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FSAI Board Meeting Minutes 11th October 2022


  • Mr Martin Higgins (MH), Chairman
  • Mr Patrick Knight (PK)
  • Ms Mary Cullen (MC)
  • Prof Martin Cormican (P. MC)
  • Prof Francis Butler (FB)
  • Ms. Ann Horan (AH)
  • Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan (CFN) (remotely via MS Teams)
  • Mr Gerard McCurdy (GMcC)

In attendance: 

  • Dr Pamela Byrne (PB), Chief Executive
  • Mr Kevin Roantree (KR), Board Secretary


  • None

The Chair commenced the meeting with a private session of the Board after which PB and KR returned to the meeting. The Chair outlined that the Board had discussed the format and content of the CEO Report and the draft minutes as provided to the Board. In addition, the Chair had provided an update that the period for persons to apply to be a member of the FSAI Board was due to end later in the week and then the selection process would commence.

1. Disclosure of Interests

There were no disclosures

2. Draft minutes of the Board meetings

The Board requested that a number of amendments be made to address typos, improve descriptions of the Board discussions and to better capture the reasoning behind decisions made. The Board requested that this then be the approach taken to the production of future draft minutes.

3. Matters Arising

The matters arising were reviewed and noted by the Board.

4. CEO Report

It was agreed that the report should be taken as read and Board members were invited to raise queries or seek clarifications as required.

The Board raised a number of queries/comments and discussions on the following matters:

  • The Board requested that the format and the content of the CEO Report should continue to be reviewed and that its emphasis should be on capturing key matters pertaining to public health, a strategic review of the changing external environment and the work being delivered by the FSAI to protect consumers health.
  • The Board said that they were very concerned that they had still not received the Strategic Workforce Plan and it was noted that they had originally expected to receive it in June 22. An update on continuing the engagement, escalation and developments to complete the report were provided. The Board reiterated that this work was a priority and requested that the final report, once it was deemed to be aligned to the objectives as set out for the project, should be circulated to the Board members.
  • PB provided an update on developments since the report was posted including the appointment of a new Assistant Secretary in the DoH with responsibility for the Food Unit, her own appointment as Vice-Chair, Board member and ARC member of the EFSA Management Board. PB also expanded on the extensive media engagement which had occurred, with the FSAI continuing to demonstrate a leadership role in food safety and protecting consumer health.
  • PB provided an update on the recently implemented Blended Working Model pilot which commenced in the FSAI on the 3rd October. It was outlined that the pilot would be evaluated with regard to organisational performance & compliance, staff engagement and stakeholder feedback.
  • PB provided the Board with an update on developments pertaining to the proposed transition of LAVS to DAFM. The Board noted the update and welcomed the plan to address issues highlighted in the recent KOSI audit and in ensuring the quality of current LAVS services.

Action: Send approved SWP Report to Board members

5. Enforcement Orders

Reviewed and noted

6. Board Updates

6.1 People/HR Update

PB provided an update on recent appointments. The Board welcomed that former staff of the FSAI were returning to new roles in FSAI and indicated that it reflected well on the culture of the organisation. The Board noted that the staffing table was clear and aligned to the needs of the Board.

6.2 Strategy Development Update

PB provided an overview of the approach being taken and on developments to date. It was commented that it would be vital to accurately capture the external environment in which the strategy would be developed and that the strategic overview should consider the elements of health well-being and sustainability. When considering the strategic appropriateness of current FSAI activities it was commented that in developing the next strategy it would be useful to explicitly consider if any aspects of our current work are no longer necessary or likely to be less important in the future

The constraints regarding the capacity of internal senior staff to support the extensive approach to the development of the next strategy was discussed and it was agreed that an external support, project manager and facilitator, be procured to support the process. The Board requested that a detailed project plan, to include the scheduling of Board involvement, should be produced and shared with the Board.

The was a discussion regarding the assumptions underpinning the development of the next strategy and that it was important to ensure the strategy was stretching, ambitious and not limited by current internal capacity constraints.

The Board had a 10 minute break.

6.3 Q3 Progress Report

The Board noted that 13 of the planned 55 deliverables for 2022 were ‘Amber’ – that they are deemed to be not on track to be completely, or substantively, delivered in 2022. The Board questioned whether some of these deliverables should be captured as ‘Red’ in that the associated report indicates they will not be delivered in 2022 and Red is defined as not being delivered in 2022. The Executive agreed to review the RAG reporting to ensure its accuracy.

The Board queried the status, and associated impact, of the deliverable pertaining to an appropriate response to intelligence and protected disclosures received and commented that it would be appropriate to capture any associated non-compliance in the Risk Register. PB outlined the current work being completed to address capacity related risks in this area, the method of evaluating risks to the consumer and how this would also be an area of focus for the incoming new Director of AI&I.

7. Finance and Corporate Compliance

7.1 Financial Summary Report

The Board noted the report and requested that changes be made to future finance summary reports to better highlight the comparison of budget vs. actual and a detailed end of year forecasting position.

Action: Revise Finance Summary Report template to reflect Board requests.

8. Board Committee Updates/Reports

8.1 Scientific Committee – Vitamin D Nutrition Report

P. MC provided an overview of the report. The Board welcomed the report and it was noted that it did not make a specific public health policy recommendation as the policy decision rested with the Department of Health. There were queries as to the role of the Board with regard to approving the report for publication. It was clarified that, in accordance with the FSAI Act, the FSAI Board were being asked to approve the report for publication rather than approving the scientific content of the report.

The Board approved the report for publication.

There was a query as to whether it might be appropriate for the Scientific Committee to utilise the services of an external reviewer of its reports prior to publication and whether a query could be raised with the DoH with regard to its planned actions as a result of receiving the report - P. MC agreed to bring the Board’s comments to the attention of the Scientific Committee.

There were queries as to identifying an internal member of staff to act as a spokesperson for the report and the type of publication/launch to be undertaken. PB agreed to consider and update at the next Board meeting.

8.2 Food Safety Consultative Council: Nominations

The Board considered the paper and discussed the appropriate composition of the FSCC. The Board approved the recommendations in the paper including the appointment of Adrian Cummins, Dave Lang, HPSC Rep, Sile Sweeney, Mark Christal and Deirdre Ryan. The Board commented on the importance of ensuring that there are members who can provide input regarding sustainability. It was requested that the Executive, and FSCC Chair, ensure that all future nomination recommendations consider the widest range of representation and reflects the changing food system context

8.3 PDC Update

The Chair updated that an interim review had been agreed between the Committee and the CEO and that another meeting had been scheduled.

9. Corporate Governance

  • Risk Policy and Update
  • Risk Register

PB provided an update on the iterative approach being taken to the development of the Risk policy and register. The Board noted a number of errors and required edits – it was clarified that these would be rectified.

GMcC and AH left the meeting.

10. AOB

The Board requested that:

Action: Future Board meeting agenda should include matters for decision at the start

Action: The Board’s proposed workplan for 2023 be posted for the November Board meeting

Next meeting: 8th November 2022

FSAI Board Actions October 2022



Date Raised




Review the Risk Policy and Register in light of the Board’s discussions and the RAS exercise

Apr 20/ Jun 21/ Dec 21




Ensure that future PCW assessment processes are merit based

Nov 21




Provide an update to the Board on further developments and on the FSAI’s future obligations after the successful transition of the LAVS service

Feb 22




Recruitment and Retirement Process: FSAI Executive to review and revert to the Board on actions taken

Feb 22




Present IT Overview paper to the Board

Mar 22




Provide status update on the actions contained in the 2018 Effectiveness Report

Sept 22




Send approved SWP Report to Board members

Oct 22




Revise Finance Summary Report template to reflect Board requests.

Oct 22




Future Board meeting agenda should include matters for decision at the start


Oct 22




The Board’s proposed workplan for 2023 be posted for the November Board meeting

Oct 22



To Note: Actions raised by the Board will be placed into the Actions table and remain there until completed (or removed by request of the Chair). Once an action is completed it will be marked as such for one meeting prior to being removed.