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FSAI Board Meeting Minutes 14th September 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)

In attendance

  • Dr Pamela Byrne (PB), Chief Executive
  • Mr Kevin Roantree (KR), Board Secretary
  • Mr Bernard Hegarty (BH) – Item 6.2 & 6.3
  • Mr. John Coady (JC) – Item 6.3


  • Mr Gerard McCurdy (GMcC)

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 their concerns regarding skill/capacity gaps in the organisation as well as the uncertainty regarding the proposed transfer of the LAVS service. The Board also congratulated PB on her appointment as Chair of IMI.

1. Disclosure of Interests

There were no disclosures

2. Minutes of the Board meetings

  • 23rd May 2022 – Approved subject to 2 changes/clarifications
  • 21st June 2022 – Approved subject to one edit

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 were had on the following matters:

  • That the FSAI should look at the compliance obligations under the Official Languages (Amendment) Act 2021 as an opportunity to promote the use of the Irish Language
  • It was commented that the Executive should consider the stated food safety threats in the context of the approved Risk Appetite Statement and the production of the new Risk Register
  • The Board stated that they had expected to receive the Strategic Workforce Plan in June 2022 and it had still not been received for the September Board meeting. The Board expressed concern over the delay and the on-going impact on skill/capacity gaps across the organisation and the ability to plan for 2023. PB updated that there had been a delay in receiving the report and that the current version of the report was still not of a quality to meet internal, Board and DoH needs and expectations. It was highlighted that the Executive was continuing to work with Bearing Point (external consultants engaged to complete the report). The Board requested that the CEO engage with senior representatives in Bearing Point to address the delay and expediate the delivery of the report.
  • The Board requested that a brief commentary accompany the Food Incidents data in future reports regarding key learnings, conclusions and/or recommendations. In addition, there was a discussion regarding the use of the data to feed into trend analysis and the prioritisation of resources.
  • The Board queried the progress of the IT projects. KR provided an update that each were being delivered to budget and schedule.
  • The Board complemented the format of the CEO Report for its clarity and level of information. They did request the CEO review whether updates from the functional areas could be more succinct.
  • The Board agreed that it would consider, during its private session of the next meeting, whether further changes to the format of the CEO Report were required.

5. Enforcement Orders

Reviewed and noted

The Board took a brief break during which BH and JC joined the meeting

6. Board Updates

6.1 Sante F Audits Presentation

BH gave a presentation overview on the FSAI’s audit environment and the Sante F audits. He outlined the legal obligations, the approach undertaken, the assignment of resources and how it results in delivering a better food safety environment and greater consumer reassurance. There was a discussion of the resources assigned to, and the operational model, of the FSAI Audit team. There was a query as to how the FSAI’s level of audits compared to international colleagues – BH stated that Europe is very pleased with the FSAI’s audit work and the quality of what it produces. It was highlighted that the FSAI audit programme is produced after reviewing the audit universe and by completing an appropriate risk assessment. The Board thanked BH and JC for the presentation and clarity of responses.

JC left the meeting

6.2 LAVS Update

BH provided the Board with an update on developments regarding the proposed transfer of LAVS to DAFM. It was outlined that all parties continued to demonstrate a keenness to ensure the service successfully transfers however a number of challenges/difficulties had arisen which the respective stakeholders were progressing. BH highlighted that it was vital to maintain the quality of the LAVS services while discussions on transfer were ongoing – the Board agreed that this was a priority and that the delivery of current services, and any transfer of same, not adversely affect public health or the FBOs. The Board thanked BH for his update.

BH left the meeting

6.3 HR & People Update

There was a discussing regarding the Blended Working Model (BWM) being implemented by the FSAI and the steps being taken to ensure it supported business objectives and performance. PB outlined the approach, which was taken in developing the BWM, how it was being introduced as a pilot and how an extensive evaluation would be undertaken which will include business performance, stakeholder feedback and staff input.

The Board welcomed the recent notification that the FSAI could now replace staff, who had left through retirement/resignation, without acquiring DoH sanction for same.

The Board noted resourcing profile chart but highlighted an error in the numbers contained. KR acknowledged the error and confirmed it would be rectified in the next report.

7.1 Financial Summary Report

The Board noted the report

8. Board Committee Updates

8.1 ARC Update

AH outlined, on behalf of the Committee, that the ARC met remotely on the 1st September. Key items from the meeting were:

  • The Committee met with Caoimhin Broderick representing the C&AG who outlined that the FSAI had received a clean audit report (with the exception of FRS102 regarding the non-funding of pensions, as directed by the DOH) with the Management Letter containing only 3 minor issues, none of which were deemed to be of concern to the committee. The ARC had a private session with the auditor where he expressed his satisfaction with the audit and the cooperation received from FSAI staff.
  • In relation to FRS102, while it was understood that this is not within the control of the FSAI to resolve, it was emphasised by the committee that it is important to keep this on the agenda with the DOH.
  • In relation to Finance and Governance – the ARC expressed satisfaction with the Finance Report, which had improved in terms of layout and content in recent months.
  • The ARC expressed a concern that there remained a long list of open internal audit items, some of which had been open for a number of years. They fall into 4 categories, procurement, business continuity, GDPR and Risk register. The ARC were provided with reassurances that significant progress is being made in addressing these issues and to expect an improvement by the next meeting of the ARC.
  • There had been a presentation from Bernard Hegarty on LAV’s. It felt like progress on the transfer was stalling somewhat, although the work ongoing to maintain the service was encouraging.

8.2 PDC Update

MH provide an update to the Board and stated and that performance objectives/goals had been agreed with PB.

8.3 Scientific Committee Update

P. MC updated that a report on Vitamin D Nutrition would be presented at the next Board meeting.

There was a discussion as to the legal role of the SC with regard to the provision of scientific advice to the Board. MH highlighted that the FSAI Act clarifies that the Board has the power to assign queries to the SC if required.

P. MC left the meeting

9. Corporate Governance

9.1 Risk Register

The Board reviewed the risk register and noted the update that the revised Risk Management Framework, including policy and register, was being finalised by the Executive and would be presented to the Board at its October meeting.

9.2 Board Effectiveness Update & 9.3 Board Effectiveness paper

The Board noted the update, and the 2018 Effectiveness Report, and were in agreement to proceed with the external effectiveness review as proposed. The Board requested that a separate paper be provided to the Board which outlined the status of the actions contained in the 2018 report.

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

10. AOB

The Chair updated the Board that the DoH had informed him that the application process for the two Board vacancies was due to commence by the end of September.

11. Next meeting: 11th October



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




Presentation to be provided to the Board on the Sante-F Audits

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




Present a trend analysis of collected data, and subsequent learnings, at the October Board meeting.

June 22




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

Sept 22