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Poots announces first public facing accountability meeting with ALBs

Health Minister Edwin Poots is to hold Public Facing Accountability (PFA) meetings with Armís Length Bodies (ALBs), he has announced today.
Thursday, 13 June 2013

This is the first time that this type of Ministerial led accountability meeting will be held in a public forum and where the audience will also be given the opportunity to submit additional questions to be answered.

The meetings will provide an opportunity for ALBs to be held to account by the Minister around issues of public interest and serve to raise public awareness of the important work of the ALB. They will be chaired by the Patient and Client Council. The first meeting will be held with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) on Tuesday 25th June at 6pm – 7.30pm at NIAS Headquarters, Site 30, Knockbracken Healthcare Park and is open to the public.

Speaking about the meetings the Minister said: “The public need to be confident that ALBs are efficient and delivering high quality services. There has been public concern that some ALBs were unaccountable and inefficient, and we need to change this perception by being open and transparent about the functions of ALBS and the Department’s oversight of them.

“I have decided therefore to hold Public Facing Accountability meetings with the DHSSPS ALBs. The first meeting will be held with NIAS. The PFA meetings will provide an opportunity for ALBs to be held to account by myself around issues of public interest and serve to raise public awareness of the important work of the ALBs. It is a good opportunity not only for the public to listen in on this type of meeting, but also submit questions of their own to be answered by the most senior people in the ALBs.’’

During the first meeting, NIAS will give a short presentation on their performance over the last year and their outlook for the future. The Minister will then proceed with a question and answer session on the performance of NIAS and on issues of public interest. The audience will also be given the opportunity to submit additional questions to be answered by NIAS at the end of the session.

The Minister said: "I am looking forward to these meetings and view this as a great opportunity for Arm’s Length Bodies to promote themselves and highlight their positive progress as well as being held publicly to account for their performance.”

The next tranche of meetings with ALBs will be confirmed following the summer recess.

If a member of the public has any special access requirements, please contact the Department of Health on 02890 528662. Transport will be available from the entrance of Knockbracken Healthcare Park to NIAS Headquarters for any members of the public who require it.

Notes to editors:

1. Further information on NIAS and for directions to NIAS headquarters at Knockbracken Healthcare Park can be found online

2. Media enquiries about this press release to the DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0567. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Office via pager number on 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.