independent of it. Its purpose is to assist in the delivery of policy using relevant experience from business. There is a great need for the best of the …

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NI Water: What was Dixon’s competence to adjudicate on a GoCo/NDPB?

Gerry Loughran’s letter to John Dallat re NI Water makes for interesting reading (Update: the BBC covered the letter story this evening). Loughran is Peter Dixon’s Chair at Phoenix Gas, and a former head of the Northern Ireland Civil Service. In his response leaves both John Dallat, and Paul Maskey, the chair of the PAC whom he dutifully copies in, in no doubt of his view of Mr Dixon’s intemperate outburst the week before last: Mr Dixon was aggrieved by …

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NI Water: Dixon was a DRD appointment to the Belfast Harbour Commissioners

Here’s another little snippet that further highlights the Permanent Secretary’s lack of candour with Stormont’s PAC. When asked by Patsy McGlone about the apparent conflict of interest in pulling Peter Dixon into the Independent Review Team when both the Phoenix Gas CEO and Mr MacKenzie were such close colleagues, Paul Priestly gave this answer: I have known Peter Dixon as a business contact for a couple of years. This is a very small place, so it is inevitable that people …

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NI Water: “No, I do not believe that there was a conflict of interest.”

Slugger understands that there is growing unease amongst members of Stormont’s Public Accounts Committee with Peter Dixon’s unprecedented attack on the Committee’s line of inquiry, and the apparent silence on the matter from their own chair, Paul Maskey.  This passage from Hansard is illustrative of the line which drew fire from the Phoenix Gas CEO: Ms Purvis: On the back of that, Chairperson, I raised the point with the regulator last week that Peter Dixon was to head up the independent review team. …

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Two named (and two unnamed) staff members of NI Water under investigation.

As reported on Slugger yesterday, two of the MLAs who came under direct attack from Peter Dixon for their role in the Public Accounts Committee’s masterclass interrogation of the Permanent Secretary of DRD and the Chief Executive (and Sub Accounting Officer) of NI Water have written both to the board of Phoenix Gas and their owners, the private equity firm Terra Firma, as to whether or not they support Mr Dixon’s attack on Stormont’s PAC written on Phoenix headed notepaper …

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Matters arising from PAC’s interrogation of NIW and DRD

Slugger has had sight of the letter (update: copied – below the fold) on Phoenix Gas headed note paper and signed as Group Chief Executive, Peter Dixon sent to Paul Maskey, chair of Stormont’s Public Accounts Committee complaining of insinuations made by PAC members Patsy McGlone, John Dallat and Dawn Purvis against him as a pro Bono member of the internal review panel during last Thursday’s gripping three and a half hour session of the PAC at Stormont. Update: Nevin …

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