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Minister meets with Regional Development Committee

1 September, 2010 - by Westminster

Regional Development Minister Conor Murphy today met with the Regional Development Committee to update them on progress following the Independent Review Team’s (IRT) Report on procurement governance failures in NI Water.

The Minister said: “The procurement governance failures in NI Water is a serious matter that involved 73 contracts worth £28.4 million of public money. As Minister, I am charged with protecting the public interest and I am satisfied on the evidence presented to me that I took the right course of action.

“At the time I met personally with the IRT and received assurances from them that their findings on the systemic failings were evidence based and they had carried their report out independently.

“I note that the IRT wrote to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on 2 August explaining how they formulated their report and stressed that it was prepared without ‘fear or favour’.

"The governance failures at NI Water and matters relating to the Independent Review Team report will now be subject to robust scrutiny from the PAC. Separately events following the PAC hearing on NI Water which led to the suspension of Paul Priestly are the subject of an inquiry. I consider these investigations to be the right and proper course of action.

“Since my last opportunity to update the Committee I have appointed an Interim Chair Padriac White and three new non-executive directors to the Board of NIW on an interim basis. A full public appointments process is expected to commence shortly.

“NI Water has also started to implement an action plan to take forward the recommendations in the report which will improve procurement practices in the future. 

 “I have stated from the outset since taking office as the Minister responsible for water and sewerage services that I am determined to bring about the required change necessary to deliver the best public services for citizens.

“I am re-examining the current governance arrangements of water and sewerage services which are currently delivered by NI Water operating as a Government Owned Company, and plan to make an announcement to the Assembly on September 13 on the consideration of how these vital public services are managed in the future.”

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