Saturday, 11 September 2010

Northern Ireland Water - Missing Executive Team Minutes - Departure of David Gilmour 2

Updated 7 December

UPDATE 12 September

On August 28, I drew attention on the Slugger O'Toole blog to some aspects of the 'restructuring' of the management of Northern Ireland Water.

The Executive Team became the Executive Committee on November 16, 2009, the day of the ‘get used to it’ remarks. The number of senior staff regularly attending Executive meetings appears to have been severely pruned from about 10 down to 6.

The Executive meets on the first and third Monday of the month. The minutes from July to October 2009 ran from 6 to 9 pages but in November they were trimmed right back to 2. This means a significant reduction in information made available to the public. The Executive minutes were not published online after November 2, 2009, but have now been reinstated after their absence was brought to NIW's attention ; the Board minutes are still missing.

Did anyone know when the post of Commercial Director was made redundant and whether or not NIW followed the correct redundancy procedures?

The Commercial Director post was abolished with effect from 1/1/2010. The decision and process were tested with an external legal adviser and found to be legally compliant. .. Malairt

David Gilmour, who held the post of Commercial Director, brought the news about contract extensions which raised MacKenzie’s antenna on August 10. His name as an attendee last appears AFAIK on the Executive minutes on November 2. His linkedin profile seems to have been taken down within the past few days but remains in Google cache.

In his presentation to the Northern Ireland Water Forum in May 2009 he said that he expected £19 m savings by year end, some way ahead of the Assembly target, and during the course of the year, in association with Mellor, had nearly halved the expenditure on consultants.

He admitted that their information system on ordering had been woeful but expected the tried and tested Oracle P2P eordering system to be live by the end of June 2009.

So what has all the fuss been about and why were Gilmour’s services disposed of? Will his role in the procurement debacle and the nature of his departure be examined by the Public Accounts Committee?

Added September 21

Who attended the September 2, 2009 meeting in addition to Conor Murphy, Paul Priestly and Laurence MacKenzie? Were any of the other NIW stakeholders represented or even informed? NIW claims to have no minutes of this meeting and a response from DRD is expected shortly. The gathering, supplemented by 'food and beverages', is referred to in NIW Executive Team minutes some days later:

It was established that the Alliance contract was giving some smaller contractors cause for concern.  Laurence MacKenzie acknowledged that NIW must deliver efficiencies but said that a balance needed to be made with regard to timeframes if this was to be done correctly
Water Stakeholders Partnership Agreement October 2008

Where was the September 2 meeting held? 
James Street South’ Restaurant at 21 James Street South, Belfast BT27GA. 

Who attended this meeting? 
Minister Conor Murphy, Laurence Mackenzie, Paul Priestly, Lian Patterson and Stephen McGlade.

Can I please have a copy of the minutes of this meeting?

This was an informal lunch meeting. No minutes were recorded.  

Nicola Brennan article in "Internal Auditing"