Andrew Trimble, Chair of the Association challenging DfE said:
“We can not comment on the forthcoming Judicial Review case which commences 3 October, 2017 but I can confirm we have met and corresponded with Dr Andrew McCormick, Permanent Secretary of the Department for the Economy.
RHANI Meet DfE Top Team.
I can confirm that a broad range of industries were part of the delegation that met with Dr Andrew McCormick and his top team involved with the delivery of Energy policy in Northern Ireland on Monday.
Agenda – Audit & Promotion of Best Practice.
On the eve of the meeting, Dr McCormick insisted that the meeting did not discuss policy plans or cost savings elsewhere in the renewable sector.
Audit – Best Practice
It is worrying that none of the top team in DfE has any qualification in energy regulation.
It is of concern that those running the RHI programme have no Office of Government Management programme management qualifications.
A failure of programme governance in DfE was a PWC audit observation before the DfE scandal broke and was also part of the DETI Bytel scandal. PWC had recommended that DfE adopt the Department of Finance manadated governance framework.
RHANI left a programme governance guide with Dr McCormick.
The Association left a paper which suggested amendment to the style, structure, content and governance of what have been described as “Pilot Audits.”
The Chief RICARDO auditor had previously confirmed that he was part of the earlier contractor group which had advised on the design of the RHI NI Renewables Programme.
RICARDO was also part of the now-dismissed” Op HEAT” audit of 295 sites targeted by DfE.
Of the 295 targeted, 2 have been excluded – reported by CAGNI in the 2016/17 DfE Resource Accounts, June 2017. None of the other 293 have had any communications to confirm that targeting of them was a DfE mistake. No apologies have been issued by DfE. Dr McCormick directed staff to “look into that.”
Op HEAT criticised the same energy practices promoted and authorised by DETI/DfE officials which were compliant with the changes brought in by the 2015 Regulations. RHANI left Dr McCormick copies of his Department’s emails and regulations which promoted these practices.
Op HEAT and these Pilot Audits followed an open market tender process and the cost to the public will be known.
Release of Information
There is an ongoing criminal investigation into the “leaking” of personal information to the media.
The cost to the public purse, of the Friends of the Earth v DECC and the Breyer Group V DECC in similar legal challenges, 2012-2015 is also known.