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FSAI Board Meeting Minutes 27th June 2023


  • Ms. Ann Horan (AH) (Interim Chair)
  • Mr Patrick Knight (PK)
  • Ms Mary Cullen (MC) (joining via MSTeams)
  • Prof Martin Cormican (P. MC)
  • Dr Cliodhna Foley-Nolan (CFN) (from Item 4)
  • Mr Gerard McCurdy (GMcC)
  • Prof Francis Butler (FB)
  • Ms Lisa Manselli (LM)
  • Ms Eilis O’Brien (EOB)

In attendance:  

  • Pamela Byrne (PB), Chief Executive
  • Mr Kevin Roantree (KR), Board Secretary
  • Mr Bernard Hegarty, Director of Enforcement Policy, FSAI (BH), for Item 6.3
  • Mr Joe McQuaid, Finance and Planning Manager, FSAI (JMcQ), for Items 7.1, 7.2
  • Mr Geoff Dooley, Strategic Advisor (GD), for Item 10.1

Apologies: None

The Interim Chair, Ms Ann Horan, opened the meeting by welcoming all present. She gave an overview of the agenda, highlighting the key priorities for the meeting and advised that there would be 3 attendees to support and present on various agenda items.  She apologised for the slight delay in posting the board papers on this occasion. PB advised that she would have to leave the meeting for a short period at 12 noon to attend an online meeting which was requested at short notice by Minister Hildegarde Naughton to discuss the recent major food incident (Iceland).

1. Disclosure of Interests

There were no disclosures of interest.

2. Minutes of the last meeting: 16th May 2023

The Board reviewed and approved the minutes for signing by the Chair.

3. Matters Arising

KR provided an update on all open action items. The Board discussed these items and it was clarified/agreed that:

  • The overview on the FSAI’s open legal cases would be provided to the Board in September.
  • That any draft minutes amended by the Board would be forwarded to the Chair for final approval prior to posting.
  • That the evaluation framework for the FSAI’s blended working environment would incorporate the requests of the Board and that the subsequent report would be presented to the Board.
  • That the Board Workplan would be a standing item for the Board commencing at the next meeting.

4.    CEO Report

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

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

  • PB provided the Board with a presentation on the recent food safety incident involving Iceland Ireland.   PB outlined the chronology of events, the extensive engagements with other public sector bodies and Departments and the actions taken by the FSAI. She advised that all precautionary actions were aligned to the FSAI’s regulatory role and taken in the interest of public health and that the emphasis had been on ensuring that food without valid traceability documentation would not enter the food chain.
  • Board members queried the current status of the incident, political and environmental aspects of the incident and requested that a ‘Lessons Learned Report’ would be provided to the Board at a future meeting. The Board complimented the dedication of the FSAI staff who worked on the incident and demonstrated their commitment to public health and food safety.
  • The Board discussed the FSAI Innovation Event held on the 17th May, complimented the initiative and requested an update on ‘Innovation in the FSAI’ at a future Board meeting.
  • The Board noted the update on legislative developments and reiterated that any legislative expansion of the FSAI’s remit should be accompanied by the required resources.

Action: Provide a lessons learned report on the major food incident involving Iceland to a future board meeting,

Action: Provide the Board with a presentation on ‘Innovation in the FSAI’.

5.    Enforcement Orders

The list of recent Enforcement Orders was noted by Board members. It was requested that future reports include a short definition of each of the enforcement order categories.

6.    Board Updates

6.1    Q2 Business Progress Report

The Board noted the Q2 Progress Report. PB responded to queries regarding the three deliverables categorised as behind schedule (amber).

6.2    People/HR Update

The Board discussed the People/HR Update paper and noted the gender balance in the organisation
– KR clarified that this would be reviewed as part of the Staff Survey review and subsequent development plan. The Board also requested that the revised Values Framework be provided to the Board once completed. It was agreed that the specifications for the blended working evaluation should reflect Board discussions which includes Directors/Managers reflecting and providing feedback on the benefits and issues they have in ensuring high performing teams and individuals.

Action: Board to be provided with a revised Values Framework once completed.

Mr. Bernard Hegarty (BH) joined the meeting.

6.3    LAVS Update

BH presented an overview on LAVS including more recent developments and engagements and outlined the key areas of focus for the FSAI for the remainder of 2023. BH updated that the Enforcement Policy Team are finalising the Service Contract templates and that they will shortly be sent to the Local Authorities. He also clarified that they were finalising the audit framework for the service audit and that the expectation was that it would take 2-3 months and would be completed by the end of 2023.

BH updated the Board that a meeting of key stakeholders was scheduled for the day after the Board meeting and it was agreed that the Board be provided with an update after the meeting. BH and PB reiterated that the FSAI is focused on protecting public health and ensuring the quality and continuity of these services.

Mr. Bernard Hegarty (BH) left the meeting.

Action: Provide an update for the Board on the LAVS key stakeholders meeting.

6.4    Board Effectiveness Update

The Interim Chair provided an update on the proposed actions paper. The Board discussed the possibility that other regulators might have completed a Board learning needs analysis and that FSAI HR should investigate whether they had a framework which could be utilised.

The Board agreed that the FSAI Board and SLT should have an ‘away day’ which would focus on the respective roles of the Board and SLT, clarify reporting and accountability expectations and to discuss the concept of a high performing organisation by a facilitated session. It was agreed that it would be ideal to incorporate this ‘away day’ with the Board’s scheduled meeting in October.
The Board agreed that a presentation on the FSAI approach to environmental, climate and sustainability matters be provided to the Board before the end of the year. It was discussed that this should include the FSAI ambition in this regard and the plan to integrate this into strategy development and business planning.

Action: KR to revert to the Interim Chair on options for the ‘away day’.

The Board had a short break.

Mr. Joe McQuaid (JMcQ) joined the meeting.
Dr Pamela Byrne (PB) left the meeting.

7.    Finance Update

7.1    Financial Summary Report
7.2    Draft AFS (incl. SIC)

JMcQ provided the Board with an update to support discussions on the Financial Summary Report and the Annual Financial Statements (AFS) including highlighting any changes to the statements since they were last reviewed by the Board. The two key disclosures, FRS102 and procurement noncompliance, were discussed and noted by the Board.

The Board discussed the expectation to approve and sign the AFS without having received the draft audit opinion nor the management letter. It was clarified that this was the standard approach taken by the C&AG when auditing public sector entities. The Board noted this and requested that the C&AG be invited to attend a future Board meeting. The Board approved the AFS, subject to no significant findings from the C&AG. 

The Board referred to the recent appearance at the Public Accounts Committee by the RTE Board and Executive and queried the risk that significant inappropriate expenditure could occur within the FSAI. JMcQ and KR outlined the mechanisms in place to ensure such an event does not occur. JMcQ outlined that while it is not possible to completely eliminate the risk of inappropriate transactions occurring there are robust measures in place to mitigate against such instances occurring. These measures include:

  • Review of management accounts by the Senior Leadership Team and the ARC,
  • Annual review of internal controls by the Board,
  • Internal audits conducted by an independent audit firm BDO, which include the review of relevant procedures to mitigate against risk,
  • Review of the internal audit reports by the ARC,
  • FSAI’s certification to ISO 9001,
  • Reporting requirements under the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies,
  • External audit conducted by the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General, and
  • Reporting/engagement with the Department of Health regarding the oversight agreement.

 Mr. Joe McQuaid (JMcQ) left the meeting.

Action: Invite a representative from the C&AG to attend a future Board meeting

8.    Board Committee Updates

8.1    ARC Update

The ARC Chair, GMcC, provided an update from the ARC meeting on the 19th June 2023.

GMcC outlined that the outstanding External Member, Mr. Fergal O’Briain’s tenure on the ARC was due to end on the 30th June 2023. GMcC stated that a unanimous recommendation of the ARC members to the Board was to extend Mr. Fergal O’Briain’s tenure until the 31st Dec 2024, linking it to the revised end of the current strategy – the Board approved this appointment. GMcC also wished it be noted that the Board Interim Chair, AH, continued to sit on the ARC pending a decision by the Minister on the appointment of a new FSAI Chair.

GMcC updated the Board on the key matters discussed at the ARC including:

  • Whether large food incidents would impact on the categorisation of risks in the Risks and Opportunities Register (ROR) and that it was clarified that while the incident would not, any perceived risk to the Authority’s ability to address such a risk would.
  • That the ARC received a presentation from the IT Manger as to the status, and plans, for business continuity planning in the organisation and the ARC had been reassured by the presentation as to the actions which had been taken and the plans to complete the work.
  • That the ARC reviewed a Cyber Security Internal Audit Report which contained a number of recommendations. The ARC noted the report but asked the Executive to reconsider the Management Responses to the recommendations.

Dr Pamela Byrne (PB) re-joined the meeting.

8.2    Scientific Committee (SC) Update

The SC Chair (Prof Martin Cormican) provided a brief update on the work of the Scientific Committee.

9.    Corporate Governance

9.1 Risks and Opportunities Register (ROR)

The Board noted the ROR. KR clarified that the SLT were scheduled to review the ROR, including recommendations received from Board members on the ROR, prior to presenting it for review at the next Board meeting.

A query was raised regarding the numerical categorisation of one of the risk appetite activities. It was clarified that there would be a review of the Risk Appetite as part of development of the next strategy and any amended Risk Appetite would then be considered by the Board for approval (in line with the CoP 2016).

Mr Geoff Dooley, Strategic Advisor (GD) joined the meeting.

10. Strategy Development

10.1 Presentation and Discussion with External Facilitator

The Interim Chair, AH, welcomed Mr Dooley and advised that he would be providing support and facilitation services to the FSAI in the development of the next strategic plan.

GD provided a brief presentation on the role and function of the Board, and the key elements, in the
successful development of the FSAI’s next strategy.

The Board discussed its role in the development of the strategy and outlined the importance of ensuring that it was appropriately involved in setting strategic tone and direction whilst ensuring not to get too involved in more operational aspects of the project. The Board also highlighted the importance of robust stakeholder engagement, to view changes in the external environment as opportunities for the FSAI as well as risks and to ensure the project schedule was appropriately aligned with the DoH’s completion of the Periodic Critical Review.

It was noted that GD would be working with FSAI’s internal project team in the development of project plans which will be provided to the Board for its next meeting.

Mr Geoff Dooley, Strategic Advisor (GD) left the meeting.

11.    AOB

  • It was noted that a draft OA/PDA agreement would be shared with the Board in the coming weeks for comment.

FSAI Board Actions: June 2023



Date Raised



TCD Month/ year


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

Feb 22



Oct 23


Provide the Board with a presentation on the current open legal cases.

Mar 23



Sept 23


PB to circulate to the Board, for info, the SC Report press release.

May 23



Jun 23


Provide Staff Survey Action Plan to the Board at a future meeting

May 23



Sep 23


Board to be provided with a Lessons Learned Report following the Iceland incident.

June 23



Oct 23


Board presentation on innovation in the FSAI

June 23



Nov 23


Board to be provided with a values framework when completed

June 23





Board update on the LAVS key stakeholders meeting

June 23



Jul 23


C&AG to be invited to attend future Board meeting

June 23



Oct 23


KR to revert to the Chair on options for the away day

June 23



Jul 23


Board presentation on FSAI approach to environmental, climate and sustainability matters

June 23



By end of 23


Shared draft of OA/PDA with the Board for comment

June 23



Jul 23

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.

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