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At a meeting of the committee in April, the minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent, the HSE’s Head of Compliance, Mr Brian Purcell, said that significant progress has been made in improving the governance and management framework between the HSE and voluntary service providers.
Management confirmed that two new forums had been established to formalise the governance relationship with both the disability sector and the voluntary hospitals, namely the Umbrella Bodies for Disabilities Forum and the Hospital Group Forum.
In addition, a new compliance assurance process is in place for Section 38 agencies, which includes a requirement for the submission by these agencies of annual compliance statements.
Also, new HSE organisational structure supports have been put in place to ensure the ongoing development and implementation of the Governance Framework in a consistent and uniform manner throughout the healthcare system.
These include a new National Operational Forum comprising representatives from all community healthcare organisations (CHOs) and a National Corporate and Divisional Forum, with representatives from each of the corporate and national divisional offices.
The Audit Committee stated that management needed to consider how improvements could be made to address the criticisms by the Comptroller and Auditor General of the HSE’s review processes in respect of agencies’ annual reports and accounts, and also to how best ensure high-quality boards of directors are secured and maintained for the agencies.
In recent years, there has been significant controversy over the non-compliance of voluntary healthcare agencies with public pay policy.