In every year in which a local election is held, the annual meeting of the local authority is held on the fourteenth day after polling day. The business to be transacted at the first meeting includes
- consideration of the election,
- appointment and nomination of members of joint bodies,
- fixing days for the first meetings of municipal district members for each municipal district, which is to be no later than 10 days after the annual meeting.
Local authority shall hold a budget meeting in the period elected, directed by the Minister.
There is provision for reduction of allowances and expenses to elected members, where they refuse to, leave a meeting when lawfully ordered to do.
The chief executive shall consult the members and municipal district members in relation to preparation of a draft local authority budget. The budget is to be prepared under the direction of the chief executive in a manner prescribed by ministerial regulations. It is to show the amounts necessary for the functional programs of the authority.
A draft plan for the municipal district is to be prepared under the direction of the chief executive and submited to the municipal district members for each municipal district.
In determining the resource is to be made available for each municipal district in that draft budgetary plan, the chief executive is to have regard to the needs of and resources available or likely to be available to the local authority and the resources or needs of each municipal district including where appropriate, the population of each district.
Following considerations of a budgetary plan, the district members shall by resolution adopt the draft budgetary plan, with or without amendments. The chief executive shall take account of any budgetary plans adopted by the municipal district members in accordance with the draft budget.
The elected members are to adopt the draft budget with or without amendment. It is to determine the annual rates valuation to be levied. Where there is a joint body, it is to prepare and by resolution adopt in accordance with the local authority budget, that require y the joint body to meet its expenses.
As soon as may be following the adopion of the local authority budget, a schedule of proposed works of maintenance and repair to be carried out in each municipal district is to be prepared having regard to the resources and the time scales as may be prescribed by regulations. This is to be considered by the municipal district members concerned and adopted by resolution with or without amendments in accordance with the terms of regulation.
A local authority is to establish an audit committee. The function of the audit committee is
- to review financial and budgetary reports, practices and procedures;
- to foster the development of best practice by the local authority of its internal audit function;
- to review audited financial statements report and special reports in relation to the local authority and assess any actions taken within that authority by its chief executive;
- to assess and promote efficiency and value for money;
- to review systems operated by the local authority in relation to risk management.
The Minister may prescribe by regulation, particulars regarding the functioning of the audit committee including its membership, holding of meetings, reports, performance of its functions, and privilege.
Following receipt by the local authority or joint body of audited financial accounts reports and audited special reports, chief executive shall provide a statement or report to the audit committee for consideration at the next practicable meeting of the committee.The local government auditor, who conducted the audit or who has been appointed shall attend the meeting of the audit committee to present his or her report and clarify issues that may be necessary in relation to the contents of the report or special report.
The audit committee shall report to the relevant authority on its consideration of the audited financial statements, auditor’s report and auditor’s special report at the next practicable meeting of the relevant authority following the audit committee’s consideration.
At any time within three months of the audited financial statements, auditor’s report and special reports having been submitted, the local government auditor who carries out the audit may notify the local authority or joint body that he or she wishes to discuss a matter with that authority.
The local government auditor is entitled to attend the next meeting of the relevant authority following notification to discuss the audited financial statement, auditor’s report or auditors special report, as the case may be or to attend such other meetings of the authority as the local government auditor may specify.
Subject to the ministerial guidelines, the matters to be discussed by the audit committee or the relevant authority at a meeting when the local government auditor attends is limited to matters directly related to the audited financial statements, the auditor’s report and auditors special report as the case may be.
The legislation establishes the National Oversight and Audit Commission. The Commission and its members are independent in the performance of their functions.The function of the Commission is scrutinise the performance of local government bodies in comparison with any indicative matters that the Commission considers it appropriate to refer to or the Minister may prescribe by regulations for such purpose.
The Commission is to scrutinise the financial performance including in relation to value for money of any local government body in respect of financial resources available to it. It is to support the development and enhancement of best practice in the performance by local government bodies of their function.
It is to monitor and evaluate adherence to any agreement such as service level agreements entered by local government bodies whether between local government bodies or with third party. It is to oversee how the national policy in relation to local government is implemented by local government body. It is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of public service reform by local government bodies including enhanced effectiveness.
The Commission is to monitor the adequacy of the corporate plan prepared by the council, regional assembly and to evaluate its implementation. It is to take such steps as are appropriate under its functions. It is to prepare on its’ own initiative such reports and information related to its functions as it considers fit, in addition to prescribed reports.The Minister may confer additional functions on the Commission.
The Minister made request the Commission to prepare reports on any matters within the scope of its functions in relation to any aspect of local government specified. The Commission is to comply with the request to the extent that its functions permit.
The Minister is to furnish copies of reports furnished by the Commission to each local government and local government body and the Joint Committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas, dealing with local government matters. Within 28 days of receipt of the report by the local authority, the chief executive shall present to the council an implementation plan setting out steps to be taken in relation to that report. The adoption of an implementation plan is a reserved function.
Local government bodies have duties to assist the Commission in relation to information, documents and things which it requires. Where proceedings are instituted by the Commission against the local body for breach of its duty, it is a defence if the request is disproportionate or the result would breach confidentiality obligations.
The Commission may give public notice of its intention to prepare a report. It may publicise the proposed report in a newspaper and request submissions. It should consider submissions in accordance with the notice which are made by the local government body concerned. Submissions shall be made available for public inspection.
The Commission consists of between six and nine members. One of them is chairman. The chairman is appointed by the Commission. Each member holds office for a period of five years. The members include persons with knowledge of local government, finance, audit, and evaluation and project assessment, business, commerce, administration, proper governance, statutory or voluntary bodies dealing with consumer issues and an officer of the Minister.
There is provision for meetings of the Commission. Questions are to be determined by consensus but where in their opinion, this is not possible, it is determined by a majority vote. The Commission is to prepare an annual report to the Minister in relation to performance of its functions.
The Minister may make regulations in relations to matters or procedures regarding the appointment and operation of the Commission. They may provide for holding of hearings by the Commission, representation of a local authority or regional assembly at the same, other relevant indicators.