RHANI welcomes the DfE announcement that it has at last secured an audit partner to confirm that, following the ejection of 2 installations, the remaining 2,126 Government and privately owned, accredited systems within the RHI (NI) Scheme accredited systems are being operated in accordance with the Northern Ireland Scheme principles.
Scheme members will be particularly keen to hear from the Department what its proposals are for the continuation of the 2017 Regulations when these expire in March of next year.
RHANI, which now represents the majority of RHI Scheme participants, has been pressing for meetings with senior officials for more than a month. It is noteworthy that the Department seems to have abandoned programme stakeholder engagement and has ignored requests for further information about the unconfirmed policy changes which were outlined in the recent NIAO Audit which qualified the DfE Accounts once again. In absence of confidence and control in the senior managers in DfE , this smacks of megaphone diplomacy.
A preliminary hearing of the Judicial Review brought by RHANI against the Department heard that retrospective legislation is unlawful and heard counsel for RHANI state that the Department did not have the authority to make the Regulations. It was confirmed last week that the supposed overspend included elements which the Department subsequently discovered had no approval and which should not have been added to their calculations.
The legal case is scheduled for hearing in Belfast on 3rd October, 2017.