Dublin City Council

 

Question to City Manager                           City Council Meeting 13/05/2013

 

Q75.    COUNCILLOR CIERAN PERRY
            Can the Manager provide an update on the proposed new allocations scheme which to due to replace the current Scheme of Lettings?

 

CITY MANAGER’S REPLY:
It is envisaged that the new allocations scheme will come into effect after the summer.  All the changes required to upgrade the Allocations I.T. system have been identified and the reconfiguration can proceed in the near future.  However, there are several other upgrades also scheduled to the Housing computer system in the next 6/8 weeks and until these have been completed, the new allocations scheme cannot be applied to the system. When the changes are put in place, a testing phase will be initiated to ensure the new criteria are effected accurately.  On the assumption that there are no major difficulties arising, the new scheme can come into effect at the earliest date possible thereafter.  On current considerations, I am of the opinion September is a realistic date for the implementation of new scheme. The elected Members of the Council and all social housing applicants will be informed about the changes that will apply nearer the time of the changeover.     

 

Q76.    COUNCILLOR CIERAN PERRY
            When are Dublin City Council due to pay the Local Property Tax on its housing stock and how do DCC intend to recoup this cost.

 

CITY MANAGER’S REPLY:
The Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012 (as amended) provides that a liability for Local Property Tax (LPT) will arise where a person owns a residential property on the liability date which will be 1 May 2013 for the year 2013. The 2012 Act provides that the State or other public bodies, including local authorities, will be liable for LPT on their properties in the same way as any other residential property owner, unless the properties in question are used to accommodate people with special housing needs such as the elderly or people with disabilities.

As LPT is a self-assessed tax in common with other liable persons who own multiple properties, local authorities have until 28 May 2013 to file their LPT Returns. The Office for Local Authority Management are currently compiling that information and the total cost is not yet available.

The Act also gives local authorities and other social housing providers until 1 January 2014 to pay the 2013 tax, the matter of how each local authority will fund the tax will be dealt with in the Council’s 2014 Budget.

 

Q77.    COUNCILLOR CIERAN PERRY
            Can the Manager outline the legal situation regarding individuals who have not paid the Bin Tax due to the statute of limitations?

 

CITY MANAGER’S REPLY:
The City Council will pursue all debts owed for waste management charges.
Where a debt is legally “Statute Barred” it will not be pursued by the City Council. A decision on whether or not a debt is/may be “Statute Barred” can only be made having regard to the individual circumstances of any debt.

 

Q78.    COUNCILLOR CIERAN PERRY
            Can the Manager provide answers to the following questions in relation to the Internal Audit Committee:
1.      What are the terms of reference of this committee?
2.      Who are the current members of the committee?
3.      How often do the committee meet?
4.      Who receives a copy of the committee minutes?
5.      Are all councillors entitled to view all Internal Audit Reports?
6.      What powers do the committee have?
7.      How are issues brought to the attention of the committee?

CITY MANAGER’S REPLY:

  1. The Audit Committee terms of reference are set-out in Department of Environment, Heritage (now Community) and Local Government: Circular FIN 11/07 (copy available on request). The Committee operates to a Charter (see attached)
  1. There are seven Committee Members - three Councillors namely: Cllr. Gerry Breen, Cllr. Naoise O’Muiri and Cllr Henry Upton, and four others: Dr. Brian Cawley (Chair & Director of IPA), Mr. William Carrie (Comptroller & Auditor General), Prof. Brian  Norton (DIT) and Mr. Brendan Foster (nomination of Dublin Chamber of Commerce).

 

  1. The Committee meets four times per year, usually in March, June, September and December. In addition, it convenes special meetings as required
  1. Committee meeting minutes are circulated to all Committee Members, City Manager and the Principal Local Government Auditor. In addition, a copy of the minutes is also sent to the Finance Strategic Policy Committee (SPC).

 

  1. Yes, if an individual Councillor requests a copy of an Internal Audit Report, current protocols dictate that all Councillors receive a copy of that report. However, Internal Audit Reports may be redacted if they contain commercially sensitive material, names of third parties, staff, etc.
  1. The Audit Committee receives its ‘power’ / functions under Section 5 of the Local Government Business Improvement District (BIDS) Act 2006. The Audit Committee has an independent role in advising the Council on financial reporting processes, internal control, risk management and audit matters, as part of the systematic review of the control environment and governance procedures of the Council (see Charter).

 

  1. Issues are brought to the attention of the Committee from a number of sources. Primarily, this is achieved as part of the preparation and execution of its Annual Internal Audit Plan, which has inputs from a number of sources including: Senior DCC management, the Audit Committee itself, Local Government Audit Service (LGAS), Value for Money Unit (VfM), LGAS, and Internal Audit Unit’s own resources etc. In addition, there are contingencies set aside to deal with un-planned investigations, requests for advice, consultancy, etc.