My first motion at today’s (16th May) Municipal District meeting, ‘That the council clarify what steps it has taken to ensure that the conditions that existed at the time public monies were allegedly stolen from an Approved Housing Body in the district no longer exist before distributing further public monies from the €86 million allocated to Kildare County Council to deliver social housing including ; the number of signatures required for cheques then and now; the financial/auditing expertise on the board then and now; the frequency and detail of financial reporting from the Approved Housing Body to the council; which policies/protocols of the Approved Housing Body in question have been changed to safeguard against theft/fraud in the future; what account has the then Chair been asked to give in relation to the board’s failure to safeguard against theft/fraud.
Here is the report issued by Ms S Scully, Administrative Officer, Housing Section: The role of Kildare County Council in relation to Approved Housing Bodies (AHB) is to (a) ensure Approved Housing Bodies compliance with funding schemes, (b) enter into new Payment and Availability agreements, Capital Advance and Leasing facility agreements and provide funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme (c) enforce the conditions of mortgage agreements (d) ensure Approved Housing Bodies compliance with tenant nomination policies. It is the responsibility of the Regulation Office to regulate the operation of Approved Housing Bodies by monitoring compliance with the standards laid down in the Voluntary Regulatory Code-‘Building for the Future, A Voluntary Regulatory Code for Approved Housing Bodies in Ireland’ (VRC). Approved Housing Bodies are required to complete an annual regulatory return, reporting on six aspects of their organisation, this includes governance and finance (Tier 1 AHBs). In order to qualify for new funding provided for by Rebuilding Ireland, it is a requirement that Approved Housing Bodies are signed up to the VRC. Kildare County Council requires Approved Housing Bodies and housing associations who have availed of funding under the Capital Assistance Scheme, Capital Assistance Scheme and Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme to complete an annual compliance return, this return consists of information relating to (a) contact details (b) details of directors (c) insurance details (d) rent calculations (e) financial statements (f) maintenance allowance (g) occupancy statements and void rates. To date the housing association in question has achieved compliance with the annual compliance process.
It is not within the remit of Kildare County Council to carry out the type of investigation outlined in the motion.