The Minister for Finance, Mr Charlie McCreevy, TD, today announced that he is issuing a revised Code of Practice for the governance of State bodies.
In updating and clarifying the existing 1992 guidelines, regard has been had to the Ethics in Public Office Act, 1995, the "Principles of Quality Customer Service for Customers and Clients of the Public Service" originally launched in January 1997 and revised in 2000 and the Standards in Public Office Act, 2001. Regard has also been had to a number of reports on corporate governance issued since 1992.
A new comprehensive section setting out the principles of corporate governance by which the Boards of Directors of State bodies are required to operate is included as Appendix A to the new Code.
Significant revisions to the 1992 Guidelines in the revised Code include:-
* State bodies will be required to implement the Code’s recommendations;
* the Code is updated to include reference to the ethics legislation and also reproduces the "Principles of Quality Customer Service for Customers and Clients of the Public Service";
* a provision on disposal of assets has been added to reflect current policy;
* a requirement that State bodies would obtain the approval of the relevant Minister where they intend to diversify their activities, with the approval of the Minister for Finance required where such diversification would, in the view of the relevant Minister, have significant financial consequences;
* provisions on remuneration of Chief Executives and Directors’ fees have been expanded to reflect current policy;
* references to Internal Audit have been expanded; and
* a provision has been included on tax compliance generally.
The Code is directed at both commercial and non-commercial State bodies. However, where a specific provision of the Code is not "appropriate" or fully "relevant" to a non-commercial State body, having regard to that body’s circumstance, that provision may waived with the consent of the relevant Minister following consultation with the Minister for Finance.
The Minister expects that the revised Code, which brings together in one document the various changes referred to above, will provide a convenient reference point thus helping with the effective corporate governance of our State bodies.
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